Menu Close

“Intersections: Diary Day 1”

Everyday Life in Middletown is founded on the hope that close attention to everyday life can be a unifying social force—that by observing our everyday lives closely and sharing them with each other, we may reveal the deep connections that unite us as human beings.

That is why the main artifact of our project is the one-day diary. By paying real attention to our ordinary days, we focus on activities that we usually do without thinking. And we key into the thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and sensations that attach to these activities. While our lives may differ dramatically, many of these activities (rising in the morning, eating, grooming, moving our bodies about) are widely shared, almost universal. Some of our thoughts and feelings may be unique or eccentric; others, we may find, are quite similar.

Our archive of everyday life in Muncie, then, works two ways—prompting us and our volunteers to see our everyday lives freshly, and gathering these materials into an open database where anyone in our community (or beyond) may read the diaries, and recognize the commonalities and differences visible there.

Everyday Life in Middletown is a long-term project: our hope is that the project will run for decades and collect thousands of diaries. We trust that deep and now unknown connections and patterns will become visible as the archive grows.

But common ground among strangers is already visible in our first set of diaries, documenting November 14, 2017.

Some themes underscore the more obvious shared conditions of life in Muncie on that day—things like the weather, the news, the fact that it was Tuesday—a workday for most of our volunteers. Others gesture to commonalities rooted in the human body: waking and sleep, eating, energy and fatigue.

“I wake up, without an alarm,” writes one diarist. “My body is on a routine. It seems, that circadian rhythm is a real thing.”

“My morning started @ 4:30 am instead of 5 as I was woken by my husband’s snoring,” writes another here. “I’m tired, this makes day number 2 of not enough sleep….I guess I should have gone to bed even earlier.”

A third here begins, “5:30 a.m.—alarm goes off, I hit snooze. 5:40 a.m.—alarm goes off, I hit snooze. 5:50 a.m.—alarm goes off, I hit snooze.”

Still others are quite specific to Muncie: two of our volunteers separately went to see the musical “Elf” at Emens Auditorium here and, here; a third got slowed down by the traffic before the event here. The state oversight of Muncie Community Schools was in the news and on people’s minds here, here, here, and here, as was a news story about whether the U.S. president should continue to have the sole power to launch nuclear weapons here and here.

Nov. 14 was a beautiful day: clear and crisp before dawn with a bright half-moon above, as some of our writers rose to exercise or walk the dog; sunny and warm in the afternoon. Writers registered the effect of the weather on their moods. “A bright sunny day lifts the spirits, no matter how little sleep I had, no matter what else is going on today, no matter what the work day is like,” writes one diarist here; another notes that a miscue causing a cancelled meeting was worthwhile because it got her outside: “C’est la vie. It was a nice afternoon to get out for a bit” here. A commuter described the morning as “beautiful….crisp but not cold, and almost painfully bright” here.

In blog posts over the next several weeks, we will examine further intersections, overlaps, and tensions that emerge when we place our days in dialogue.

1 Comment

Comments are closed.