I’ve kept journals, or should I say “scrapbooks” for decades now (yikes-time flies). They’re not really a journal in the traditional sense, but more of a visual diary of my life. I've always been obsessed with assorted bits of ephemera and magazines (I work at them and buy them). I admit I can be somewhat of a pack rat too. As I’ve mentioned before, I was always a gypsy and moved around many times in my life.
One day I started gluing everything that I liked into my sketchbook, and I’ve never looked back. When I would move—all I had to worry about was my journals, instead of stacks of magazines and boxes of ephemera.
I know many people enjoy keeping similar cut & paste journals. I find the actual act of clipping, gluing and collaging to be very therapeutic and relaxing. I try do constantly maintain my journals, but sometimes I get behind on keeping up with my “paperwork.” In fact, right now I’m behind a few months, but I’ll eventually take a weekend and plow through my “stuff” and get caught up. Over the years I’ve even had some intimate friends become frustrated, and almost jealous, at the time I spent maintaining my journals.
My journals have been like a close friend to me over the years. I turn to them when I want to escape, to be cheered up, or if I need a bit of inspiration. I can tell what year I created a journal just my thumbing through the pages. It always takes me right back to where I was at that moment in my life—much like a written diary for some folks.
I’ve purchased the same size hard-covered 10.5” x 13.5” Canson hard cover sketch books year after year. I've had some red covers & white covers, but most are black covered.
I always put a “title” on the front of each journal that sums up my mind-set at the time. I’m not too precious when I work on my journals, no straight lines or perfect layouts here; they’re just for me. I can tell you I've gone through cases and cases of glue-sticks over the years.
The IKEA Billy Bookcases in my living room nicely store some of my journals ( above-on the bottom two shelves behind my sofa).
I’ve never tallied up how many journals I’ve filled over the years. They’ve been in storage, lost, stolen, and regrettably I sold some journals.
Above: I like the way some of my "vintage" journals are getting a patina and discoloring from time.
Almost 20 years ago, I sold some to a shop owner that purchased rare books and magazines. When you entered the shop you had to check your bag. The shop owner peeked at my journal as I shopped. When I retrieved my bag he asked me what my book was and I said it’s my “journal.” He asked if I had anymore and said he would be interested in buying them. I told him I didn’t sell my journals. However, when I needed some quick cash I took a few back and sold them. I don’t even remember how much I got for them, but in hindsight I wish I had kept them.
I'll probably continue to keep making my journals until I die, although, unfortunately I'll run out of space to keep them. Many pages of my journals are naughty, and I can't share them here, but over time I will share some more "G" rated pages from my journals (and photograph them better).
Do you keep a diary, journal or scrapbook of your life and thoughts? Or do you have a ritual that inspires you at the uninspired lulls in life? Whatever you do, I hope you have an inspiring weekend!