Thanksgiving cometh…and so does the writing…

November 6, 2010 § 22 Comments

(photo taken at Eckert’s Orchard in Illinois)

Saturday night.
Stomped around getting things done, sorting and tossing, making lists, dashing from closets to trash bins, also including some minor scribbling in journal, trying to meet upcoming class assignment. I’m cComing up a double journal class week. I’ve finished two ms and handed them and have one more to go. (thus the cleaning; I always clean after handing in assignments; it’s part of the “giddy” that follows finishing a piece.)

Made a (small and really unimportant in the grand scheme of things) discovery today, yet one of those little writerly truths one discovers about oneself… and it means ultimately I will be staying away from “mad” journal purchases! I have discovered, when left ot my own to write, on WHAT I really like to write: 

…..Must have heavy paper that ink and sharpees won’t bleed through
…..must be at least 6″x9″ in size
…..Must lie fairly flat when open
…..must have smooth, very smooth paper
…..Must be unlined

More to share about  journaling:

Line after line of text is boring, not only to look at, but sometimes to create.
It is important, or at least fun, to insert sketches, postcards, ticket stubs and other bits to make the page somehow remarkable, words notwithstanding. (Remember: written text is what it is, in journaling  –  no “go backs,” fixes, edits, etc.
So it’s fun to spice it all up a bit so that it interests even you, the writer and doesn’t put any pressure on you to fill that whole blank page with words only.)

So you might enjoy a nice peek at Penchant for Paper’s blog for some ideas on notebooks and such, and then take a look at i hanna’s blog and page back through her entries to see what she’s doing with art and journaling.

We don’t have to be skilled visual artists,  but (visual) art likes holding hands with (textual) writing. 

Book recommend…
Try a magazine like one of the Somerset publications, like JOURNALING or ART JOURNALING…

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§ 22 Responses to Thanksgiving cometh…and so does the writing…

  • Bellezza says:

    First, I love that photograph. I looked at it for a long time before I read your post which spoke to me quite dearly.

    Secondly, you clean after accomplishment? Oh dear, I really need some accomplishments…I’ve had far too many conferences this week. Love talking to the parents, hate working 12 hour days.

    And, on to journaling. I share many of the same opinions about journals as you do: they must be of heavy paper (so my fountain pen doesn’t bleed through), they must lie flat, they must be big enough so that three words don’t fill a line. I also can’t abide a spiral; hand stitching is perferrable. Although, if the journal is too lovely (like an Italian leatherbound one my husband bought me) I won’t use it at all.

    Your idea of drawings in it make me smile. The children in my class are so clever with their drawings; everything they write must be illustrated. Why do we lose that when we get to be adults? Even cutting pictures out and gluing them down would be better than lines and lines of uninterrupted print, right?

    • oh says:

      Right! putting some kind of picture or graphic makes a difference…you’re right…why do weu stop illustrating as we mature? we shouldn’t worry about our drawing abilities. but I do. though in my journal, I don’t care. Don’t care about what tool I use, either. A green pen is as good as fancy drawing pencil.

      Yes, yes, we work too much or too hard or too long…or all of the above.
      Journaling offers a separation, allows a changing of gears. Maybe when your students write at their desks, you can, too.
      But, oh! your blogging counts!

  • i also love unlined journals–room to doodle–and is there anything more blissful than writing with a sharpie? i think not. 🙂

  • Becca says:

    I love these posts about your journaling class, especially that you and your mom are doing this together. Very, very cool. You really make my fingers itch to get the pen and paper going!

    I’ve never written in an un-lined journal. Hmm. I think that says something about me and my need to have everything all lined up!

    Happy writing…

    • oh says:

      Just had class with Mom last night. She used to sit in the back row and now she goes right to the front and volunteers to read! Who would have thought? I’m learning about her. We both wrote on the same topic and shared them last night and our stories were surprisingly alike albeit completely different styles. Mom wears her sense of humor on the outside.
      So glad you stopped by.

  • write4you says:

    Hmmmm, maybe I will just take a journaling class from you! You make it sound so natural. I have written in an unlined journal and something about it brings out the FREE feeling – like coloring outside the lines. And I like the idea of putting in visuals, ticket stubs and what-not.

    • oh says:

      Yes, come over! we can journal together. Yes, I know we have to write for money, too, but a writer should have some writing practice time, too, and something not required, that no one asked for.

  • shoreacres says:

    I understand completely that mad impulse toward cleaning once a deadline is met. When I finish a boat, I simultaneously relax and get a surge of energy – most of which usually gets dispelled doing the things I’ve put off while trying to meet the deadline!

    And I love this entry about journaling – especially all those specifications about paper, ink, pens and so on – because it’s helped me become clearer about my own feelings about journaling.

    This is just me, thinking out loud… but imagine that every piece of writing sits somewhere on a continuum between “aesthetic experience” on the one hand, and “communication event” on the other. Some writing might tend toward the aesthetic end (journaling, for example) and other writing might tend very much toward pure communication (a Presidential briefing, perhaps). In between, you could find every combination of the two aspects you could imagine.

