I recently made someone I love a journal; I want to inspire her to journaling because it's been so powerful in my life. I want to give her a book that isn't full of pristine white pages (so intimidating and laden with high expectations), but something that feels warm and inviting. If the journal were a person it would be wearing a favorite pair of faded jeans and offering a cup of hot tea in a farmhouse kitchen. I want her to feel immediately at ease but challenged to something transformative and exciting. I want her to know that we're all struggling to figure it out and that she's not alone.
Punchkiss - the period before a miracle, a lesson almost learned, the interface at the edge of an explosion.
That is what I want for all of us - her, you, me. I wish to be poised on the cusp of the next step in my growth. To exist in that sweet spot which acknowledges that I'm good enough, fabulous even, but that I could be better, kinder, more self-aware.
This is the journal.
It ain't pretty, but that's okay. It's the kind of book that says...
I like myself just the way I am.
I'm working on growing and transforming.
I'm finding out who I am day by day.
Old keys can unlock things more important than doors.
I will weather challenge and change.
I will take good care of myself.
My thoughts are important.
It's okay to change my mind.
Being creative is healing.
I am more than what you see on the outside.
That's a lot to expect of a book made from old sketches and bad abstract paintings, housed by a battered & beaten book cover, I know that. But the secret is this - it's not about the book at all. It's the person who must catalyze the transformation, who must dig deep for courage and clarity to find out what's really going on inside. Then comes the scary part because once you have access to this important information, you have to decide what to do with it, a freaking terrifying situation which deserves its very own blog post.
But let's back up and take it one step at a time.
I began by using purchased notebooks and journals and have recently been smitten with making journals from old books, found materials, and artwork that didn't quite cut it.
The idea behind these is that for those who don't have experience being creative or putting themselves out there on a page for all to see, working in journals can be almost impossible. I've had several people tell me this in just the past week. The pages of this journal are already a hot mess, so it can't get any worse. :) Also, it shows that one needn't labor over the images or words. I find that layering until it feels right is the best way. Write something and then paint over it. Anything goes.
There is nothing precious in this kind of journal except honesty and self-awareness. In fact, I hope that if I ever see this journal filled up and complete, it's not even recognizable because it's been written, stamped, painted, and penned over into a beautiful collection of hopes and dreams.
I have been using a coptic binding for my books and this is the most useful video (from Sea Lemon) that I found to learn that stitch. It's simple, clear, and easy to follow.
In a separate post, I'll talk more about my process for layering and filling up my journals, but for now, I would encourage you to just start. Start somewhere, anywhere, and see where it takes you.
There are people out there doing scrapbooking and journaling with perfectly coordinated papers and expensive tools or organizers. There's nothing wrong with that, but that is definitely NOT what I'm aiming for. The messier the better. I would rather use an old list found abandoned in my grocery cart than any purchased paper, no matter how harmonious the colors. Why? Because those found papers have an energy and life of their own. They represent someone's foray out into the world and I love to bring that into my work.
I look for papers, tags, and stickers everywhere I go. Anything sort of flat, really. My husband is used to it and sometimes comes to me with odd bits of string or paper to see if I'm interested. I always am.
I'm also on the lookout for interestingly shaped objects and containers to use in my journals. I dip them in paint and use them as stamps or to apply paint.
If you start doing this, every day will feel a little like a treasure hunt, but I guarantee that the real treasure will come later - when you find yourself discovering new things about yourself. Trust me on this.
For next time, I'll put together some sites to inspire you on your journey. Have a great week and creative wonderful things!