Hiding Secrets in Your Journal

For years, when I wrote morning pages, I sat, wrote, and shredded them. They were too dismal and painful for anything else. Then I began to keep them and read them every now and then. To my relief, I was getting less angry, bitter, disappointed. I was, in fact, showing gratitude. Amazing. And then again, my writing began to improve. Reason to keep writing.

Occasionally, I do morning pages in a journal. Sometimes it’s because I’m brave and think I want to remember that specific morning, at other times, I have an insight I want to keep for further development.

My goal is to keep my writing unedited, just as it comes out. After trying out some Sakura pens, I discovered the clear gel pen in the Gelly Roll Glaze series was perfect for writing morning pages with. You can’t see what you are writing. Not looking at my writing made me write more boldly, effortlessly, and soulfully.

When it was dry, I could see the writing if I tilted the page. To obliterate it, I painted gesso over it. Great texture, and the words were no longer visible.

Then I tried gel medium in semi-gloss. This is an experiment worth working on–I’m going to try tinting the gel medium, or letting it dry, then glazing it. Some of the words are semi-visible. (Sorry, the photos didn’t turn out. I need direct sunlight.)

Journal page, written on in clear pen, washed with watercolor.

Then I decided to cover the whole writing with a watercolor wash. Doing that, I discovered meaning in the word “resist.” The clear gel pen acted as a resist, drying up through the watercolor wash, allowing me to read what I had written. (The page is more clear than above, I deliberately made some of it unreadable–TMI.)

I resist what I need to know, resist claiming what I need to claim, even resist showing up in the world the way I want to. And the pen showed that. No matter what you wash over yourself, you always show up as yourself.

Dive into your own morning pages–clear pen or not. You will find ideas you resist and ideas that you can wash over.

Quinn McDonald is a raw-art journaler whose book, Raw Art Journaling: Making Meaning, Making Art contains a whole chapter on hiding your secrets.