Dear Queer Diary: Ol’ Book O’ Feelings Playlist

Dear Queer Diary_Rory Midhani_640px

When I was an angsty teen, there was nothing I loved more than listening to mix CDs on my discwoman and writing in my journal. Today, I would like to celebrate the union of those two passions with a specially made playlist. But first, permit me another word on my youthful quirks.

Back then, my preferred playlist-listening location was a somewhat worn yellow armchair, where I would sit with my calculus homework arrayed about me, enjoying the musical stylings of Coldplay and Death Cab for Cutie. When I had finished my required derivatives, I would crack out the ol’ book o’ feelings.

This is about 10 times more high tech than my beloved discman of yore. (Via Post Grad Problems)

This is about 10 times more high tech than my beloved discman of yore. (Via Post Grad Problems)

The flaw in the mix CD/journal writing model was that I have always been one of those people who has a difficult time paying attention to more than one thing at once. When I was in elementary school, I once famously wrote the sentence, “Llamas are useful pack Pokemon,” while attempting to simultaneously draft a paragraph on camelids and carry on a conversation about Gameboy games.

(In spite of the fact that I’ve known this about myself since approximately age thirteen, I am currently attempted to write this column while listening to the below playlist. It’s not going well.)

I guess what I’m saying is that if you are unlike me in your ability to do things while listening to music, this collection of songs would be a great complement to your journaling activities.

Please note that we open with two of the greatest lesbian musical acts of the last two generations and close with three songs clearly selected only because their titles contain the word “diary.” In between, there are some (mostly depressing, strangely folk-y) songs that I like.

What are your journaling jams, Straddlers? I won’t be able to listen to them while I write, but I’m still curious.

Dear Queer Diary


Virginia Woolf – Indigo Girls
Follow – Brandi Carlile
The Engine Driver – The Decemberists
One More Time With Feeling – Regina Spektor
White Blank Page – Mumford & Sons
Your Ex-Lover Is Dead – Stars
Saddest Sound – Lucy Wainwright Roche
The Wrote & the Writ – Johnny Flynn
Your Secrets – Belle & Sebastian
Scythian Empires – Andrew Bird
Diary – Alicia Keys
Dear Diary – Pink
Diary of Me – Taylor Swift

Dear Queer Diary from Autostraddle on 8tracks Radio.

Want to suggest a playlist theme? Hit Stef up and someone on the team might make it for you.

Dear Queer Diary is a column about the joys (and occasionally, the pains) of journaling. We crack open our tiny notebooks and break out the rainbow-colored pens on the regular, so get ready to limber up your writing hands and document all your beautiful feelings!

Header by Rory Midhani

Feature image via Blackbird and Peacock

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Maggie is a freckly, punctuation-loving queer living in the Boston area. She supports her book-buying and tea-drinking habits by teaching America’s youth how to write topic sentences and spends her free time writing postcards and making sandwiches for her girlfriend.

Maggie has written 53 articles for us.


  1. I feel old in that I was a teenage human in the mid-late 90s with a Walkman knock off and made mix tapes. Sleater Kinney, bikini kill, Joan jett, placebo and nirvana, aerosmith and led zep all day, journalling, reading, or home working. I lived for my mix tapes, made from other tapes, cds or recording stuff off the radio without catching the talking…the piracy of the pre internet years. Those halcyon days.

  2. Me too! I can’t listen to music and write my feelings at the same time. But sad/contemplative/folksy/indie music (usually Tegan and Sara ha.) can put me in the mood to write. So I use music as a source of inspiration to strike a chord with my feelings/heart/soul whatever.

  3. I listen to music while I do everything, but I have a hard time writing if that music has lyrics. On the other hand, music helps make (the tedious parts of) my day job a lot more fun, so I am going to stream this all day at work.

  4. Yes! I actually found an old journal from high school that was entirely devoted to writing down my favorite song lyrics. So I definitely see the connection between music and diary writing.

  5. I’m glad Your Ex-Lover is Dead is on this playlist. I find Stars in general to be great writing music.

  6. I think I sort of ‘feed’ off the music in the beginning then I eventually tune it out then I just go ‘OMG it’s loud’ and turn it off. I remember in the later part of HS and early part of college I would write down the lyrics to songs I felt described my feelings to my then GF. That was always a lot of fun. ♫♪♫♫♪♪

    Also ‘Diary of Jane’ by Breaking Benjamin. *whispers* it has the word diary =)

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