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February 18, 2009


soeurs du jour

i began to journal when i started this road to forgetfulness. i would think that i should write this down, i'll never remember. now it is a habit, a good one. and i love a moleskin. and i only write with pencil. randomly in the book, as you do, any page will do. have a great day.


I love the thingness of a journal, the paper, notes, scribbles, inserts, drawings... I wish I still had some of mine from years past. Who doesn't enjoy excavating those strata of an erstwhile self.

I don't alas, keep one any more. My little take-along camera takes audio notes, though. And yes, poetry is all about words, not meanings. Many a great poem has begun with the seed of a word or two.


I only journal faithfully when I am traveling. Which is sadly something I have not done really for a long time. Not like I used to, alone and on the road with no timetable and adventure and discovery unfurling ahead of me. It is wonderful to read those notebooks and marvel at the things I've done. Sometimes it is like reading about someone else because I cannot remember the event!
I have notebooks around the house that I jot ideas in, random notes and scribble grocery lists, they are fun to browse through. Yes a book of your own is fun:)


wildly chaotic ~ we share this trait in journal writing and mine are much the same only i sometimes even forget to date them ... and i somehow managed to retain my childhood journals though most of them are poetry because of fear of others reading :) xo


My youthful journals were never kept. Probably for much the same reasons as yours. To my knowledge your grandmother or my sisters would never have snooped, but it was so personal I think perhaps I was afraid to reveal that part of myself to others. Looking back at the recorded events in my mind, they are not terribly important now, but from the perspective of youth they were.
Now I only journal vacations and trips, and they have been invaluable to my now unreliable memory..!

liz elayne

i would love to read journals like these...especially if they were anonymous. there is something so beautiful in knowing we are not alone in the way we are drawn to words and images and things that just make us happy.
i open my idea journal to any page as well. but i love the permission reading your post has given me to think about doing that in other journals. yes. yes. this makes me very happy. (thank you)

Tara Bradford

Something weird still is going on w/ Typepad comments. I left a comment, then when I entered the "captcha" letters, it kicked me out of Typepad entirely and I had to sign in again. Sigh.

This is a beautiful, enchanting post. I don't journal nearly often enough, because in my past, people have read them (uninvited) and misinterpreted them. I suppose it's a matter of trusting that no one else will read them and misinterpret them, but somehow I don't feel that these days. I do jot down notes to myself and ideas for writing or photos all the time, wherever I am. Probably I also find keeping a journal difficult because I write for a living - and it seems like one more thing to write. I hope one day to be better about journaling. In the meantime, I suppose I sometimes disguise thoughts that would be journalled within poetry. xoxox


oeee....dog ears...notes...colors....little pieces of paper...scribbles....smiley faces....NB! on the side...the moments of truth...

writing, dotting down, your hand sliding over the page...true beauty...phrases...words...poems...songs...plays...
dreams within every page.

your life. xx


So inspiring to read about your journaling process... I must say that I love buying journals but never have ever finished one entirely! Thank you for sharing your magic with us ;)

soeurs du jour

I am anti-dog ear and anti-margin note, but I do love my journals. Margie has supplied me with some gorgeous ones!



I love reading how your keep your journals, of all your thoughts, and day dreaming...

Do you have trouble sometimes finding things though? I have various written journals, everything from books to movies, to quotes and favorite wines....entered randomly...but I have a hard time finding tidbits when I want to bring them back up...

just wondering..


I had a difficult childhood so those are burned but my life, thankfully, has changed for the better as an adult. So I think of these as a window into my soul which one day my children might be interested in taking a peek at. I also draw in them, so I always get the ones who are not lined.


Can you share the looks of your journals? The covers? You must have some beauties!

Gillian daSilva

Most definitely! That is a post unto itself. How about a "Journal Expose"?
We can all do it.



What a neat post! So, you're a woolgatherer, too, eh? (I like that word for daydreaming...woolgathering!) I, too, have a red wallet, and I believe--utterly without basis--that shea butter is obviously named for ME, they just don't know how to spell Shay!

Dream on, Gillian. :-)

devil mood

I'm much more strict about my notebooks - meaning I'll start in the 1st page and complete them all. Wish I was more like you, because I have a ton of notebooks waiting for my attention. I have two big drawers full of them - I have a notebook disease, I just crave them and people give them to me. Ah, what can I do?

My Mother wrote a journal of her pregnancy and my baby years and it is truly a wonderful thing to receive. Absolutely priceless.

Gillian daSilva

yes! then I end up looking through most of them to find what I need.
But! I do have one that is specifically for dreams, that is ordered from front to back.


Hello, I just found your blog and I wanted to say your writing is just lovely.

I just had to tell you that these sentences,
...'I now do not care who read my writing. My feelings on this changed once I came to the realization that anyone's judgments about me are really about them. It was this realization - that set me free. I journal. Therefore I Am.' really stopped me in my tracks!

I had never thought of it that way before...it was an epiphany! So I just wanted to THANK YOU millions, for enabling me too. Now I am set free too!!
Big hugs from England..

Lisa P

You are such an amazing writer...inspiring and eloquent.

I too, dog ear pages and write in the margins. Always have, always will. Marc hates it...feels it 'ruins' the books. I say what is a book if it isn't well read and loved by the reader?

I would love to read your journals. They would be as beautiful as the author.


Oh! A kindred spirit.

Journals, journals. For me, there is really no joy quite like a journal. Quiet moments piled up in bed with a stack of books, a handful of pens, and my journal. I also scribble on them in lines, in cafes, at museums (this is a great way to get a newly sharpened pencil. Even while driving. Mine are chronological, but wildly random in content and color. I write on the page every which way as well.

Your post made me think of a poem. This is for you:


Sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.
If I could just get my hands on you,
Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O'Brien,
they seem to say,
I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.

Other comments are more offhand, dismissive -
"Nonsense." "Please!" "HA!!" -
that kind of thing.
I remember once looking up from my reading,
my thumb as a bookmark,
trying to imagine what the person must look like
why wrote "Don't be a ninny"
alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson.

Students are more modest
needing to leave only their splayed footprints
along the shore of the page.
One scrawls "Metaphor" next to a stanza of Eliot's.
Another notes the presence of "Irony"
fifty times outside the paragraphs of A Modest Proposal.

Or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers,
Hands cupped around their mouths.
"Absolutely," they shout
to Duns Scotus and James Baldwin.
"Yes." "Bull's-eye." "My man!"
Check marks, asterisks, and exclamation points
rain down along the sidelines.

And if you have managed to graduate from college
without ever having written "Man vs. Nature"
in a margin, perhaps now
is the time to take one step forward.

We have all seized the white perimeter as our own
and reached for a pen if only to show
we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages;
we pressed a thought into the wayside,
planted an impression along the verge.

Even Irish monks in their cold scriptoria
jotted along the borders of the Gospels
brief asides about the pains of copying,
a bird signing near their window,
or the sunlight that illuminated their page-
anonymous men catching a ride into the future
on a vessel more lasting than themselves.

And you have not read Joshua Reynolds,
they say, until you have read him
enwreathed with Blake's furious scribbling.

Yet the one I think of most often,
the one that dangles from me like a locket,
was written in the copy of Catcher in the Rye
I borrowed from the local library
one slow, hot summer.
I was just beginning high school then,
reading books on a davenport in my parents' living room,
and I cannot tell you
how vastly my loneliness was deepened,
how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed,
when I found on one page

A few greasy looking smears
and next to them, written in soft pencil-
by a beautiful girl, I could tell,
whom I would never meet-
"Pardon the egg salad stains, but I'm in love."

Billy Collins

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