I am excited* to share with you my thoughts on journalling. I love to journal and I wrote my introduction to this month’s reading of the wonderful book here at the beginning of March. I write to you now in mid-late-March and will write another joint post later when Jessica of The Bluestocking Society and I interview (or something – not really yet decided!) each other on the topic of keeping a journal and what we got out of reading this work by Samara O’Shea. This is because we paired up over at Nymeth’s when she presented a mini-challenge for the Dewey Challenge. I also am listing this read as one of my Read-a-Book-by-a-Woman-Author per Lu at Regular Rumination‘s idea to celebrate Women’s History this month.
Isn’t this book precious? I bought it from bookgirl’s store! Her blog is here and you can find a link to her etsy shop in the right side bar. I wanted a pretty place to keep all my bloggable thoughts as I read through Note To Self…
Review by Samara o’Shea, 2008, 168 pages
Ms.O’Shea presents a book that is much beyond how to journal, but rather WHY to journal. She is not arguing or trying to convince you to do such but she effectively gives examples of simple ways to ease into such a habit if you so desire. She inspires the reader by giving terrific examples of famous, admirable or fascinating personalities who have left us journals to study. This is a fun book.
I loved it. I love the quotes she begins each chapter with, I love her honesty – she shares amazing excerpts from her own journals (so brave!), I love her ideas and her enthusiasm and the feeling I got that she was talking directly to me; maybe not one of her best friends but perhaps a younger cousin (disregard that I’m probably 15 years older than she is…)
I agreed with many of her suggestions and believe that my style of journalling mirrors hers or follows much of her own personal philosophy of why journalling is ‘cool’. I do it for self-expression. I do it because I truly believe that my thought processes can be enhanced; that these thoughts improve with airing out – let them breathe beyond the confines of my own skull. Transform those energy blips or synapses of thought into coherent (and not so coherent) sentences strung together somehow somewhere between the brain, as they travel down the arm, flowing into the pen controlled by fingers, scribbles onto paper; ink on paper. My eyes read it back and either agree – - or decide to cross it out. or just put it away for later.
I admit it that the advice to be honest with ourselves as we write can be extremely difficult. I can read words I wrote 5 or 10 years ago and am instantly transported to when I wrote them, knowing that I held back. and that’s OK. (some of those high school journal entries are also telling in their lack of truth! and details, darn it.)
I originally challenged Ms O’Shea’s statement that a life-altering journalling experience is difficult. I must admit that she is likely correct. I don’t have any great insight from reading something I wrote 10 years ago. I’m not sure I can see growth or enlightenment. I haven’t found my purpose and embarked on any new career as she has amazingly done – kudos! But I won’t quit. I need the exercise, the process, the dialogue of my self today talking to myself 10 minutes or ten years later. Not that I think that nor do I make it habit to read my journals from the past.** I just need to get it out – release the toxic thoughts and remember the beautiful ones.
I loved this book, can you tell?
I did take more than the usual amount of notes. I have decided that it is NOT in your best interest to share these. I will, however, refer back to the questions I asked before I began reading this book:
So, will I learn anything by reading this book? Oh yes, I’m sure I will. And, will I argue or agree at the conclusion that not all journal-writing is life-altering and soul enlightening? Is the question one of purpose? or results versus process?
My answers are: Yes – I learned something. I will agree that not all journal-writing is life-altering but I don’t know if it’s all that important. I have decided that the question is most definitely – for me – a question of PROCESS.
Express – don’t repress.
* Not true. or debatable. I STRUGGLED with this review. I edited and edited and chopped and wanted to include more and question what I left in and finally gave up and just hit POST. I started this post a week ago and am impatient to post! ugh. Getting any idea how nuts my journals are? ha.
** I do refer back to my journals for “when-did-that-happen” dates and years. I can never remember when my first date with my husband was. I think it is a bad-habit that I don’t ever remember this because those entries are HILARIOUS and it’s fun to re-read them… I am so very glad I wrote that all down. Those were exciting times… (FYI – over 20 years ago already. How did THAT happen? crazy!!!!)