Today we’ve wandered into the land of J in my Random Musing abecedarium. Come join me, perhaps with a java in hand, as I discuss my latest journal adventure.
This summer I participated in Jamie Ridler’s online Journal Club. I love Jamie and all she’s about, and I had a number of friends participating in the class as well. So it was delightful to spend an hour a week hanging out online, journaling and chatting together. But most importantly, it was a way to initiate a practice – a specific set time each week to journal. Truth told, I journal a lot. In a lot of different journals, doing a lot of different things. But one of the things I wanted to do this summer (this whole year in fact) was play around with my rhythm and my schedules and see what better things I could come up with. And I love my new early Friday afternoon journaling time, thanks to Journal Club. It’s a perfect fit for me – a chance to do a bit of review about the week (always a necessary and fun thing in my book) as well as allow myself time to journal about whatever else inspires me. And so now I have a new rhythm.
A while ago I was gifted with a spiral binding machine. Truthfully I wasn’t sure I was going to like it because I’m a bookbinder and spiral-binding doesn’t really require anything except punching paper and aligning a spiral. And heaven knows I delight in the slow, deliberate art of bookbinding. But turns out, I love the spiral binding machine. It’s proven a wonderful way to deal with the endless papers I collect. If I’ve printed off something interesting I want to save, or a collection of sketches I’ve doodled, or any interesting scraps of paper or daily ephemera, I gather it up and bind it. My machine has a capacity of about 150 pages I think, but I can extend that a bit, because I use different size paper and stagger it – so for example in the space for one sheet I might get three smaller sheets of paper and align them so they fit along the longer axis that is bound. I’m not sure how to explain this more clearly, but I think you’ll get the idea from the photos. When I’m binding, I mostly just randomly gather stuff in no particular order until I’ve got my spiral full. I love that random factor – it allows for fabulous surprises and interesting synchronicities when I go through the pages later. After I’ve got the journal bound, I then can go in and tip in additional things as I’m inspired, which I do a lot.
I have room to journal on all the blank pages, on the back side of stuff, in all the white space, under the flaps of things I’ve tipped in. I often tip in envelopes and then stick written stuff inside, or make pockets. I love little hidden secret compartments and my journals are always full of them.
For this particular journal which is what I used for Journal Club, the covers are simply an old file folder which I’ve added a couple stripes of washi tape. I think you can get an idea about the pages – I took photos of pages I haven’t written on yet, because as you might guess I’m kind of private about my journal writing.
I’m finding this way of working a real delight. Because the journal contains things I already like and/or find interesting (otherwise I wouldn’t have saved them in the first place!), it’s such an easy invitation to then write about and explore more deeply. I’m not one who actually cares about being linear, so I have no problem jumping in at any point that inspires me in the moment. My thoughts are rarely chronological and I no longer ask that of my journals either.
I’m a great fan of the brilliant cartoonist/author Lynda Barry. She said something I hold to be absolutely true:
“The point of the daily diary exercise is not to record what you already know about what happened to you in the last 24 hours. Instead, it’s an invitation to the back of your mind to come forward and reveal to you the perishable images about the day you didn’t notice you noticed at all.”
That to me is always the sweet spot of journaling. Listening and looking for what lies beyond, or behind, or deep within.
And although I love my spiral journals adventure and expect I’ll continue creating and using them indefinitely, they’ll never be my only journals. I love working in purchased journals, and I love creating and binding my own. Paulus Berensohn offers wonderful examples of what it’s like to spend a lifetime journaling and the magic of creating your own journals. Soul Kitchen is a term he uses for journals – isn’t that fabulous? You can see a little clip about his and his journals here.
Are you a journaler? A mutliple-journal keeper or one-for-everything type? What “J” thing are you noticing today? What inspiration is sparking you? Do tell – you know I love to hear.