Journals and Journeys

from Kahunna on Flikr

from Kahunna on Flikr

20 October 2013
10:22 pm

T. —

I haven’t written a journal in a while. I know that sounds counter-intuitive because it probably seems like I write all the time. But I haven’t been filling notebooks in the same way recently. And the only place I’ve been reflecting on my days has been here, with you. That’s not to say that here is not enough. It’s only to say that I was looking at Pinterest pages of Art Journals today, and I realized that I do miss putting ink to the page.

It’s not that I need to create an art journal. I don’t think I’m very good at Art, and yes, that’s a capital A to me. I just found some beautiful things that I love to look at but that I understand are mostly outside the area of my skills right now.

But I read an amazing book about the nature of journals a few years ago, and that’s kind of what I’ve been thinking of, and missing, and feeling like I need to make more time for.

Before I closed the covers on Volume One, I had discovered that the journal was my most powerful ally in crafting the kind of life I wanted. I was building a scaffolding of choices and attitudes, forging affinitudes, discovering what colors, places, times of the day I could truly call “mine”. (3)

Without the journal, none of this would have seemed so momentous. With it, I was able to keep believing in the newness of the world. (5)

I see the effect of journal-keeping in reverse when I don’t do it for a while, for whatever reason. I begin to feel a kind of malaise, and indigestion of the spirit; too many experiences have accumulated without being truly seen or felt. The journal has become a necessary extension of my thinking, feeling self. If nothing goes into it, I become slightly disconnected, unresponsive, less than alert. The solution for that is usually an entry of thousands of words that leaves my hand paralyzed and my spirit blissfully spent. (15)

– from A Trail Through Leaves: the Journal as a Path to Place by Hannah Hinchman

Andrew just read those quotations out loud to me so I could type them up, but he tried to use a Morgan Freeman voice imitation. It didn’t really work, but it was hilarious all the same.


Ode to Broken Things
Pablo Neruda

Things get broken
at home
like they were pushed
by an invisible, deliberate smasher.
It’s not my hands
or yours
It wasn’t the girls
with their hard fingernails
or the motion of the planet.
It wasn’t anything or anybody
It wasn’t the wind
It wasn’t the orange-colored noontime
Or night over the earth
It wasn’t even the nose or the elbow
Or the hips getting bigger
or the ankle
or the air.
The plate broke, the lamp fell
All the flower pots tumbled over
one by one. That pot
which overflowed with scarlet
in the middle of October,
it got tired from all the violets
and another empty one
rolled round and round and round
all through winter
until it was only the powder
of a flowerpot,
a broken memory, shining dust.

And that clock
whose sound
the voice of our lives,
the secret
thread of our weeks,
which released
one by one, so many hours
for honey and silence
for so many births and jobs,
that clock also
and its delicate blue guts
among the broken glass
its wide heart

Life goes on grinding up
glass, wearing out clothes
making fragments
breaking down
and what lasts through time
is like an island on a ship in the sea,
surrounded by dangerous fragility
by merciless waters and threats.

Let’s put all our treasures together
— the clocks, plates, cups cracked by the cold —
into a sack and carry them
to the sea
and let our possessions sink
into one alarming breaker
that sounds like a river.
May whatever breaks
be reconstructed by the sea
with the long labor of its tides.
So many useless things
which nobody broke
but which got broken anyway


What do journals mean to you? There might be a second part to this post on my part, but that’s it for tonight.



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