Friday, March 1, 2013

The Texture of Journaling

Decisions, decisions...

It took me three tries before I finally settled on a journal to use for this year.  I also had to come to terms with the fact that I've become a journal snob.  As a writer I can be very picky about pens and paper, keyboards, word processing programs, etc., and, like a connoisseur of fine wine, my tastes and preferences have become fine-tuned and distinguished.  (So, I keep telling myself.)

My first attempt at a journal for this year—a thin paperback with a circular rainbow design that I found at a gift shop near my house in late December.  I don't like lines in my journals, but I thought I'd make an exception, since the outside design and the pages within seemed to inspire me at the time. 

As I started writing on January 1, the lines, which weren't very dark, felt like prison bars.  I was trapped into making my words a certain size, forcing my sentences to march across the page in a straight line, no curling or dipping allowed,  Forget any doodling or drawing pictures in the margins!

A small subset of my journal collection.
My latest is the green one in front.
After less than a day I gave up and located a blank book with a cover of textured yellow paper that I'd found at a bookstore years ago.  But the binding was cracked!  One weekend trip in a suitcase would break it in two and I'd have to cobble it together with string, mailing tape, and fat rubber bands. 

I was a little desperate when the second day of January came and I was not satisfied. I made a special trip to the Barnes and Noble where they have a whole wall of journals.  Of course, most of them had lines, but there were some sketchbooks as well.

Finally, I found a handmade journal from Nepal with thirsty textured pages.  With the right gel pen, (such as a Uniball or Pilot), writing becomes like wielding a chisel, each stroke cutting through the paper, making words and letters more permanent on the page. 

So, far this last choice has been the best, but it won't last long.  It's a smallish book, good for travel, but I'm almost half way through it.  I expect to have at least one more journal by the time late spring comes around.  Who knows?  Maybe, now that I'm on a roll, I'll go back to the first journal and be able to deal with the confinement of the ruled lines.  Then again, maybe not. 

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