Today marks the official kick off of Jamie Ridler’s Give a Girl a Journal project whose goal is to get journals into the hands of as many girls as possible and empower them to use them.
To get things underway Jamie has invited folks to participate in her blog hop and social media extravaganza and share the impact journaling has had in our lives and why it matters. I can totally get behind this, and today I’m sharing a peek into my journaling world.
I keep both written and visual journals, and I began as a teenager when writing suddenly seemed to make sense as a way to navigate a world that didn’t feel all that welcoming nor seem to make all that much sense. I started keeping my first dream journal then as well, and I began collaging at that time also. I considered collaging to be non-verbal communication and was fascinated by connections I was able to make through images. It’s been a life-long passion. While I only have a few remnants of those early journals and writings, I do have one of the very first collages I did. I’ve kept it framed and hanging on various walls in various homes all these years later. I love it that much. I feel both tender about the young me that created it, and honestly also a bit in awe that I clearly had found a way to express my voice in a way that has been such an important part of my life ever since. Just recently the picture fell, cracking the glass, so I’m not able to show you a photo. When I get it reframed I will.
In the meantime here are some photos of some of my journals. Here’s a collection that sits at my desk.
And these are just a few of them I’m actively using and keep in a box on the ready in my studio.
I’ve tried many times to keep just one journal for everything, but that’s never worked for me for very long. I think it’s part of my nature that I want multiple things going at once, and new projects always seem to want their own journal. I’m always happy to oblige.
I do keep a written journal of thoughts, things I’m working on, stuff that’s caught my attention, and things like that. While I always enjoy these daily journals, there have been times in my life when they’ve felt like a critical life line – like when I was a teen, and then during the time of my sister’s death, and during my father’s dementia and my mother’s stroke. Journaling was literally a salvation for me. Which I suppose is why I feel so passionate about Jamie’s project. It’s been such a helpful tool for me and I want every girl to have that available to her as well.
But as I said, I have all kinds of other journals as well. My dream journal, and one for daily ephemera. I have a journal devoted to each of my totem animals; and one for the formulas and observational notes for the many aromatherapy projects I work on.
In one of my first jobs I worked at a photography studio where I was introduced to visual stylists and the kind of journals they kept. I think this may well be when I fell in love with color. I started noticing colors and then noticing what combinations I liked, and I began playing with pattern. I like exploring how things mix, and keeping records of this in a journal delights me. I delight in the synchronicities that often occur – some strange color shows up and literally just in the next moment some other matching or complementary bit appears.
While I often use purchased journals to work in, I also love bookbinding and have made plenty of journals myself. It’s often fun to do this when working collaboratively – it adds another layer to the magic of such projects. Another advantage of being able to bind books is you can take loose pages you’ve worked on and bind them afterwards. I’ve done that a few times as well. But recently I got a binding machine that allows me to bind papers with a spiral wires, and I’ve been having a fabulous time with it. I doodle a lot. A LOT. Particularly when I’m on the phone. One day I noticed I had pages and pages of interesting images – often with little snippets of words written on the page. Clearly I had been jotting down things that were important/interesting during the conversation, and yet with the passage of time very little of it made any sense. And imposed on a background of totally unrelated images it was like a peek into my the wild garden of my brain. Because I’m always up to adding secret messages, hidden pockets, layers and folds, I’m having a wonderful time with this particular journal using the original doodles/messages as a jumping off point for whatever else wants to be added. I call it my Doodling Dossier.
Another journal I always keep is an Idea Reliquary – which I fill with inspirations and brilliant ideas and I’d-better-write-this-down-before-it-evaporates musings. Here’s a look at my very first one, which you can see greatly outgrew its spiral container. I managed to lose/forget about it for several years, and when I re-discovered it it was the most magical thing ever. A look back into my creative mind, and lots of the ideas were still very appealing. I don’t think I could ever be bored, my brain is constantly cranking out ideas. I’m just happy I figured out I should actually find a place to store them.
I’ve got a journal for costume inspirations, and one for mandalas; one for found poetry and one I’ve just started for a cartooning class I’m taking. And I have to say, we’re just dipping our toes into the waters. My world is awash in journals. And I couldn’t be happier about it.
That’s what I wish for all the girls who will get their first introduction to journaling thanks to Jamie’s Give a Girl a Journal do-good initiative. That they each get a taste of endless possibilities opening up. That they find their voice; they honor their feelings; that they learn who they are and how to celebrate that; and most of all that they know the power of being themselves full out.
I know the power of journaling and I’ll never forget it. Years ago I had a chop (stone seal) made with the reminder “Write Your Heart.”
I wish that for everyone as well.
I encourage you to play along in Give a Girl a Journal. Share your story; nominate a girl to receive a journal; or sponsor getting a journal into the hands of a girl somewhere in the world by contributing funds. Be sure to check out all the info here.