Thursday, August 2, 2007

Thursday Thirteen Journal Sampler (TT #4)

Thirteen Pages from 13 Journals
(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 s
and 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.


Linda said...

I think this is the best TT13 I have ever read. :)

Btw, would you like to trade blogroll links?

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Catching up a bit late here... sorry about that!

Too bad more people didn't stop by to see this. It's one of the coolest T13s I've seen in a long while. NEAT stuff.

beautyredefined said...

I hopped over here from Ravensroads. This is indeed a really interesting TT. I've never been good with journals myself. I have a fascination with the blank page, so I have far too many empty journals lying around. Some of them I don't want to "ruin" by writing in them, and when I do start writing, I never, ever finish one.

Again, though. A very good post!

OpenChannel said...

Hi Linda - wow that's high praise considering how many TT's are floating around out there.

(next week I'll probably do something simpler, haha)

Absolutely about the blogroll. I was just thinking that mine was too short. I love exploring other blogger's rolls.

OpenChannel said...

Thanks, Susan.

People didn't see it because I didn't get it posted until Friday night! It only says Thursday because I started writing the post on Thursday night... that's how long it took. When I get into something, I can get a little obsessive. Haha.

OpenChannel said...

Hi Beauty, thanks for stopping by. I totally get the "too beautiful to write in" journal. A friend of mine bought me this incredible hand-made journal that I used to call my "$100 journal." It took me months before I wrote in it. And even then, I only copied completed poems inside with lined paper behind it so it would stay pristine. I didn't include that one here, but almost did.

Hey - maybe I'll take photos of the FRONT of the corresponding journals for the next TT.

Vicki said...

Love this TT. I have to agree with everyone else. It's one of the best I've seen.

I love journals but find that I start them and then stop. To see pages of yours is inspiring and I love the 3:15 thing. Not saying that I could wake up and do it, but still some of the best ideas might come from during that time. :)

OpenChannel said...

Hey Vicki,

I have a tendency not to finish journals either unless I give myself a special assignment through them. I don't tend to journal about general daily stuff.

For example, I've got 13 3:15 journals from having participated in the project for so long. Then I had the one journal I wrote a morning and night entry for my husband every day. Or my screenplay journals which are all brainstorming. If I don't give myself a specific task with the journal, I most likely won't keep writing in it.

Michelle Johnson said...

I loved this post. I have never kept a journal but, after seeing yours here today... maybe I will try it sometime. I like the idea of having a task for each. I'm betting that would make you see it through to the end.

Have a nice day.

Danika / OpenChannel said...

I'm really surprised, actually, that you've never kept a journal. I haven't been writing in one for a while, so I think I'm going to pick one up again.