About the same time that I had my first real crush on a boy, I learned about writing in journals. Looking back, I still feel sorry for Mrs. Lyons, my eighth grade English teacher, because just about every entry she had to read that year was about Allen Kientz, the ninth grade Don Juan I was coo-coo for.
As I matured, so did my journals. They have held the most secluded secrets of my heart, the deepest yearnings of my spirit, the wild movements of fresh love, and the quiet sobriety of tender grief. When no other human would witness what ebbed and flowed from my psyche, my journal could stand testament to what must be expressed.
Over the years, I began experimenting with adding in visual compliments to my words until eventually, some of the journal entries were completely void of words. Thus began the era of visual journaling. During this time, my inner life took on a fresh vitality. Suddenly I could expel feelings, images, stories, and realities that previously eluded me. Somehow visual art could hook onto something that words couldn’t touch.
Visual art journaling also feels like more of a discovery than journaling with words does. Often, I feel like I know what I want to say and explore with my writings, but when I approach a clean page of my art journal, what comes is often a familiar surprise.
Recently, I have been playing with blending visual art journaling with written, but instead of engaging in them both for an entry, I use one to explore the other. I may start with a drawing, then use list-making to describe the drawing. I will choose a word from the list and do a drawing about that word. I write about the drawing. Back and forth, I weave visual and written. The process is dynamic and powerful.
For many people, journaling has a very strong association, sometimes positive and other times, not. I wonder how journaling has played a role in your life? When do you turn to journaling? Have there been times when journaling has helped in a situation, or fallen short of your hopes? Do you have a journaling technique that you particularly love? Tell us about it. We love learning new way to connect with ourselves.