Like many young people, Heidi Julavits kept a diary. Decades later she found her old diaries in a storage bin and hoped to discover the early evidence of the person (and writer) she’d since become. Instead, “The actual diaries revealed me to possess the mind of a paranoid tax auditor.” The entries are daily chronicles of anxieties about grades, looks, boys, and popularity. After reading the confessions of her past self, writes Julavits, “I want to good-naturedly laugh at this person. I want to but I can’t. What she wanted then is scarcely different from what I want today.”
Thus was born a desire to try again, to chronicle her daily life as a 40-something woman, wife, mother, and writer. The dazzling result is The Folded Clock, in which the diary form becomes a meditation on time and self.