Thursday, September 7, 2017

On Journal Keeping And Documenting A Life

Journaling has been a part of my life since the Christmas I was 11 and received a 5 year diary with lock and key. There are a few dozen entries in the diary, and then no evidence of any other writing until age 22, when a few months' worth of entries in a spiral notebook documented a time of change in my life: wondering what the future would hold, and feeling unhappiness with the relationship I was in. Writing about all of that helped to work out the problems.

My journals, including two that I hand made. Currently working in the green book, center of bottom row.
A few years later there are several pages from the early, happy years of our marriage, when life was full of fun and being too busy to write. Then, when the babies came along, I began to write again, keeping track of their growth and progress, writing down funny things they did and said. So glad I did, because now each of them have a story of their childhood filled with things I'd never have remembered otherwise after all these years. Dad also wrote on their first-year baby calendars, so they have the things that he thought were important to write down, too.

For each year from 1994 to 2016, I kept a separate daybook for our family, with appointments as well as a short overview of each day, with our activities, visitors, what kind of home and school projects we were working on, weather ... basically a day-to-day record of family history. It's fascinating to read them now (all 22 volumes!) and see how much we accomplished.  Don't know where we got the energy for it!

Foil embossed journals.

The first volume of my personal journaling began on April 11, 2005. Again, it was a period where I had things to work out, so turning to a blank book was a way of dealing with the worries. But to my delight, it also became a place to write down the happy things, the amazing things of the natural world that I saw out the windows as I worked from home, views and opinions, just anything really. It was so freeing to be able to write about whatever I wanted to without worrying about justifying myself to anyone, or whether my words would be misunderstood, or boring someone. It became addictive. And so, after that first short entry, I'm now beginning the 12th volume.

Two journals that I hand made, with pages of wallpaper liner, cloth covers, and Coptic stitch binding.

As if writing wasn't enough, I also made some journals. The first one was in 2004, the brown book in the last photo, then the blue linen one with a tree, and most recently the chartreuse silk book. They're all made from wallpaper liner, which is thick and has a somewhat rough surface for writing on, which I love, and covers made of book board covered with fabric from old clothing, stitched together with a Coptic binding. They're enjoyable to make, and even more fun to write in.

Two handmade journals.

Handmade travel journal.
Being old fashioned doesn't really preclude the use of all technology, so in addition to keeping handwritten journals, having an online outlet for writing seems like an interesting experiment. It wasn't really on my bucket list, but it's an adventure nonetheless!


  1. Wow so inspiring! Just love all the green colors ☺️

  2. Thank you so much. Having a pretty book makes writing even more enjoyable. :-)