I started journal writing when I was about ten. I had been filling notebook after notebook with science fiction and horror short stories and I think my mother wanted me to branch out into a safer and prettier style of writing. The journal she gave me was pink with “Diary” gold-embossed on the cover in some sort of flowery script. It had a lock and a key and the date on the top of each lined page. I scribbled in small cursive daily until it was filled. Small notes about what had happened that day, wishes, frustrations. I did not stop filling notebooks with science fiction and horror.
In highschool I became more serious about my poetry and my journals became a mix of personal reflection and poems. The short stories felt less important. The poems became long.
By university all that was in my journals were poems. I wrote stream-of-consciouness poetic text while on the subway to and from campus. Personal reflections were saved for the notes on improvisation my music professors requested.
Within a year of finishing my BFA I became pregnant with our son. After he was born everything changed. How was I to be both an artist and a mother? How could I make these things not be mutually exclusive? I found Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” and started her practice of morning pages: three pages longhand in a notebook every morning. This and the grant I got to complete my first book of poetry (culled from those poetry journals) saved my artist self when my son was small.
In my thirties we moved to Japan where my morning pages morphed into scribbling away at my desk in between classes. My poetry became short. I translated haiku with one of the English-speaking history teachers. Through my personal journalling I realized that a day job was not necessarily a good thing for me. At least not a day job teaching English at a senior high school in Japan.
After two years in Japan we moved to the UK so I could do my MA in Devised Theatre. I brought a poetry journal and a personal journal. In our bodywork classes our professors told us to keep a journal of what we were learning. This third journal contained sketches of Suzuki actor training, instructions for Feldenkrais work, thoughts and reviews of shows, ideas for my MA show and maps to organize my dissertation.
In 2006 we returned to Saskatoon. All my pre-Japan poetry and personal journals are in boxes. All my Japan poetry and personal journals are on the shelf you see above. All my UK poetry and personal and MA journals also live here. All the Saskatoon journals filled since have a place.
This threefold practice (personal, poetic, and process/practice/project) keeps me sane and my ideas both flowing and in check. I can think big on paper and then write about what is possible.
When one journal is full I place it on the shelf. Ink-heavy and full of time and thought.
My Locker Room Epiphany
How Finding Nemo Gave Me Hope.
The House that Built Me.
A Curse for This Town; What a Beautiful Town
Words to Places; Scents to Memories
Move Around - Around - Around - Around
Why I hate going to public pools and the beach.
Spring and Such