Do you (or have you ever) kept a journal?
For years I wrote sporadically, longhand, in spiral notebooks or dollar-store style scribblers. For me, the purpose was to empty a racing mind and work through my feelings by forming words that flowed easily on paper, but were too difficult to ever speak aloud. Sometimes I wrote poetry. Mostly, it was unpolished and spontaneous. Sort of like right now. As above, so below.
More than once I have been gifted with lovely, bound, proper hardcover journals to help nurture the practise of regular writing. As it turns out, those beautifully constructed books, despite being so very lovely to look at, were more of a hindrance than helpful to me in a practical sense. The truth is that I simply could not bring myself to crack the spines of those gorgeous books and spoil something so special with my chaotic, unorganized and messy thoughts. To do so, in my mind, would have been akin to randomly spray painting sloppy graffiti all over an already perfectly completed masterpiece. Inevitably, those unused journals ended up as bookends. Trinkets without purpose.
So it was the cheap, unadorned, ordinary notebooks that accompanied me through teenage optimism and angst; trials and triumphs of my 20’s and 30’s; and for whatever reason, were largely conspiculously absent in my early 40’s,
More recently, these types of notebooks have reappeared as regular fixtures in my surroundings, primarily due to my herbalism studies. I’m also revisiting notebooks in the way that feels so very familiar to me by gradually returning to a journal practise. In longhand. My ability to express myself authentically increases greatly when I allow my thoughts and feelings to stream unedited through ink, pen and paper.
It has been awhile since I’ve felt inspired to write anything original for this blog. In fact, there are several unfinished pieces idling away in my drafts folder. Whenever I try to get into “blogging mode”, I’m distracted by something (or many somethings) and I can’t seem to hold on to my own thoughts long enough to translate them into full written sentences. Self-doubt creeps in which results in blanket self-censorship and that pretty much explains that. Essentially, any aspirations for regular blogging have been sidelined as I attempt to achieve a basic level of focus and recover my sense of self – whatever that actually means.
What I have been inspired to do is write in a crappy dog-eared notebook in a completely unorganized fashion. My handwriting is all over the place. Sometimes in straight lines, more often sideways or in circles, reflecting the pattern of my thoughts and emotions. There are days that I write several pages. Other times it might be a short paragraph or even one word to remind me later of the spark of an idea. And then there are days where I simply can’t articulate what I’m thinking or feeling and the page remains blank.
I’ve been saying for awhile now that I’m not really writing much anymore. The truth is that I am in fact writing but have lately been doing so for my eyes alone. I’ve gone back to Old School. Realizing that, I’m thinking perhaps it is that inward reflection through a journal practise that has re-ignited my interest in returning to blogging on a regular basis. Maybe I’ll even get around to finishing those drafts.
Let’s celebrate messy writing everywhere. Especially in cheap-ass notebooks.