Privacy, Designed

Most of my journals are experimental, so I write notes in them, experiment in them, and don’t worry too much about having beautiful show-piece journals. But because my life is really just one push of toothpaste out of the tube, I also write my thoughts, fears and hopes into my journals.

Once, I was more careful to keep things separate, but I have become stubborn in my refusal to create “show journals” that don’t reflect my life. It’s one of the reasons working on loose leaf pages is appealing. That way I can gather what I want to show to a class.

Side view of journal with tied pages.

The journal that’s going to Valley Ridge with me this weekend is one that contains some personal observations that I don’t care to share with anyone. They might include my own inner critic’s rant, or a comment I found hurtful but recorded, along with the source–things that don’t benefit from sharing.

Still, the journal has a lot of pages that demo a technique, so it’s coming along. How to keep private thoughts private?

One hole is enough, no need to turn the journal into a sneaker-lacing project.

I punched a hole in the contiguous pages that contained the information, then tied them shut with waxed linen. Elegant in its own right, not glaring enough to call attention to what it might contain, this method is better than ripping pages out or pasting other paper over it.

Close up of tied pages.

When I return home, I can take out the waxed linen, and the pages, still  punched, will be neatly marked for the next time they need privacy.

–Quinn McDonald is a creativity coach, who teaches art journaling with a lot of creativity coaching mixed in.

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14 responses to “Privacy, Designed

  1. That is just so simple and smart. I too am a bit ocd and like to keep things just where they are. Sometimes my rants are the reason for the design ideas next to it and moving any part could be destructive to the flow.

  2. This is a wonderful idea, Quinn. Love it.

  3. LOVE this “design” – will definitely use your idea!

  4. guvf vf nabgure knl gb xrrc frpergf.

    • There are other ways to hide writing, too, of course, Pete.

      • I try to relate, but I just don’t use paper very much any more! Oddly enough, physical things like that feel transient and ephemeral to me. Much more so than the digital world.

        Anyway I’ve always loved codes, treasure hunts, and stuff like that. There was, for example, a series of interlocking clues hidden throughout a certain office building near Boston that led to an even-more-hidden “treasure”. Unfortunately remodeling destroyed most of it before it was solved. If you’re really, really obsessive about poring over Google Earth, there is (or was, at any rate) at least one world-spanning story hidden in a series of location notes. Also, if you happen to have a 1990′s-era Macintosh computer running a particular version of System 7, there’s something funny hidden not-too-deeply inside the operating system itself (this one was actually discovered a few times).

  5. A great idea for keeping your private thoughts private. I have to say, though, Quinn…I have no idea what “one push of toothpaste out of the tube” means! :-)

  6. brilliant!! I’ve been doing more loose page journallilng as of late because I was feeling a need to keep the bound books private when I brought them to a class, but now I don’t have to!! thanks, Quinn

  7. Quinn

    love this idea – since i’ve shifted my journaling to include more art – my journals for the past 3-4 years fit exactly your description of your own – they are my art – but they are also my heart and soul of the written word – now i know how to hide something that is so personal i don’t want others looking thru. Thanks for the tip.

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