One of my most favorite things to do in my spare time is read about the creative process. I re-read a lot of things too in case it didn’t sink in the first time – which, obviously, is the case here.
I find that I dismiss the most obvious things and then will spend entirely too much time trying to figure it all out after the fact. I’m not sure what causes me to do this but I tend to do it a lot.
I was recently re-reading a passage in the book, ‘writing poetry from the inside out’ by Sandford Lyne when I came upon his reference to the words ‘writers studio’ as another name for an artist’s personal journal. He compares the journal to the artist’s studio – a place full of inspiration and natural light – all necessary for channeling the inspiration and associations that an artist’s space offers. He says the ‘writer’s studio’ (or journal) should be nothing less – not only should the pages offer space for writing but (as walls are to the physical studio) they should offer space for ‘decorating’ as well.
Fill your journals with poem sketches (he calls them) or just simply thoughts and ideas that are meaningful to you.
And I think this is probably the reason I’d never really gotten into the whole journal writing thing – as so many others have (something I’ve always been confused by and thought extremely strange considering I can hardly resist buying journals when I see them) …because I never knew what to put IN THEM. I was always a little concerned that what I put in them wouldn’t be worthy of the book itself – because I always pick up the ones that are really unique – some with leather covers, some with sewn bindings, some that are simply covered in beautiful paper…but it really didn’t matter what they were made of – I never felt what I could fill them with was worth the space.
So most (if not all) of my journals remain empty, lying about, quietly mocking me.
I’m sure if any psychologists are reading this, they’ve already diagnosed my ‘condition’ but, in my defense, its really just a matter of not wanting to fill up books for the sake of simply filling up books. I guess it never occurred to me that all those words that fill other people’s journals, have actual MEANING (gasp!). But meaning FOR THEM (not for me necessarily) and not simply for aesthetic reasons alone, either -which is the way they always appeared to be to me – which explains why I never really ‘got them’ before – because their words weren’t my words.
Its as simple as that.
That was the sound of the light coming on.
Its ok if my journals aren’t perfect, its ok if they’re not beautiful according to someone else’s definition of the word, its ok if they’re not cohesive like a portfolio, and its ok if I give myself creative license…because, well, that’s kind of the point!
I’ve been holding on to one of the ‘1001 Journals, a collaborative art experiment, sharing journals amongst strangers and friends around the world now for quite some time…now, maybe, I can actually pick it up and put something in it!!
For more information about the journal experiment… go to: www.1001journals.com.
Images of the journal’s cover (front and inside) – taken with my cell phone.