Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Art of Journaling - Part I

I have a confession.  I am a journal snob.  I've kept a journal every year since I was in 7th grade, and now I'm really picky about the journals that I use.

Long before blogging the only thing they really had for people who liked to play with words were those one-year or five-year diaries that had pages about the size of a postcard and a lock and key that were useless.  I was afraid to ask for a diary for Christmas because then everyone would know that I had one, and of course, they'd want to read all my private stuff.  But I asked anyway, and I received a forest green five-year diary that I used for 3 years.  I loved it.  And I had the perfect hiding place.  I had a wooden jewelry box on my dresser, and the diary fit snugly, into the outside bottom frame.  If you lifted the jewelry box, the diary would come with it.
My diary entries in those days were very short, to the point and cryptic - I suppose not unlike a tweet!

Here are some samples:  

When you are with one person all day you start to act like that person.

The shockings were stung by the shimney with scare.

Kitty looks Chinese when he's half asleep.

Knot hole secrets.

Over time, I got empty books with lines.  I didn't try to write every day, but I'd write in the date and wrote as much or as little as I wanted.  For some reason, I also put in the the time, and I still do that today. 

My journals got larger over the years.  They grew fatter or longer because I found more things to write about or fret about as I got older.  I also decided that I didn't like having ruled lines to write on because they were too confining.  Sometimes I wanted to write BIG or on a slant.  Sometimes I wanted to draw pictures.  I also started collecting newspaper clippings and ticket stubs to mark the events of the year. 

It's amazing now to go to the bookstores and they have whole walls full of journals.  It's a tradition.  Around Oct. or Nov. if I don't have an empty book waiting in the wings, I start looking for one that will take me through the new year.  (I had a great rainbow book two years in a row - every few months you got to write on a new color.) What I've found, though, is that most of the journals are too small too last for a whole year or they have lines.  

A few years ago I gave up on the bookstores and went to the art supply store.  I stopped looking for journals and looked for sketchbooks instead.  Those seemed to have worked out well.  I made an exception this year, though.  I found a smaller but beautiful purple flowered with decorative borders on each page.  Half of the pages have lines and half don't so it's as surprise every time you start a new page.  I call this my transition journal.  Transition?  From what to what?  I won't really know until I finish and start my new one (I have one page left).  

I'm looking forward to my new "Smash" journal that I found at the art store.  Every page is different with lines and lists and categories.  It's expandable and has pockets so you can tuck stray objects and papers in like a scrap book.  It also comes with a pen and a glue stick.  It'll probably take me to the end of this year.

I'll keep you posted!


  1. I love this... I totally agree. I love sketch books (though I really can't draw well). Perfect for those days when following lines or keeping script within a margin are just not desirable...

    But what do you do with all your old journals? I'm having a storage crisis!

  2. I know what you mean! I have most of my journals in an archive box in the closet, but some are also stacked on my bookshelf and on the headboard. I have somewhat of an index so that I can reference them, and I've tried to put some of them on the computer, but then you loose the essence of the original writing (the color of the ink, the subtle changes of mood in how you write, etc.). So, I guess they stay in the box. (If I live to be 90 and have a journal or two for most of my years then maybe I'll create a journal closet with shelves. Hmm....

  3. I like the image of descendents of mine walking into my journal closet! I agree about computer journaling, there is a nuanced in emotion both while writing and when looking back,that gets lost. An index, now that is a good idea!