Note to Self Mini-Challenge

Updated title of this post on 3/14/14 due to multitude of spam comments. Let’s see if taking ‘j-o-i-n-t’ will fix…

Awhile ago, Nymeth of Things Mean a Lot announced a mini-challenge to the ongoing Dewey Challenge:   read something ‘new’ and pair up with another blogger to make it happen.   I eagerly signed up and immediately after, Jessica of The Bluestocking Society signed on thus making us partners for this exercise. We compared our wishlists at and came up with Note to Self by Samara O’Shea.

Dewey’s Books Challenge Website
Nymeth’s Mini-Challenge for March
My First Post on Note To Self
My Review of Note To Self
Jessica’s Review of Note To Self
Jessica’s Interview of Care About Note To Self
HarperCollin’s Official Webpage for Note To Self
Samara O’Shea’s Blog

We decided to interview each other:   her answers to my questions are here and you can go read my answers to her questions over there (which you can get to by clicking here.)     Ready?   Let’s go –  Here’s the oh-so-notable JESSICA!

1.   Do you keep a journal?

Yes.  Yes I do.  I haven’t been very consistent for the last few years, but I’ve always been a journal writer.

2.  What kind – style of actual book, pretty?  moleskine, 3 ring binder?

I tend to go through phases.  Right now I have a large, red blank sketch book for a journal.  It is super thick.  In college I started doodling in my journal and writing sideways and gluing things in – thus the sketch book.  I’m kind of annoyed with the format now and have been considering going to a lined variety with a spiral binding.

3.  What kind – style of writing:   just lists of what happened in a day, random thoughts, poetry, gratitude?

I tend to be a day-in-the-life type of journal writer, but, after reading Note to Self, I’ve been giving myself permission to just write what I feel.  Still, I try to capture important and even mundane events in my life.  I have a record of everyday during the time I was dating my husband.  That day-by-day log is priceless to me now.

Interestingly, I just pulled out all of my journals and noticed that I have my “journals” that go in chronological order and largely recount the events of my life.  Then, I have several smaller “notebooks” that I keep with me for jotting down random things.  These notebooks tend to be a bit more reflective than my journals.

4.  How long have you kept a journal?    Have you kept them all?    Do you ever re-read them?

The first journal I have/remember is one that I started when I was about 10.  The first entry is dated February 22, 1993 and includes the following: “Today I went to school and had an okay day.  Then when I got home I did my homework.  Which was to read chapters 3 & 4 of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.  After I finished my homework I colored for a while and then I watched T.V.  Then I got in a fight with my mom.”  Ah, a day in the life of a ten-year-old.

I’ve had a journal in process ever since.  I have kept them all, and I do reread them occasionally.  My middle school/junior high journals are particularly humiliating to read.  But, after reading Note to Self, I like that I can just think of the 13-year-old me as a prior self and learn from that perspective.

5.   Would the reason you started a journal (as a kid) agree with the adult who journals now?   I’m not sure I know how to ask this…    Let me try again.    If you did start a journal as a kid, would the reason that kid started the journal enjoy the results of it now that you’re not that kid anymore?   aaaghhh.  Help.

I think I get what you are asking.  I’m not exactly sure why I started a journal.  I do know that it was partly because my religion emphasizes recordkeeping.  I also just needed a place to get out all of the pre-teen and teen angst.  My journal still fills similar roles in my life.  I want to have a record of my life.  I want to be able to go back and remember things that would otherwise be forgotten.  I also enjoy having a place to vent and pontification and just be.  So, I think that my journal writing has essentially remained the same – though the content is a little more mature.

6.  Would you care to share a passage from an old journal?     Have you heard of the performance art movement where people read their high school entries out loud at an open mike night?    I need to research more but I do know where to look.    I personally wouldn’t do it!

Arg.  I don’t think I could read out loud from some of my journal entries.  It’s too personal.  Print is better.  Here’s a bookish tidbit dated March 29, 2004: “Then we went to Sam Weller’s – the best bookstore ever.  They have zillions of used books.  Grandma and I spent about three hours there.  We had a great time talking about books and exploring the shelves and shelves of books.  I purchased Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson; The Witches of Eastwick, by John Updike; and The Portrait of a Lady, by Henry James.  Grandma found a ton of books – one of which she bought for me.  She bought me Mutant Message Down Under.”

