JOURNALING FOR WOMEN
Write, Doodle, Scribble! and Meet Yourself Up Close
After a lawsuit following the death of my mother, I stopped writing in my journal. Needing relief from the vigil of introspection and the welter of self-absorption, the severance of personal writing provided a much needed rest.
Then one spring--
a friend of twenty-two years moved to lower altitude in another state; I needed a companion.
I injured my hip in a dogsledding accident and for several months walked with a cane; I needed support.
the decision to pull out my mobile home and build a house in the same place left me nearly homeless; I needed something solid in my life.
I returned to my journal.
After forty-seven years of keeping a journal, I knew the benefits of daily writing and took to them eagerly. Around the same time, as chance would have it, I met Jim Smith, the publisher of Sunstone Press. Santa Fe is a small town and we'd heard of each other for years. It was a Tuesday morning when he asked, Do you have any manuscripts I can see? I did indeed.
In 1979 after moving to New Mexico, I taught a journal writing class for women that blossomed into many more. In 1982 I completed a manuscript about keeping a journal, but life veered off in another direction and I made no attempt to publish it. Some twenty-five years later, I pulled the bundled pages out of a drawer. Typewritten it recalled a time long gone but the drawings still reflected a looseness that had originally attracted me to the project.
The first town where I lived in this weathered, craggy state was Los Alamos; and my initial response to living in that hi-tech scientific community became this book. I met the most vibrant people in that small mountain town, but the professional milieu that prevailed was a bit too streamlined for my taste, too polished. So I created a book with simple freehand drawings, something a little more down home.
Today, this kind of book is even more important. Electronics seduces us with its quickness, but not everyone is enamored with the digital pace. Journaling for Women, Write, Doodle, Scribble! and Meet Yourself Up Close is especially for those who want something slower, an earthiness with handheld thoughtfulness.
In the twenty-five years since this book was first written, the world has definitely changed and bringing the book up today required some rewriting. But keeping a journal--
on the passenger's seat of my car
by my bed
near my favorite chair
--is still the same.
Back at it again, I scribble stray thoughts on a page first thing in the morning while sipping tea. I stuff my journal in my purse and scratch a few lines waiting at the doctor's office. I slip in a word sitting at stop lights. When I take the dogs into the forest, my journal rides along in my knapsack. Jotting down a few words is still the last thing I do at night before turning out the light.
Once again my journal offers the support of a solid, long-time companion.
Just what I needed.