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Bench Diary Project

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Published June 11th 2014
Want to read someone's diary?
bench diary project carly ogborne
How would you feel if someone read your diary?

Equally, how would you like to read someone else's diary?

A project that started on a whim has gone global, encouraging complete strangers to open up and share their innermost thoughts.

The Bench Diary Project was formed by Dessa Lohrey in June 2013. Inspired by her curiosity while people watching, Dessa decided to encourage strangers to share their thoughts and feelings by tying diaries to four park benches throughout her hometown of Atlanta. The exercise was an immediate success, spurring Dessa to place more diaries throughout the city.

In just a year, the project had expanded overseas, with dedicated Bench Projects in cities as far away as London, Lima and Wellington. Considering its vision statement of 'connect[ing] people both on small scale within cities and public places, as well as on a large scale across continents', the project has been a smashing success.

The diary entries are wide and varied, including everything from entries a few sentences long to several pages in length, profound ruminations as well as silly jokes, idle doodles and satirical cartoons. If there's no Bench Diary in your city, you can get your voyeur on over at the Bench Diary website, where you'll find hard times in Boston and good times in New York City; in Sacramento an art student grapples with a dilemma, while in Singapore, someone falls in love.

Alternately, you can volunteer to run a Bench Diary programme by applying through the website.

And if you happen upon a book tied to a park bench, don't be afraid to pick up a pen and open up to the world.

Want to keep a diary the old fashioned way? Check out Julia Hebaiter's article on journalling. Or, share your feelings with the world in a more 2.0 way by starting an online diary.
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Why? Because sometimes modern life can leave us feeling disconnected
Where: All around the world
Cost: Free
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