Marcy S., age 16, Tennessee

Dear Diary — I believe that at last I have found the beginning — I didn’t know just where to begin, but I have found it now. I can’t decide whether it is simple or complicated; I don’t know whether I’m making something hard out of something easy or not. But anyway, the beginning is better than that terrible feeling of uselessness and emptiness.

Thursday afternoon I went to the library and got Bernie Babcock’s “The Soul of Ann Rutledge.” I read it three years ago, but I wanted to read it again. It had seemed rather long before, but when I had read over one hundred pages Thursday night, I knew I would finish it Friday; and I didn’t want to — I wanted to have it to look forward to for Saturday and perhaps Sunday. So I decided that I wouldn’t read it in school Friday, but alas, there were almost three hours of study hall Friday afternoon, so I yielded to the great temptation and read it in fifth study hall and office. Diary, I’m afraid that I can’t write it now that I have begun. It is so easy to think but when it comes to writing — Perhaps I can put it in this form:

Thoughts that came to me as I read:

Abraham Lincoln doubted, he didn’t believe at first, but Ann Rutledge taught him to believe. I don’t believe completely; perhaps Mary Farmer can make me believe. Ann Rutledge died but her soul lived on and helped to make Lincoln the great man that he was and is; if Mary’s feeling should come true, her belief in me would drive me on to great things, perhaps. (In a way it is a strange, disturbing thought and yet in another way it is very beautiful.)