Thirteen Pages from 13 Journals
(graphic brought to you by Love All Books)
(graphic brought to you by Love All Books)
This took so long to do it should count for TWO Thursday 13's. It was a fantastic project and I'm really amazed by the span of my own work. First of all, I have 42 writing journals dating from 1991 - 2007. I never realized this before. I never stopped to count them, much less explore them all. I have personal journals, travel journals, dream journals, poetry journals, notebooks, teaching journals, and exercise journals for my screenplays and novel.
It was really hard to choose, but I selected 13 different journals and took a photo of the inside of each of them. Enter the journey of my creative life as told by journals spanning 14 years:
1) My first 3:15 Experiment journal (1993). If you can't read it, that's because during the annual 3:15 Experiment participants wake up at 3:15 AM every night during the month of August to write. I don't even turn on my light, I just roll over and write when the alarm goes off. Sometimes, I accidentally have my journal upside down. That was the case here. I accidentally wrote back OVER the previous night's entry. I love the way it looks.
2) Naropa Journal (1994). I received my MFA in Writing and Poetics at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics and Naropa University in Boulder, CO (yes, it's an accredited program). During the summer intensive, we had our lectures under a big tent outside. I would lie on the grass and let the words wash over me. This is what my summer notebooks always looked like.
3) (1995) For a brief period of time I kept a "weekly calendar journal" because a friend of mine was doing it and I thought it was cool. It didn't work out so well. I've never been able to fit my life in a box.
4) Bitch Moan (1997) I have no idea what is written underneath here. Apparently it was so disturbing I decided to counteract it by writing over it twice and drawing angels all across the top. Hmmm. Must have been some pretty powerful juju. (NOTE: I was going through a divorce that year)
5) Workshop Journal (1998) Well, this looks far more productive. This is a page from my workshop journal. When I teach creative writing, I do all the exercises with my students. I want us to be a part of the process together and I wouldn't give anyone an exercise I wasn't willing to do myself. In this exercise, we sit outside and write spontaneously for about 10 minutes, then place rocks over the text and everything inside the outline is the poem. (I did not invent this exercise. I learned it from poet Pat Reed) Here's one from this journal page:
waves. they crash
dangerous the ocean.
wind blowing sand into
hands chapped, lips open.
take me home. I sail
we both nodded
breath on the water
breath in the air.
6) Deutsch Journal (2000) I lived in Central and Eastern Europe for most of 2000. I spent a month in Austria and took a German Language course so I would be able to shop there.
7) (2001) Apparently, I went through a minimalist phase. I think that was the year I decided to shut up and listen.
8) Love's Confusing Joy (2002). Originally titled 100 Days Without You, this is an epic love poem I wrote for my husband before we were married. I lived in Seattle and he lived in Vancouver and every day we were apart I wrote two verses for him, one before going to sleep and one first thing in the morning.
9) Her Red Book (2002). I guess being in love makes one prolific. This journal (named for the colour of its cover), became a chapbook of the same title published by en theos press in 2003. I wrote a poem in 3rd person every day until the journal was filled. This poem didn't make it into the book. It's called On the Day She Signed Up for French Lessons.
10) Spontaneous Creations (2003). This is a small journal I use for brainstorming about workshops I'm teaching. On this page, I designed a course called Spontaneous Creations and Experiments in Form. It's my favourite workshop to teach.
11) The New Mrs. Polly Dearborne Journal (2003). A page from one of my screenplay journals. For those doing my Start to Finish writing exercises, you'll recognize this one, it's the "moving image" exercise for the Super Screenwriting Formula. I thought you might like to see that I actually do these exercises on a regular basis.
12) Brigitta of the White Forest World Book (2004). This is a page from my world book, which is where I wrote down all the history, plants, animals, places, etc that exist in my fantasy novel series. On this page I was designing the geography of the White Forest and the names of the villages.
13) The 3:15 Experiment (2007). This is the poem I wrote last night as part of the annual 3:15 Experiment. This is the 13th time I have participated in this collaborative ritual (I missed 1995 and 2004). I now dog-ear the page so I don't accidentally write over my previous entry.