Blank page….many thoughts: Journal Writing
For many people, seeing a blank sheet of paper can be overwhelming. For others the blank sheet is a gift, a welcome sight. The pages of the journal can be the way to sort out something that requires more than just thinking about it. Sometimes the process of writing the thought down can help expand the idea and help to come to a solution. I guess like a math problem. Though math and I have never seen eye to eye. But words for me are the tools to help make sense of something. Big or small. Journaling is a valuable process and can be yours alone to know about and engage in.
My journal days began the summer before I entered college. My wonderful second “mom” in my childhood neighborhood handed me a blank journal …brown with gold etching swirls on the cover. She thought I’d like to have it for college. I’ll say she was right. That journal and the dozens and dozens after were always there for me. I’d find quiet places and spaces to reflect and chronicle everything and anything. Not necessarily a daily reporting…but every few days at least. Sometimes I’ll pull a journal out and start reading. Fascinating to read your own words 20, 30 years later..really is! I know the voice was still mine, the handwriting was mine. But, I’ll repeat a favorite phrase : “With age comes wisdom….” Some of the passages are funny. Sometimes painstaking at how a particular situation or person took such a toll on me. But that’s part of the journey. To look back and see clearly that you managed the rough seas and now may have a different approach to the same issue or person. That’s the wisdom part! We can carry wisdom in our pockets at all times. But we must remember everyone’s personal journey is what generates their own pocketful of wisdom…
In TEAPOTS the use of journaling as a way of healing is a prominent piece of the story. Sophia is tasked with capturing her grandmother’s memories of the little things in the journal she left for her. The task seems daunting at first. But it is through the process of remembering and writing where Sophia begins to find her peace and understanding.
Old Fashioned Letter Writing
“Would you like to pack a book of stamps in your college things?” I asked my soon to be freshman son. “What for, I don’t think I’ll be sending any letters!” With a sinking feeling I knew he was probably right. What I didn’t say was how badly I felt for him that he’d never know the ART of letter writing and the joy of sending and receiving to a special person or relative or friend. Of waiting by the mailbox. Of hoping to stick your hand in that little space to pull out a treasure. Teenagers simply have no frame of reference for the letter as it once was. Not meaning to sound old, archaic, ancient. I’m not! But my college years were much about the mailroom and letter writing and waiting to receive after posting a letter to someone, somewhere. My son was certain that even thank you notes, which he still hand-writes as does his sister, will all be written by text or email. I told him when he’s the older family member waiting at the other end of the mailbox for a thank you for a gift he sent …will that be OK. For now great aunt and grandparents, etc. still enjoy a handwritten note in the mailbox. A strong theme in TEAPOTS is the use of journal writing and letter writing to reflect upon and to help make sense of the world.
I just received a phone call from a favorite aunt a state away who thanked me for the letter I sent her last week. I learned earlier last week that she just got a new iPhone but that she was struggling with using the texting option. I made it easier for her and pleasant for me by writing her a letter which she shared she greatly appreciated! So….a letter and a phone call exchange in the course of a few days time. Thinking of you. How are you! Hope all well. People like to be remembered. Older people especially. The letter does not have to be fancy. And it does not have to be long. Sending a letter with thought is a gift you give to someone…it’s the gift of time you give most of all..that the recipient is in your thoughts …and that you wanted to let him/her know.
Daily writing check in….
A few weeks back I reflected on how easy it is in summer to write every day. Sitting under trees or on park benches. But guess what, for most of us unless we are out of our zip code and on vacation relaxing, there probably isn’t time or even more so, an allowance that we give ourselves, to just stop and listen and do nothing. DOING NOTHING is where the best ideas begin to germinate. I’ve shared with so many students rushing here and there to just STOP. Ideas need a place to land. A place to be fostered. Ideas don’t do well in a rush. How, when and where I wrote TEAPOTS was all very different from how I ever pictured the timing and process….be open to having the idea take hold and be open to going with it! And remember even writing a letter, a note, postcard, a to-do list has you writing….but maybe try for a new thought in a new paragraph and see where it takes you!!
Summer can be a time to write and reflect just as much as winter. Sitting under trees or on park benches or by the ocean. Write, write, write. But…the problem is many of us are too busy capturing the scene visually and posting to share with the virtual Universe that there is no time for taking in the scene via words.
Try leaving the iPhone or other photography device home or in the car for at least an hour. Sit quietly. You, a pen and blank page or blank book or old notebook. The clean page can be daunting. What should I write about? What story or snippet do I have to share or reflect on? There are never-ending ideas to write about. Start small and let the idea snowball….little by little. Try this exercise in solitude and reflection. See where it takes you….
June 12, 2014
Writing something every day!
1. Writing something everyday helps to sort and organize the day’s to-do list; helps to clear a crowded head filled with too many to-dos and helps to put some sense of order to chaos, for me at least. Always has.
2. Sure…we text and tweet and email…but we do not actually WRITE very much anymore…with a pen and a fresh sheet of paper. This type of writing is evaporating. Personal, handwritten notes….nearly extinct. For Downton Abbey fans..think of all of the many references to and mentions of letter writing, posting and receiving…”The afternoon post has arrived, my lady….” Who even says that anymore…? Hard to get excited about the afternoon post when the box is filled with bills and junk. Rarely…a personal note. Find a pen pal. Write a handwritten note or letter if you’re able!
3. Consider a journal entry to end the day..to capture the day in thought. To look forward to the next day….
Stay tuned for more on the ideas for writing every day!!