Keeping a journal is not a formal work for me. I have several journals, some larger than others, some with handmade paper. As long as I date the work, it doesn’t matter which journal I work in.
As most people who juggle different projects, I have to keep track of voice mails, make lists, and jot down notes to find directions. I tried keeping the information on 3×5 notes, but discovered I often needed information on notes I discarded. So I began keeping the information on rollabind-punched 3x5s.
Then I noticed that I have a hand-brain memory. I would remember on which side of the page certain information appeared, and about where in the book. So removing pages confused me and threw the whole book into disarray.
Another fact floated to the top of my brain: these notes, phone numbers, movie names, books someone recommended–all form a weird map of my life. They are as much journal information as the stories, artwork and posts in my more formal journals. I refer to them to find out when I saw which movie, or to remind myself if that was a left or right turn from University onto Rural. They form the real pieces of my life, the daily patchwork that makes life interesting, gives it color and texture.
And now I’ve decided to start keeping those scribble journals. They form an interesting, real part of my life. Instead of loose cards, I’ve moved the whole thing to Moleskine Cahier bound-books, the 5×8 size. They are thin and flat and fit into my paper calendar that keeps my appointments straight. (Yes, I have an iPhone, and it keeps many things, but I need a paper calendar to show me what I’m not doing as well as what I am.)
This is a whole new direction, and piques my interest in mapping a life through journals. It may be a whole new kind of journal.
–Quinn McDonald is a writer and certified creativity coach. See her work at QuinnCreative.com (c) 2007 All rights reserved. Cahier notebooks by Moleskine.com Image: “Solstice” by Quinn McDonald. Watercolor, pencil, on handmade paper.