I start most of my days with writing. When I was young I made brief attempts at keeping a journal, starting here, and ending there. I always thought if I found just the right journal…or just the right pen, it would all gel and I would be writer. At the time I never thought of combining my love for art with my love of writing in one journal, (I wrote entirely in spiral notebooks) but once I did, and abandoned the idea of writing on straight lines, it all came alive for me. Journaling has become a habit, one journal at a time. Not journaling now, is just NOT possible; I feel incomplete, as if I went to work without combing my hair.
Our personal stories are worth recording. As a writer and an artist, I can find no better way to begin than just beginning…put pen to the paper and start, and once I read Natalie Goldberg’s, Writing Down the Bones, I felt completely validated. I write every thought that I have, completely emptying my brain, letting it flood down my arms, through my fingers and pen. If I journal before beginning another writing task, I find that I have an easier time getting down the information. It’s as if I moved a giant road block that stands between me and the blank page.
I’ve used my journal to not only record my day, but to work on a novel, write poetry, or work out some issues with an article I’m writing…sometimes to write the entire article.
My journal is my cheerleader, my Mom, and the tiny, and the otherwise unnamed voices in my head. Also, I’ve developed a great fondness for “found poetry.” Found Poetry is poetry written with any group of words at hand; a single page from a magazine, or combination of two or three pages. I set my own “rules” and very often limit myself (for best results in the least amount of time) to a single ad, mixing up only the words found there, and gluing them down on a painted background, letting the words be what they want to be.
I have now amassed what most people would regard as a fire hazard of journals in a variety of sizes, shapes, handmade, or store bought. All reflect the joy and heartache of the examined life in a way that most precisely mirrors what and who I am as a person right now.