Sunday, 21 August 2011

Journal writing

I have signed up for a new course at BigPictureClasses (well, it actually started 2 weeks ago, but as usual, I'm behind...), a different course this time than the courses I've been taking in the last few months - courses on photography, mixed media art, scrapbooking (which I discovered that it isn't really my thing but which led me to mixed media, which allows me to put all those wonderful patterned papers and stamps into good use), photo post processing, generally getting creative etc. This course now is about writing. Journal writing, to be precise. I'm not a great journal writer, never have been. I haven't got piles of pink journals filled with my teenage thoughts, fears, crushes etc. I have a handful of travel journals and another handful of half empty journals, documenting my attempts of getting into to habit of exploring my life, analysing my inner self and creating memories for the future me through journaling. I'm probably just a rubbish interpreter of my inner self. I simply never got anywhere with journaling. But I've been quite envious of those who are great at pouring their hearts into their journals, having all those wonderful pages filled with memories to go back to.

I always enjoyed writing though. I used to be top of class in essay writing all through my school years. At the end of university, however, my confidence was crushed forever by the words of my professor, when discussing my master thesis with me: "Well, Ms B., writing just isn't your strenght". Unfortunately, these words are all that stuck, every praise and positive remark I've ever received during all of my many school years, and even after my masters degree (he accepted it, at least) where wiped out by those few words. Even when doing something personal as writing into a journal, I'd find myself sitting there facing the empty page, saying to myself, 'who are you kidding? don't you know? you just simply can't write!'.

But now, after all those years, I finally want to forget, or at least ignore, those words, and start to write again. However, there remains the initial problem, that I'm just not good at creating memories by filling endless pages in a journal. I just never go back and read them.

Last year, during a workshop, we did a test to find out what kind of learning type each of us was - visual, haptic, auditive, textbased. I expected that I learnt best by reading (considering I'm a bookworm, librarian, having studied lingustics and literature). As it turned out, I'm not. I'm the visual type (closely followed by text though), which, when thinking about it, actually makes a lot of sense.

Art journaling, something I've only just recently discovered, therefore seemed to be the perfect solution. A visual memory, with just some few significant (what a great word!) to complement them, making it the perfect memory for me to remember. But oh, how often did I find myself sitting there, nib pen ready in hand, struggling to find the right words to jot down, getting up to make a cup of tea, coming back, head still empty of the right words, afraid of ruining my page by getting too many or too few words, phrases, lines, on the page, messing up the whole balance of my work. And ending up with just the 'art' bit, missing it's 'journaling'.

And that's where the writing class comes in. I haven't actually quite gotten round to doing the writing exercises, to be honest, but I definitely intend to do them. After all, there's no hurry. All in it's own time. I have been reading through all the pages of the handouts and prompts and assignments, though. And I realised something. Nothing great, just a little thing. But more often than not, it's those little realisations, which probably, are quite obvious to everyone else, but which have been bothering us, annoying us, frustrating us, until, at last, the solution strikes us quite unexpectedly, and everything becomes clear. And that's exactly what happened.

The thing is: I don't have to write the journaling part down right t here and then, nib pen in hand, expecting the perfect words to just flow out from my brain right into my hand in the perfect journaling, all effortlessly, and easy. Instead, I can write it all up on my computer, play around with it, rearrange it, shape it, until it looks right, print it out, and then, nib pen and ink bottle ready, just copy it on to my journal page. 'Well, yes, why, of course, isn't it obvious??' You might be thinking right now, when reading it. It is actually is rather obvious. So why, I ask you, or rather myself, haven't I thought of it before??? It would have made my journaling life much easier these last few weeks. But at least, from now on, it will. At least I seriously hope so!

And although I'm not the auditive type, a little background music can be very inspiring, calming, encouraging, when writing or painting, so here's what I like to listen to when I'm creating (or reading in the train in the mornings), one of my absolute favourites, Vivaldi's Concerto in B minor RV 580 from the L'Estro Armonico collection (I love violins, and I love the minor keys). It's not the best quality, but I liked this version, and the b&w just fits perfectly. (Click here for another, newer version).

1 comment:

  1. That's a tough challenge you've chosen, especially considering the stupid remarks of that professor. What kind of ignorant teacher says anything so critical about something so subjective? Styles of writing should be as varied as regional accents, or even entire languages. Some styles may not conform to traditional "rules" but they might be better at communicating thoughts, ideas and emotions. How do you measure how good you are at writing? Sorry, "how does one measure how good one is at writing?"

    For me, the most difficult and most frustrating part of writing is speed. It takes a millisecond to compose a sentence in my head, but by the time I get to write the third word I have recomposed the sentence maybe 5 times, forgotten one really good word, questioned my correct use of an apostrophe, and then lost the point of what I was trying to say.

    I did a course once about self-confidence and part of it was creative writing. You just had to write what you were thinking (e.g. "can't think write word fail strong blue bike hamster") but you must never stop writing - no pause, no thought, no break - just words as soon as they came into your head.

    It was fascinating and a great release to not be constricted by rules.

    Your idea of doing it all on the computer is not as obvious as you think. Use whatever you can to achieve your result.

    And don't forget that it doesn't matter. If you're good at it, great! Be proud of it. Do more. If you're not so good, just stop.

    (Fabulous photos again! Your blogs are always so well illustrated, creating art out of the unexpected or mundane.)

    PS. Have you changed your banner again? There seems to be even more pink than usual ;o)