Though baking sourdough and binge-watching Killing Eve may not seem particularly groundbreaking right now, living through lockdown makes us all involuntarily part of a historical moment. To commemorate it – and the wacky hobbies and strange fashions to emerge from it – the State Library of New South Wales has launched a new project called The Diary Files. By collecting snippets of people's lives on an open, online platform, The Diary Files aims to become an online archive of people's everyday experiences in lockdown in NSW and beyond.
The project has already drawn a range of contributors and entries since launching on May 4, including those from well-known friends of the library like actress and comedian Michelle Law, presenter and writer, Gretel Killeen and author Tony Birch. Whoever their source, the entries are revealing. Some focus on the lockdown, and many do not. Some recount the quotidian rhythms of a life spent at home. "Today I woke up later than usual," an entry begins. "The cold weather has arrived and it seems like it is here to stay. My husband cooked breakfast for my daughter and I. We went to our backyard deck and watched the birds have a real party."
Others lay crumbs for future generations trying to understand how we communicated during this time, though, it seems, not intentionally: "I'm a student studying at home. I first heard of corona virus [sic] through the Tik Tok app. I thought it was a phase and it would go away. I never would have thought it would come to this."
The Library invites anyone to participate and write about whatever they wish to – it can be about your morning coffee, the flowers you noticed on your daily walk, or about rage, or injustice, or heartbreak. Or trawl through the vignettes that have already been submitted for a glimpse into someone else's life during lockdown. You can write a sentence or a page – and feel free to let loose and treat it as a repository of your juiciest secrets, because you can submit anonymously, too.
Speaking of books – you can now download thousands of e-books for free.