In my earlier post about trashing the black notebooks, I wrote about the visual journals I now keep. Here’s what occurs to me. When it comes to writing a poem, I wait patiently for inspiration. I spend time sitting quietly or doodling with words. I open myself to the muse while showering or walking. Often I come away with nothing, but I’m disciplined about the process. With my journals it’s different. I don’t ponder. I act on impulse whenever the mood strikes. I tear off a magazine cover with a lush garden illustration and start a collage. While reviewing receipts for credit card purchases, I decide to keep the one for two rings and paste it into the journal. I print out and paste in a photo of our mailbox. I draw a large circle on a blank page and start filling it in with colors, squiggles and cutouts. Often captions will occur to me—something related to what’s going on in my life. Occasionally it’s the reverse: a line of poetry or a newspaper headline catches my attention and inspires an entry. The visuals follow.
These small books don’t tell the story of my life. If anything, they represent a random walk through my mind. In some way I don’t fully understand, they give shape to my psyche. I support those who curate and share their lives on social media—I suppose that’s what I’m doing here in a very limited way. But I’ll continue to devote time to gathering up miscellany from my daily life and storing it like grain in a granary for private consumption when I feel reflective, unsettled or hungry for direction.