Monday, 21 June 2010

Journal Keeping: Conversations

Please excuse me for being a week late with my monthly post, I was out of town last week visiting some friends and successfully unplugged! Aahhh....a much needed break with friends.

For a lot of us makers of handmade goodness, this time of year is craft show season. I can't be the only bookbinder who hears people say things like "I wish I could keep a journal" or "I'm just not a very good writer." Why do we all think we have to Oscar Wilde to keep a journal? Hearing comments like this were the original inspiration for my monthly post.

I've talked a lot in my posts about visual ways to capture a moment, but I got thinking about what kind of things I write in a journal, and decided to focus this month's post on just writing.

One thing I consistently smile about when I look through past journals, is quotes that I write down from people I've met along the way. I'm definitely a chatty person, and when I travel I love to talk to locals. If I hear something that really makes me laugh, or shocks me, I write it down, verbatim. Sometimes it's totally out of context, I just jot it down before I forget it, or sometimes it's later that night when I write down the whole story. In a lot of ways, these little snippets are some of the most powerful jolts to my memory and bring me right back to that moment.

Often, they are simple, like the delicious and relaxed dinner we had in Costa Rica when the waiter told us, "You're in your house tonight." Just reading that makes me exhale and relax, aahhh, no rush. Or, the people in Ecuador who would often interject "my country" into a sentence with such pride and ownership, "Is this your first time in my country?"

This month's post may seem obvious, but there's something special about writing down what you hear that can bring you right back to a moment. We shouldn't feel compelled to only record the earth shattering or mind blowing, the little details that made a place or experience unique or often the most important.


karastefa said...

Often I find that writing it down helps me to remember the exact way it was said, too, instead of being filtered by time and my imperfect memory... especially when I want to remember something my kids said.

Your entry also reminds me of an audio book I downloaded through the library, Anne Lamott's Word by Word (or was it Bird by Bird ?) about writing... same idea: that we don't have to be great, we just have to do it and that's what makes it mean something.

KarleighJae said...

I use to do this all the time in highschool. I'd use the conversations as the titles to my paintings. Sometimes they were nice like "sweet pea petals" and sometimes they were a bit morbid like "Squirrel Fetus"

Anyway, I think that's how I'll have to do my new paintings too. With conversations that have been written down in my journal :)

Thanks for the reminder of how fun conversations can be!

Handmade books and a Smakeral of Art said...

When you mentioned writing down quotes that you've heard throughout the day, it really reminded me that I used to do that. You come up with some real gems doing that, its great!

I think Ill make sure to keep a small journal with me at all times!
thank you!!!