What I’m happy about: Daylight savings time coming this weekend. If daylight savings time is here, spring can’t be far, right? Can’t come soon enough around here. We’ve had rainy day after rainy day after rainy day. And that’s after so man snow and ice storms I can’t even count them. Even I, the original rain lover, am ready for some sunshine.
What I’m happy about #2: My upcoming writing retreat to Astoria, an historic coastal Oregon town. I mentioned it briefly last week, too, because I’m excited! There’s just something so energizing to getting away with the express purpose to write. I love it. And I’m hoping to eat some luscious oysters from Netarts Bay here.
What I’m reading:Commonwealth, which finally came in at the library. This novel by Ann Patchett has gotten mixed reviews but so far I like it. Though she writes in a very, for lack of a better word, deep style. She utilizes an incredibly close-in viewpoint, in which you are in the characters’ heads moment by moment, seeing the scene unfold step by step. It is intense, and fascinating, but I also feel like I have to read every word to follow it all. Lots of characters in this one, too, which requires much flipping back to figure out who’s who.
I’m also planning to take the first Clover Tate mystery, written by my friend Angie, to the beach next week. Because, A. it is set at the beach, and B. I may need some lighter reading.
What I’m writing: Backstory scenes for the romance novel I’m about to rewrite. I didn’t quite understand some of the aspects of my two main characters and this is helping me enormously.
What I’m happy about #3: My office! It is clean and organized, full of all my little things that I look at from my desk. They make me happy. After years months of the space being in upheaval, I’m delighted it is organized at last.
This is going to be a short post today (I know what you're thinking–ha! when has she ever managed to write a short post?) because, ta-da, my office furniture is assembled (thanks to my long-suffering husband) and I want to spend time moving myself back in.
This is actually the very first post I've written from my new desk. Amazingly, I can sit comfortably at it with my computer on the desk, instead of in my lap, as has been the case for the last few years. I can already feel my shoulder problems easing.
I promise to post photos when it is all in order, but the picture to the right is a bit of a teaser, an image of one of the wall cabinets. For those of you who are familiar with Ikea products, it is the "Effektiv" line of office storage and it is quite handsome as well as efficient.
But all of that is actually a warm up to the real topic of this post, which is something I'm calling the carry-along book.
But lately I've been doing things a bit differently.
My journaling has taken the form of Active Imagination, which to me, requires a bigger canvas on which to throw words, so I've been using large sketchbooks from my new favorite place, Columbia Art and Drafting.
(In case you don't know about Active Imagination, I wrote about it in the most recent issue of my newsletter. It's a technique devised by Carl Jung, and it involves accessing a "trusted source" which can be your intuition, your higher self, God, the goddess, whatever in writing. Just choose a source and then do an actual dialogue on the page, using the names.)
But the larger sketchbook is hard to take with me. Yet I need a place to scrawl notes, to write down things of interest, to note observations. One of the practices in my-soon-to-be-renamed Writing Abundance system is cultivating, which is basically the habit of observing, listening, and gathering. Taking stuff in so you can spit it back out on the page. Usually this stuff goes right along with regular journal entries, but that won't work at the moment. So I needed a carry-along journal.
Which I didn't even know until I started using one.
When I was in Nashville I found myself drawn to a journal on a rack at a coffee shop in the 12th Avenue South neighborhood. (Somebody help me out here, I've forgotten the name of the place.)
As you can see from the lovely accompanying photos, the journal is awesome. It is small in size, 6 by 8 ish (my ruler is still packed). As a matter of fact, I hesitated to buy it because of its size, thinking that it was too little to journal in. But I was so compelled to buy it, I did…and then I started the Active Imagination and the rest is history.
One of the great things about it is the way it is bound, with the edges threaded and two separate covers bound together, allowing it to lie flat. So now I'm in love with a new style of journal (this one was handmade but I found others in this style are available commercially).
But all of this points out something crucial about writing: it is a living, breathing practice. And sometimes that practice changes as we change. I reserve the write to go back to my beloved Moleskines, and I probably will at some point.
Meanwhile, if anybody knows how to make this kind of journal, I'd love being pointed to a link.
So, what kind of journal do you write in? Do you mash everything together in one, or use a carry-along journal and another for lengthier entries? Or perhaps you have numerous journals?
***By the way, when I grow up I want to be Ann Patchett. Read her great essay about the Nashville floods here.
****I almost forgot, the maker of this journal is Holly Frees, of Hope Sewn Journals.