Friday, October 30, 2009

Pages From Jan's Diary

After all the interest shown in the SS-5 story, I've decided to post excerpts from the actual diary for you all to read! As my writing journey continues, I may also post excerpts from the novel, showing how I'm taking the diary and converting it to fiction... but for the present we'll stick with fact! Here are the first four entries in Jan Jonkheer's diary.

(if you like this idea and want to read more of the diary, let me know and I'll post more!)

MAY 9, 1940

This is the first diary I have ever had, and I am itching to write in it. It also has a lock and key.
Tomorrow is my birthday, and it is a present from my parents. It was given to me yesterday, because my father, who is a doctor, was called up to join the army. But I am sure that this mobilization is another false alarm, because Hitler has promised faithfully not to invade Holland. So we expect Father to get leave to spend my birthday as we planned it.

I will be fourteen tomorrow, and my four best school friends, Piet and Charlotte, the "carrot twins," because of their fiery hair, and Hendrik and Jos are joining Father, Mother, and me.

We live in a suburb of Amsterdam. We will begin my birthday celebration with a tour of the city by boat, gliding through the famous grachten [canals]. (This is really to please Charlotte.)

Then we will go to the Rijksmuseum, which is our National Gallery. It makes me proud to be Dutch, when I look at the paintings by Frans Hals, San Steen, Vermeer, and especially Rembrandt. I am going to buy a copy of his best-known work The Night Watch. Then we will have lunch at Zandvoort aan Zee. I like this seaside resort.

In the evening we are going to Haarlem, because there is to be an organ recital in Saint Bavo Church. We are all fond of music, and I love this organ, which is one of the most famous in the world. It has three keyboards, sixty-eight registers, and five thousand pipes. It was built in 1738, and my father tells me that Mozart and Handel played on it. It must have been wonderful to hear the play­ing of such famous musicians, and I get a tremendous feeling of peace and happiness whenever I hear it.

The weatherman says it is going to be fine tomorrow. Hurray!


MAY 10

Mother awoke me this morning. One look at her serious face, and I knew that something was wrong. She kissed me and said, “Happy Birthday," but it was so unlike my mother, who is a very jolly person. This morning it was all very sad.

I could now hear distant thuds. "What is it?" I asked.

“The Germans have invaded Holland. I pray for Father, and for our poor country."

I washed and dressed very quickly, and went down into the street. Everybody had a different story to tell. Schiphol airport was on fire, but some soldiers - they were fifth columnists in Dutch uniforms, I learned later - said that we were doing well and beating back the Germans.


MAY 11 , 12, 13

These have been chaotic days. The Queen has moved from her house Hrris ten Bosch into the palace in the center of The Hague. No news about Father. We are worried.


MAY 14

We leave been told that the Queen has decided to leave the country. A British destroyer took her to England yesterday, where she has been joined by her Cabinet.

For a moment it looked like desertion, but, as my mother explained to me, the struggle against Hitler will be carried on from there, and from here, I hope.

Still no news about Father.


Spits said...

I LOVE the diary. ;) Love Jan too...actually... Can't wait to see how you do with him. :D

K.M. Weiland said...

I love old journals. Where did you find this one?

Elisabeth said...

By the way, are you doing the novel in first person or third person?

Hannah said...

The diary is awsome. You should post what you write on The Storytellers. ;)

Nina Hansen said...

Thanks for the encouragment, everyone!

I found the diary in an extremely rare out-of-print library book--which tragically was thrown out before I could rescue it! Fortunately I'd typed out a copy of the diary for myself.

Interesting you'd ask that question, Elisabeth! I didn't know what it would be at first, but now it has become a combination of close third and diary entries. I have two POV characters, and they take turns writing in the diary, so the diary itself becomes this lovely story arc, displaying both their innermost thoughts.

Hannah said...

What'd they throw it out for??? *is indignent* Mis-quoting Rob's siggy: ""Don't be such a blasted fool, people! You can read a book every day of your life, but you might not see a book like that in fifteen years!"

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