diary of a young girl
by KARA HADGE | Boston Phoenix
Twenty-two years ago, Jessica Deane Rosner
was headed home from a job as an artist’s model in
Rhode Island and discovered her car had been towed. When
she called a friend for a ride, she accidentally left her
diary on top of the pay phone. Rosner got her car back the
next morning, but wouldn't see the diary again for 14 years.
“It felt like I’d lost a physical
part of myself,” she remembers.
Then, on Christmas Eve 2000, a man unexpectedly called Rosner
from Boston and said he had the diary...
Read the inside scoop on how this whole project started
THE DIARY PROJECT:
STORY BEHIND THE WORK
I've kept written diaries since 1975, starting in high school.
They're my records of thoughts, factoids, and personal dramas,
One of these diaries was lost in 1986. I
was heartbroken about it and put up “lost diary”
notices all over the RISD and Brown campuses in Providence,
as you'd do for a beloved pet. As weeks and then months
passed I assumed I'd never see it again, but through an
unknown series of events this journal was returned to me
by a stranger fourteen years later, on Christmas eve, 2000.
I came home from an annual party on Christmas
eve and there was a message on the machine, saying, "if
this is Jessica Deane Rosner, I have something you want."
I said to my husband, "there is only one thing that
I know of that has been lost that I would want, and that
would be my diary."
Then we played phone tag for the next few
days. Finally I reached the man and asked him what the item
was, he briefly told me, took my address, and then mailed
it to me, from Boston. All the while I worried that it would
get lost in the mail.
I know the diary was passed from person to
person, going all the way from Providence, RI to Toronto,
Canada through a network of art students. I know this because
tucked in the front were bits of paper with names and addresses
that were not mine.
When the lost diary was found I wanted to
use it as a catalyst for drawings that would allow me to
use all of the motifs I've explored for the past two and
a half decades.
With that idea I began the Diary Project. I'm using a copy
of each page of the diary as the foundation for new drawings,
which portray a visual stream of consciousness. It's been
a journey backwards and it's often painful to read my words
again because they sound so immature but it's encouraging
to have a chance to recreate my past into a more mature
work and I hope, person.
It was exhibited as a work in progress at
the David Winton Bell Gallery of Brown University and the
complete series was exhibited at the DeCordova Museum in
Lincoln, MA in the Drawn to Detail show. There
are 72 pages in the series.