Wednesday, March 24, 2010

J is for Journals

is for


Journals have long been a favorite means of recording one's thoughts, ideas, or experiences. Though I'm not one who keeps a daily journal, I often record experiences in a travel journal and enter observations or ideas into a garden journal to help transition from season to season.

Page From One Of Laurie Doctor's Journals

My recent studies with Laurie Doctor have inspired me to be more attentive to journal writing. Laurie advocates writing a line a day. She suggests that one give one's self at least 10 minutes a day to write in a personal journal. It need not be prose. She says write down random words or thoughts, sketch something that catches the eye, or even attach a snippet of something meaningful. It can be a poem you've read or a song you've heard.

Page From One Of Laurie Doctor's Journals

Another idea that Laurie shared is to use the journal space randomly. One doesn't have to fill a page before moving onto a new page. She flips back and forth between the pages of her journal. This provides interest to each page as if it is a collage of time or place or ideas. I also feel this makes the process easier and less structured. Notice in the above example, Laurie has used different writing styles, turned the page a different angle, and used colored ink at times.

Page From One Of Laurie Doctor's Journals

Here Laurie has added braille to the page along with a piece of foreign currency. She then included her own interpretation of the bill.

Page From One Of Laurie Doctor's Journals

The morning before departing, I had breakfast with Laurie at our hotel. As we sat visiting and enjoying some leisure time, Laurie made entries onto a page in her journal. She had drawn off a series of small squares and then sketched a piece of fruit from our breakfast into each box. Then she quickly tinted each with her watercolors. I noted that she added a little line about where she was and who she was with at the time. It is just such entires that she advocates. Simply record the moment.

Page From One Of Laurie Doctor's Journals

I'm not an artist or a calligrapher, but the idea is that one can use their own handwriting and do different things with it. Sketching can be simply drawing the lines of the shapes one sees. The focus is on using the page as a means to express something for yourself. It doesn't need to be shared with others. It's an echo of a memory, something that reminds us of the moment.

Page From One Of Laurie Doctor's Journals

I like the way Laurie mixed words with sketches for her thoughts on this page.

Sara Midda published IN AND OUT OF THE GARDEN IN 1981. It's a wonderful potpourri of garden lore, while SARA MIDDA'S SOUTH OF FRANCE SKETCHBOOK, 1990, is a personal journal of her year's sojourn in the south of France. Both are beautiful examples of the type of entries one might include in a daily journal. Delightful and delicious, the pages of both these books offer inspiration.

Page From One Of Laurie Doctor's Journals

Laurie makes her own journals so that the size and paper is of her choosing. Her journals are bound so that they lay flat for ease of writing or sketching. Arches paper is perfect for the pages because it takes both ink and watercolor. I noted that Laurie also mixes in a few other types of paper for variety. Some are folded to add different dimensions, and pockets or envelopes are also added. Laurie likes to either use a brad or a needle and thread to hand sew items onto a page.

I recently read Sandra Gulland's trilogy of Josephine Bonaparte. Ms. Gulland skillfully tells the story through the voice of Josephine in the writing of fictionalized journal entries. It is an enchanting means by which to reveal the life story of this intriguing lady. The series left me feeling as if Josephine were a close friend who had shared her most intimate thoughts.

Though each of these novels stand on their own, I recommend that they be read in succession as they seamlessly chronicle the life of Josephine Bonaparte. Click here to read my review on THE MANY LIVES AND SECRET SORROWS OF JOSEPHINE B. Click here for the review on TALES OF PASSION, TALES OF WOE. Click here for the review on THE GREAT LAST DANCE.

Thank you for stopping by today. For more Letter J Lessons in Mrs. Matlock's class, click here.

And a huge THANK YOU, MRS. MATLOCK for the thoughtful gift certificate. No doubt there will be new books arriving soon.