Saturday, August 7, 2010

Journal Keeping

While on vacation I finished The Journal Keeper by Phyllis Theroux. I loved this book. It spans six years of the author's life and is in the format of undated exerpts from her pesonal journal. In the course of the six years Theroux loses her mother and finds love. Throughout I kept thinking to myself I wish my journal were so in depth, so revealing of my deepest self. In the postscript to the book Theroux describes how she keeps her journal and I realized that if I kept mine the same way I could have the type of journal I desire. I think the most important aspect of Theroux's method is consistency, as in daily. She also keeps a rotating selection of books as inspiration near her chair.

She provided a reading list, which of course started me thinking of what books would be on my personal reading list.  This is what I came up with:

The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison
 Plain and Simple by Sue Bender
Everyday Sacred by Sue Bender
Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Mary Oliver-any and all
The Rule of St. Benedict
Seasons of a Family's Life Wendy M. Wright (which I don't currently own, hence it's missing from the pic)

My own journals are not fancy affairs:  five-subject spiral notebooks. I like these because of the pockets. I'm forever printing things off the internet or tearing editorials and articles out of the paper and magazines, the pockets are handy receptacles for all this inspiration.

I don't currently journal every day, and honestly don't know if I ever will. I have tried in the past, and I must admit that I felt calmer and more centered than I ever have before. Plus those journal entries are some of the most insightful I've ever written. I wish I had a good excuse for why I don't commit to daily journaling. Ultimately, it's a matter of will. And letting go of perfection.


Imene said...

I am trying to journal every day. The best time I find is when the children are napping. Sometimes I do it in the morning and I carry my journal with me everywhere. You might want to read Writing Motherhood. It's really a very good book on writing for mothers.

Susan said...

I really enjoyed this post. I have always kept journals...but not very faithfully. I wish I was more self-disciplined. I also have a hard time writing down my innermost thoughts. I'm always afraid that someone close to me will read my journals (perhaps upon my death) and that they will affect him/her badly. Lately, I've been trying to keep a journal that is more like a chronicle of my daily life with my children. Nothing heavy. I'm really trying to be faithful about it. It is helping me to be more faithful with my blog, too. One thing that I have found is that when I write regularly, it becomes easier for me to think of things to write about. Like you, I often print things from the internet or cut out stuff from newspapers or magazines--even pictures and comic stips. I glue these right into my journal pages, so my journal has become a kind of scrapbook, too.

I love the books you have on your list--I've read many of them. I will have to look for The Journal Keeper at my library.


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