Thursday, June 26, 2008

Dear Diary...Bridget Jones I Ain't

I've been reading these excellent posts on journaling and thinking, "gosh, I'm off on such a tangent from everybody else." At the same time, I agree and sympathize with everybody's posts so far.

I'm a sporadic journaler. If a chronicler ever had to reconstruct the pieces of my life, they'd be having a jigsaw-puzzle job on their hands. And they'd be working with a lot of the backs of envelopes. If given a choice between a brand spankin' new journal with fancy ruling, a gorgeous cover, and fine-art binding or the back of an envelope in which yet another piece of junk mail arrived, well then...Capital One--you're my primary supplier of journaling material. There is some good in you, Sith Company of Evil Credit Offers.

Journaling seems like it should be limited to the written (as in with a pencil, and on paper) word...and the private (as in not for the world to see, silly internets), so when I think of journaling, I don't think of Live Journal, or blogging. Blogging, to me, is more like those family or personal newsletters that usually go out with holiday cards, only done more often. And even a private LJ or blog still has the energy of being out on the internet, and as such, part of that organism. All the truly secret stuff is off the hard lines.

Back when I was what they now call an "emo-kid" (and what used to be called either goth, sk8r, geek, freak, outcast, blip, etc), I did the typical teenager thing and wrote down all my wangsty emo-ness for the world (or my little brother) to find. A few years later, when I re-read it, I burned it because it was full of stupid. I did, however, rip out the pages where I'd been writing story. That, I kept, even though the story also reeked (reeks) of stupid. Full of the worst of the worst of cliche'd crap that even the worst ten-year-old fanfiction writer wouldn't do. I just thank the powers that be that I was an emo-idjit before the advent of the internet, where the world really could see all my dorky self-centeredness.

I later came to the conclusion that I wouldn't be using diaries or journals that chronicled the inside of my own head. Da Vinci I ain't, and there was no earthly reason to waste the paper. Now I use journals (and the backs of envelopes) to perform freewriting, where I map the unconscious part of my mind. Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way" uses this method to unblock creativity. Sometimes I do these pages in longhand, other times I type 'em out because my fingers move faster than my hands.

Recently, I've been exploring the use of other things to "journal" - specifically, not-words. Pictures (as in collaging), textures, pieces of knick knacks, all seem to inspire some sort of sensory response from me that I've been attempting to map or log. It serves no purpose beyond giving me something to do with myself, but then again, neither does journaling.

--xandra
Technorati Tags:
,

Flickr Tags:
,

Del.icio.us Tags:
,

Furl Tags:
,

5 comments:

Savanna Kougar said...

Xandra, luv the title of your blog. At one period of my life, journaling was useful and emotionally cathartic. And brought out good story ideas, or scenes.
However, I think I'm past that point of no return...my brain is trained, and it coughs it up like a hairball or poetry.
Hey, you could always use snippets of your emo-writings for a character.

Xandra Gregory said...

Haha Savanna...only if I hated that character and wanted them to die. :D

I think at this point in my life, I have learned to analyze, learn from, and recognize whatever I'm going through without needing to write it down. Now occasionally, I will take a look at some of those "Artist's Way" exercise pages in the hunt for some unconscious reason why I might be dragging ass on writing. But I have the emotional toolset now to not need to blarf out emo-trash onto the page just to hear myself wangst. ;) Plus, I have a great set of friends who are great listeners and aren't afraid to tell me I'm being an asshat.

Of course, none of that at all speaks to my addiction to office supplies. I mean, the way other women can't resist DSW shoe warehouse...that's me in Staples. I have to be supervised.

Savanna Kougar said...

Office supply addiction -- yep! I know about that one. It's only lack of money and time that keep me from that goody store!

Skylar Masey said...

Xandra~

Great post. I'll have to check out Julia Cameron's book. And as you've seen I can agree with the collaging. ;0)

Xandra Gregory said...

Haha--I blame Jenny Crusie for the collaging--she did a workshop on it for my chapter and it was amazing. But I also highly recommend Julia Cameron's book because even if you're happily, merrily rolling along, you can benefit from the ways she has to nurture your creativity.