    For me, the beauty of this way of thinking is that every bit of writing can be placed on the continuum – making poetry and prose, journaling and journalism no longer opposed to one another but simply different in their emphasis.

    This probably is taught all over the place, but since I missed the classes, I have to figure it out for myself!

    • oh says:

      Linda – I like this, your continuum with aesthetic at one end and communication at the other – makes sense out of something that might otherwise be construed as abstract. Haven’t seen it elsewhere expressed as such – well put!
      And just as I settle into the aesthetic end, the communiation end calls and I say “yes” so now I need to work on some stuff. Drat.
      Reluctantly, I leave blogworld for now!

  • ds says:

    Well, I’d fail your journalling class. Paper must be lined (I have lousy handwriting; lines keep it from wandering), I actually like spirals because they can be bent back if space is limited, and if the thing is too expensive I won’t dare put pen to it.
    Sharpies, on the other hand, are wonderful!!!
    It is so cool that you are doing this with your mom and sharing your perspectives and FINISHING things!! Well done!

    • oh says:

      Go, sharpies. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to figure out my “journal” style. But I’m not ignoring the stack of blank journals that wait to be filled even though they aren’t my perfeclty perfect fave. Overall, can’t resist the lure of a notebook, no matter if it’s line or unlined.
      Dontcha just love this writing stuff?

  • Ruth says:

    I really like stopping and thinking about this now that you’ve written about it . . what kind of paper and journal I like to write on. While I find the moleskin journals beautiful (all journals are beautiful, I think), I’m like DS and like spirals with lines. I have one that ironically I found in a touristy town where there were no bookstores last year, and the only “journal” was in a drugstore in a section of kids’ stuff. It has a 3D design that is clearly meant for a 13-year-old girl. And wow, do I love it. And it is 6×9! You’re right, that is the perfect size. I also agree with you that doodles and sketches are wonderful, both to do, and to go back and look at. They express something other than what words can, and they open the moments differently.

  • I have the world’s worst penmanship and an extreme inability to write in a straight line, so I have to go w/ a lined journal. So interesting to read about people’s preferences! I prefer wire bound as those are easier for me to write in.

    I really need to be better about journaling. Snice I started blogging, I really stopped journaling… I imagine I’ll do quite a bit of journaling in Paris, though. 🙂

    • oh says:

      OMG, journaling in Paris – you can’t top that! and they have such great journals/notebooks there, all metric and wiht different bindings. Egads, would lose my mind over the choices.
      Can’t wait to hear your blog tales of the City of Light, though.

  • Kathleen says:

    I used to write in journals for years and then stopped. Your post is making me want to take it up again. Maybe I’ll start a journal when I am on my upcoming holiday to Hawaii!

    • oh says:

      Yes, yes, take up the journaling pen. Still, though, blogs do the same, just with the click click click tap tap tap of the keys instead. Ah, but the pen and paper will travel to the Big Island so easily!

  • jeanie says:

    Excellent book recommendation. You know, for all the journals I make, you’d think I would write in them. I don’t.(Though they come in useful for copying recipes and taking notes). I just haven’t been able to make myself journal, outside of the Gypsy, which isn’t exactly a journal because there are some things I would really like to vent about that will never see the light of day. (That’s why there are about a dozen unpublished posts in my dashboard!)

    Yes, I think the collecting bits of a life and adding them to a journal is part of what makes it a journal. Not just the words,not even how they are written. A journal is a snapshot of a life in time — sometimes one with great depth of field, at other times, a bit more shallow or fuzzy, but nonetheless important.

    (And I’m a sharpie fan, too!)

    Interesting discussion — I’ve been amking journals like a crazy lady for my show and I am so done! Or want to be!

  • oh says:

    Jeanie – yay, you’re making journals! If there are any left, you have to let me know. YES, I’m interested in shopping chez Jeanie!
    Hope you’re having a grand old time in your art studio and we look forward to seeing what comes out of there.

    As for journaling, yeah, blogging is nearly the same except that it’s public – it’s the nouveau journal.
    But you know you have to carry a notebook and pen in your purse and couldn’t stand to be without one!

  • Arti says:

    You know, oh, I have a whole collection of Somerset Studio mags. and is still a subscriber of their online Postscript. I love these mixed media art… used to do a lot of them, and crazy about art journals too… even learned to bind them. Well, you know what, after I discovered blogging three years ago, I just don’t have time to do all those any more… and all the materials I’d bought just sit in boxes. I still keep a few journals, but blogging seems to be the main event now. That’s why coming over here to read your posts on art journaling is so refreshing. 😉

  • shoreacres says:

    You know – it’s taken me all this time to figure out that what you call journal we used to call a “scrapbook”. Not the fancy-schmancy stuff done today that requires you to go to a store and get pinking shears and special papers and all that – but just life: ticket stubs, photos, bits of this and that, and the written descriptions, ponderings, etc.

    I kept a lot of scrapbooks – but they’re all gone now. I haven’t a clue where or when they were tossed. Strange.

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