Tuesday, September 18, 2012

journey through journals

What better way to preserve a person's life than a journal? Like hand-written letters, a journal puts in writing a person's heart and soul and mind. To be a writer, I am, admittedly, terribly disorganized. And sporadic, especially when it comes to journaling.

But I absolutely cannot resist journals. I gravitate to the journal shelf at bookstores, checking each one by running my fingers over the covers and thumbing their pages. People gift them to me. Lots of them. And just last week, I took one from Katie that was destined for the yard sale. It's red and white and adorable, with a magnetized flap. I'm formulating a plan for it. I'll probalby print off a different quote, or favorite scripture, and glue it over the original: "Let the sun shine on me and make me feel special." I know I can come up with something more fitting than that.

Anyway, here's my shelf full of journals. I'm envious of those who journal in chronological order, beginning a new journal every year. I'm also in awe of writers who display a neat line of journals, standing on a shelf in a literary time line. Some even have the foresight to settle on one style and use it year after year.

The problem seems to come when - as with this new red and white journal - I begin writing in something that strikes me as "just right." Many factors come into play. Sometimes I need a notebook-sized journal to balance on my lap while at the lake. When traveling, I need a compact journal to tuck in my bag. And when I'm just running around town I really need a very small, lightweight journal to jot down any fleeting thoughts or writing ideas.

I even kept a journal for each of my four children. I began each one before they were even born. Baby books demanded far too many details, so I settled on simple journals in which I recorded each child's daily life, first words, and milestones. It's something I wish my mother had done for me.

I started a fun journal project with Katie when she was about eleven. I wrote to her in a journal, and she wrote back to me. We'd place it on each other's pillows when we'd written an entry. It's a fascinating peek into her girlhood and our relationship.

I'm considering a big project: combining my journals into sequential order. This shakes me to the core, the thought of ripping pages from journals and creating a patchwork quilt of sorts. And it would probably mean I'd toss out half-used journals.

Do you journal, and how do you make it work?

No comments: