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Window of Self, by Ray Zager

The book Window of Self: A Diary is Forever, authored by Ray Zager, contains instructions, techniques, and history for the writer, teacher, inventor, physician, and persons of all working and classifications. Twenty seven years of collecting diary information and three and a half years of writing are brought together in this book. Zager is a retired lawyer and devoted diarist. He has been teaching diary writing since the 1970's in Los Angeles, Santa Cruz and the University of California. The Ray Zager's Diary Library is the second largest diary library in the United States.

The book reveals why we write diaries. It is the vehicle for containing details of the day. Pleasure and pain are both recorded. Emerson used "catchment" (to catch all and discard the unwanted). Most of us want to build an estate in words. It is best to begin with a dedication, use a summary and end with an index. (Instructions for all of these ideas and concepts are within the first one third of Window of Self)

The middle one-third is involved with the unconscious. Don't let the dialogues, hypnogogic imagery, meditations, and or dreams slip and go back into the unconscious. The unconscious is a large and deep ocean; you are fishing on a boat. You have caught a dialogue, image, or dream and unless recorded, it will slip back into the unconscious, probably never to surface again.

Meditation. How do I do it effectively? Do I reach the alpha state? What good will it do for me? Will it help me with diary writing? These questions are all answered. In addition the reasons are stated as well.

Dreams, "the royal road to the unconscious," says Freud. They come to us for creativity and to solve problems.

Hypnogogic imagery. This imagery is hard to find, yet in the book there are absolute instructions of where it is and how to find and capture them. Edgar Allen Poe, Thomas Edison and Ray Bradbury found them and used them.

Dialogue is where a person, animal, or an object comes from within yourself and says what you don't expect.

Chapter 12 sets out Historic Diary Sites of twenty six major diarists and a short biography of each. Included are Pepys, Emerson, Kahlo, Melville, and Woolf.

The book concludes with Published Diary Books. This chapter has books that help us understand diaries more thoroughly. There are books that list diaries and commentaries from 1492 to 1942. Then instructional diary books, such as those written by Progoff, Rainer, and Kagle. Next are anthologies from Small Voices (children's diaries) to Men Without Masks (those who show their emotions). One section is on commentaries, mostly by Arthur Ponsonby M.P. The last three sections are narratives, illustrations, and children's books.

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