7.  Can you think of an instance where journaling helped you specifically?    (I make pro-con lists for big decisions.)

You know, I can’t think of a time where journaling helped me specifically prior to making a decision.  However, it does help me to go back and read and either cringe from my poor decisions or exult in my good decisions.  I think I learn something retroactively.

8.  Am I asking too many questions?   This might be a huge post!

Not at all!  I love being interviewed.  It makes me feel so notable.

9.   What are the 2 best questions of this list and do you have any more to add for me to consider?

Well, now.  All of the questions are good.  I couldn’t pick just two.  I really couldn’t.  As for another question for your consideration, though, I would like to share my journaling goals.  My favorite thing that O’Shea discussed in Note to Self was the principle of being completely honest in your journal.  I have a hard time with this.  I have a hard time exposing myself like that on paper.  It may stem from the fact that I am a lawyer and tend to use thing people write down against them.  Still, I think that it is important to be honest with myself and to allow myself a space where that happens. That kind of honesty (and a really good hiding place) is the goal for my future journaling endeavors.

10.   What did you hope to gain not only from reading this O’Shea book but from joining this mini-challenge and was it worth it?

I hoped to learn a little something new about journaling from O’Shea.  I really opted into this mini-challenge primarily as an opportunity to collaborate with another blogger.  I loved getting to know you, Care, better.  I definitely think it was worth it!

jtbsjournals Jessica’s current collection of journals

Thanks Jessica!    I love that as a 10 year old you were reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – a favorite of mine.   AND that you found it noteworthy to mention that you did some coloring that day.    Very good, very good.      The fight with Mom, however…   I wonder what it was about!    and that book list is a good one – I’ve only read the Henry James book;  I will make sure the others are on my tbr.    What did you think of the Mutant book?    I like that it was Grandma who bought it for you?       Your goal sounds like a good one, too.   I don’t think I have a goal – other than to keep at it, attempt to write with legible handwriting and continue to be positive, with emphasis on gratitude journalling.

One more item I want to comment on:   I like your idea to ‘just be’ in your answer to #5.     How energizing it might be if instead of or in addition to our ‘TO DO’ lists, we kept in mind our ‘TO BE” lists!     Today, I intend to be positive, energetic, alert, caring, considerate and respectful.    I like it.   🙂

8 thoughts on “Note to Self Mini-Challenge

  1. Care, thanks again for partnering with me for this mini-challenge. I had a great time and loved getting to know you better through your journaling.

    That little book adventure with my grandma brings back a lot of good memories and has prompted me to go and pull out Mutant Message Down Under, which I sadly haven’t read it. See, my TBR pile was out of control long before I started blogging!

    As for the ten-year-old journal entry. I think everyone should spend a little time coloring everyday! And, from the context of the other entries, the fight with my mom appears to be about the dessert we were having that evening. Huh.

    I’m inspired by your journals and by your “to be” goals. I’d love to collaborate with you in the future!

    I read a great post on ‘to be’ goals just the other day:
    I love the philosophy. (I also like to tell my hub “it takes me all day just to be me! why do I have to ‘do’, too?!”)

  2. I loved Jessica’s answer to question number 5 too. I loved the whole interview, really – you both sound so friendly and relaxed 😀

    I have the Mr Linky up here, btw. I’ve now edited that into the original post, but should have done it sooner. Sorry!

    no problem – I think we’re all linked up now. and thanks for such a great mini-challenge.

  3. This was such an interesting post. I had a journal or a diary once. But when I realized somehad had read it, I cut it into pieces and threw it away.

    Jessica does have an amazing collection…

    Glad you found it interesting! Did you see my collection over at Jessica’s? Notice the PURPLE theme!? and lots of pinks, too. But mostly purple. I have one old journal that is the shape of a lobster but since I still can’t find the darn things, I can’t show it.

  4. Love this! What a great way to read a book together. Ok, off to read Jessica’s interview of you 🙂

    Oh, I’m glad it is as fun to read as it was to write this interview post.

  5. This was a great post and interview. Fun to read… and I love the glimpse into the 10-year-old’s journal. I have some journals from my younger days (and older days) that are just hilarious to read … so overly dramatic. And then the stuff from college is just painful and embarrassing to read … and also really pretentious. What was I thinking!!!???

    Also, Care, I wanted to let you know that you won my giveaway for the Sparks book! Just e-mail me your address and I’ll send it to you! Congrats.

  6. What a great idea! And I loved reading the interview with Jessica. I have an off/on relationship with journaling myself (it’s been off for a while) but you’ve inspired me to take it up again. And to read Note to Self…

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