February 20th, 2005
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a question answered…

How do you number your journals? I know this is probably not your 14th ever, especially with the rate you create, so I’m curious. -christine
Yes, m’dear it is actually my 14th. Surprised? I started the journals in earnest (aside from random sketchbooks over the years) around 1996. For years I had been afraid of writing regularly {read: paralyzed}. I mean this. I had so many journals that were started and never used, (maybe 10?), and when I would look at them I would feel inadequate, not much of an artist. Certainly not the artist I wanted to be. Too much pressure to perform stopped me from filling up the pages. In art school I had a class where one of the assignments was to write regularly in a journal. I did it, but the writing felt so forced and uncomfortable. My ego seemed to get in the way, I wrote things that I thought sounded intelligent, i would start some collages or sketches and give up quickly believing they were awful, I relied quite heavily on other people’s ideas.
The first real ‘journal’ was started when my mother was in the hospital. It began because I had a friend who I was communicating with regularly via email. We wrote at length about creativity, daily adventures, caregiving, and our joys and sufferings. I would travel for about three hours on busses to the hospital and then spend a few hours there with my mom. I found myself inspired to write my friend throughout the day (needing an outlet), thoughts and experiences poured out, and when I got home I would transcribe them into an email. Also I was reading the Diary of Anne Frank at the time. Like Anne I used the journal as a way of writing to a friend. After a couple of years the friendship with my girlfriend waned but I continued to document my world. I was so comforted by the fact that I had this friend with me at all times who I could share secrets with, or vent.
Some of the journals are quite large and took an entire year. And then there are periods when I write little. The last few years have been the most productive and the journals have taken over as my primary means of creating. Over time the ego has released it’s grip more and more, I now have permission to experiment and try the opposite of what I might normally do (even though I still cringe at the outcome, I am o.k. with that). With the journal I don’t have to think about an audience, such a shift from my commercial work. I also do not pressure myself to add to it, things happen when they need to. But I do know that I am much better emotionally when I am using the journal regularly. Even for small bits. (this week I’ve been adding little envelopes filled with tea leaves, including the date and time the tea was consumed). When I don’t use it i find myself cranky and tense, many times not knowing why. Sometimes just gluing in one small thing (a stamp, or a label is enough to make me feel like I am producing something.) But the moments I like best are when do a page that I find beautiful, layered texture and words. Black lines, doodles, cut out shapes. Two days ago I pressed some large wet oolong leaves and the print it left was amazing. The only thing necessary is to make a mark.
any mark.
Do you put any sort of clear coat finish on your collages?? how do you get them to keep? -Cindy
No. The process is not about preservation. While I do like to look back through my old journals, I do not worry about their longevity. It is hard enough to create, I don’t want to have to worry about any technical details, archival materials, etc. A glue stick, a pen and some crappy paint is all you need.

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