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Monday, November 7, 2011

Journaling


Until the notebook/Moleskine trend a few years ago, I forgot that journaling even existed, outside of the kiddish "dear diary" thing. Moleskines, a plain black book similar to what legendary artists and writers once used, is simple and low-tech (obviously, it's paper). It become a trend, especially among the urban young. You would see people drawing or writing in Moleskines in Starbucks over a latte. You would see people make videos or posts about how they wanted to remember their life... like it is, right now. Sometimes I wonder what it is about my generation that seems to want to document every element of their life all the time, whether in notebooks, Twitter, Facebook, taking hundreds of photos a month, etc. But, I think documenting life can be a good thing-- and fun-- so long as you can also live in the moment and enjoy life as it happens. I'm glad the notebook low-tech trend emerged, reminded me of the fun of journaling and scrapbooking.

One semester a few people in my life all mentioned journaling. My old boss got me a pretty Bombay Company journal, and said "every good writer needs a good journal." My grandpa said how I was "living in a historic city in historic times" and encouraged me to document it. Even if you're not living in a historic city, journaling is still a great way to remember your life for what it is (we tend to see the past as happier than it was), a great way to vent (the people around you may thank me), to practice writing (please, schools, do a better job of teaching writing), and a great way to add a little creativity in your life. Even the New York Times mentioned Moleskines a few times. So did other articles.

It's funny how fast we forget life. We see some previous era of our life as "the good old days" but forget why we thought those were the good old days, if they really even were. Journaling lets you document the good and bad, and reflect on life and emotions and dreams. My favorite things to include in journals are actual details of daily life, with small photos added in. The Polaroid Pogo printer prints cute little sized sticky photos that fit into a pocket Moleskine notebook perfectly. You can also add movie ticket stubs, clippings from event brochures, notes from friends, quotes, leaves or flowers you pick up at the lake, and... really... anything. I'm not much into journaling these days, but one semester a year or so ago I was. I wrote about fun times with friends, including details- what we did, where we went, funny things they said, and what I thought of the day. Even basic daily life documenting is fun to look back at-- either for you, your future kids/grandkids, your friends, or whoever you let see it. It's amazing how many details you thought you would remember about a certain time in life... you actually forget. Sometimes you can actually gain perspective by looking at old over-dramatic journal writing and realize... hey, that wasn't so bad. Remember your first 20 page essay you had to write as a freshmen? How stressed you were for final exams? Now those things seem easier, huh?

Let's start this off with some journal writing prompts. Feel free to add your own.

1) Describe your evening. What did you do? Who did you spend time with? Describe the food, the smells, the people, the places. You can even write your day's schedule, and your opinion on what it entailed.

2) Describe your house or apartment. What's it like? Why did you choose it? How is it decorated? Did little Johnny first learn to walk by the large bay window? Did you repaint or add drapery, and what look were you going for? How has your opinion on your home changed since you moved in? Did you think it was huge at first, but now it seems smaller?

3) Describe the key players in your life. How did you meet them? When? How would you describe them- looks, personality, funny stories?

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