Thursday, February 23, 2006

gotta do it.

"Each of us has that right, that possibility, to invent ourselves daily. If a person does not invent herself, she will be invented. So, to be bodacious enough to invent ourselves is wise." - Maya Angelou

This is kind of a strange picture but Blue Dog asked what people were writing in and this particular journal is too big for my scanner!! My brother gave it to me a long time ago. When he gave it to me I was only part way through a different one so I put it on my shelf until I was ready for it.

I'm funny about blank journals. I love them. I salivate over them. I buy them just because of how pretty and luscious they are. But I am frightened to write in them. It's an old phobia dating back from the time in my life when I didn't want to waste a beautiful book with whatever I was going to write in it. Once I wrote something down the journal's fate was decided. I don't feel like that anymore. I'm not scared of what I am going to write anymore, but I still hold the empty books like precious treasures, just waiting for the right moment.

From the time I was 12 I kept a journal on loose leaf paper in a duo-tang. A duo-tang (what does that mean anyway?!) was as UNpermanent as it was possible to be. Suddenly at 18 I was finished with that journal. I went out and bought an empty black sketchbook and began to fill it instead. I like that they are completely blank. I can write whatever size I need to, and I can draw and scribble and stick things in if the mood strikes. When I begin a new journal I do things to the covers first so that I know that there is creativity inside. A truly completely blank slate frightens me off as well.

When I was home several trips ago I realized that I needed to begin a new journal. My old one wasn't finished but it was bulging at the seams, and a whole new chapter of my life was really getting under way. Enough was enough. So I got my waiting journal off of my shelf and opened it up, ready to marvel at all of the possibility that was there. Inside I found something that I had forgotten about. When David gave me the journal I had stuck something on the inside cover before putting it away. When I had found these words in a magazine it had made me tingle but I think it must have frightened me too. For some reason I didn't put it into the journal or the illustrated journal that I was working on. I glued it instead onto the inside cover of my new book - hiding it's message and its power for another day.

Now when I look at it, I smile. It's not eloquent or deep and meaningful. (Most of my journals are filled with quotes and clippings that are meaningful!) It's not artistic or creative in any way. But that's not what I really need. I have had enough gentle nudges in the direction of my dreams. I know the path I am supposed to be following. Nope, this little message is something that I think I need more than that gentle nudge. I like to look at it as a kick in the ass from the nervous girl who knew that in the future she wanted to be taking leaps, sitting down and writing, and living an unusual life. She knew what I would need. She was telling me that it's not about the wanting to do something. It's about the doing something. It's hard, but it's the way it has to be. I just have to get on with it.
Dear Younger Me, I got your message and I get it. Thank you! xo

7 comments:

The Silent K said...

did I understand that right- You have a journal from when you were 12-18 all in once place?

That is amazing.

la vie en rose said...

you are a woman after my own heart. i love journals. like you it's just been recently that i've relaxed about writing in those gorgeous blank pages. in the past i always felt like i had to write something "important" and "profound" in them. now i consider the process of my soul as important and profound as anything.

i love the quote by maya angelou. you choose or you give others the power to choose for you. i was in that latter catagory for a good portion of my life. now i'm fighting my way into the first catagory--the creator catagory.

and bodacious! isn't that one of the best words ever!

tara dawn said...

Great post! I love journals, but I hate writing in them. I've never given much thought to it all...why it is that I had rather type on a screen rather than sitting with a pen and blank paper and allowing my creativity to flow from internal to external? I don't have an answer for this right now, but I'm glad you wrote this post...it is certainly getting me thinking.
xoxo

Laini Taylor said...

Great message! A little gift from yourself. Nice! I'm a journal fanatic and I also have had a big problem with the beautiful ones intimidating me. So I started writing in "Plein Ciel" journals - hardcover, really plain, with lines, and then I decorate the cover. All the gorgeous ones tend to sit on my shelf all virginal and self-conscious. Speaking of journals, remember Emily's "jimmy books" in the New Moon series? I also remember reading a short story or novella (don't remember what it was) that took place on the Russian steppes or Siberia or somewhere a Jewish family was relocated to and the narrator ran out of room in her one school notebook and there wasn't another to be had for anything so she had to write between the lines she'd already written, and them, stop writing altogether. I remember being stunned as a kid, realizing there wasn't always plenty of everything for so many people!

Frankie said...

What a GREAT message! For all of us.

I know JUST what you mean about the journals. All of my life, I bought journals. I horded them like I was collecting them for a hibernation, like I'd never be able to buy them again. So many poor books with a few entries, ripped out, then a few more, ripped out. Nothing seemed good enough for them.

And then one day, suddenly, I just allowed myself to feel worthy of my journals and began writing in them every day. Now I can't imagine my life without them. I can't imagine how I would keep track of myself, my life, without those collections of me.

I love that you decorate yours with clippings and quotes and art! I need to do more of that! This was a really great post!!

Jamie said...

Yay to your younger self supporting you and egging you on! Amazing how she knew just what you would need to hear. What a wise young woman she is!

I loved reading about your journal journeys. It's so interesting how at different stages of your life, different things work for you.

When I do morning pages they have to be on something completely disposable. When I have a journal, I want no lines so that I can put in pictures, draw stuff, write upside down.

For a time there were some really beautiful journals out. I have one with a purple velvet cover, one that's a glittery green. And they seem to have just disappeared, at least around here.

I love how everything from the journal you choose to work in to the books you're reading to what you decide to post on today is such a window into who you are and what's inside. Thanks for sharing.

Blue Dog said...

your journal is beautiful megg! it looks colorful and inviting and like it's bursting with all of YOU! And I really like the Maya Angelo quote. It reminds me of a conversation I've had several times with a writing professor of mine about how as artists--writers or painters or whatever we are--that deep need to do our art in order to keep ourselves from disappearing. the process of reinventing ourselves on a daily basis is what keeps us tuned in and alert to the world; it's what keeps us happy and feeling fully alive. it's what keeps us grounded.

I also like your second quote, "gonna do it...." because sometimes we just gotta give ourselves a swift kick in the arse and get to work with gusto!

Thanks for posting these images and words Megg. I really enjoyed this glimpse into your life. I can relate on many levels and find your endlessly interesting! :)