Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Journaling & Weeds

I was browsing through the travel writing books on my Kindle before our trip and came across this title: Globejotting: How to Write Extraordinary Travel Journals (and still have time to enjoy your trip) (2011) by Dave Fox. The term Globejotting has a nice ring to it and is visual in an active way. I downloaded a sample, and when I reached the end, I went ahead and purchased it for $5.95. As I flipped through the e-book, I saw that it was published by Inkwater Press in Portland. What a coincidence!

Dave Fox has a humorous writing style. He's informative and shares from some of his own journals. I’m not through the book yet; I’m taking it slow. I like his concept of Speed Journaling, which is free writing with a fresh spin. It helps to have fresh ways of looking at familiar concepts and that’s what I like about this book so far. I feel that I haven’t done as much free writing as I’d like lately. I think this book will give me a boost and I noticed that I put Speed Journaling into action during my trip, which was great. As I was reading thorough some of my journal entries, I was glad that I had written down so many details to bring a moment to life again. And because I was writing so fast, I had trouble reading some of my words; that only affirms how much in the moment I was, rather than thinking too much.

What’s great about this book—and what I’m looking forward to—is reigniting my free writing space. That happens best in my notebooks. It’s too easy to hit delete and backspace and reread what I’ve written on the computer screen. I’ve been able to freewrite on the computer; it’s not quite the same, though it does work for me sometimes.

I’ve touched on this before on a blog or two. Something that I still struggle with is how I feel about sifting through my journals and finding something that I want to post, but because I wrote it in the past, whether it’s a few weeks or years, I feel that because it’s not in present time, I waver on weather I should post it or not.

When I sift through my past journals, I am sometimes in awe when I come across an entry where I can tell I was right there without my internal editor and the thoughts pour out unhindered. I was able to enter the free writing space and that’s what I miss. It still happens and I am able to take certain things and flesh them out. But still, I suppose I will have to come to accept that’s it’s quite all right to rework what I’ve already written or post it as it was. I have done this before. It’s just that there are times when I hesitate, when I question it. On the other hand, this is partially what journals are for; for venting our thoughts; for bearing our souls; for sharing, and at times, not sharing. Journals are the stuff that we are made of and the observations, anguish, joy that we feel. It is all of these things and more. And this is where the mind gets in the way and I’m glad to write it here because I am saying to myself, to my rattling mind, I see you and I’ve had enough of you and why don’t you get out of my way! Don’t be afraid to write everything you are feeling. And some days, there will be nothing—utter blankness—and usually, eventually, something will flourish out of nothing.

I’ve been carrying a quote with me since the moment I read it from A Birthday Book: A Keepbook of Dates to Remember. I saw the book in a consignment shop about three weeks past. The quote is the main reason I bought the book. There are other quotes too. The quote has since fizzled away, but when I read Michael Seidel’s blog “Weeding” the quote sprung up into my consciousness again. http://redroom.com/member/michael-seidel/blog/weeding

The first quote is the one that hooked me, the second a perfect accompaniment.

“And what is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”
From Fortune of the Republic by Ralph Waldo Emerson

“A weed is no more than a flower in disguise.”
 From A Fable for Critics by James Russell Lowell

I feel at home amongst the weeds and wildflowers.


Vincent said...

Rebb, a wonderful communication, such a lucid piece. Timely and instructive for me, too, for i have the same thoughts & wish I could express them in such a beautiful flow.

Especially I recognized that struggle with what you wrote in the past, and whether it is fresh enough to make into something publishable.

I've been going through my entire blog in the last few days discovering how it can benefit from a companion version on Kindle, which shall be indexed in a particular way, so as to make it navigable. And it seems this will be the ultimate medium for those pieces - not print!

Your term "consignment shop" was new to me, but I came across the concept the other day. I enquired at our local second-hand furniture shop about the price of an item. He said he didn't know yet, would have to ask the seller. It was an extraordinary item: a mahogany-veneered chest of drawers triangular in shape, wide at the bottom and rising to a point. the shop owner is extraordinary too, tall, handsome, with many gold chains round his neck and formerly ran an "international club" on the same premises. He was jailed for several years for drug dealing, and now it is very clear he is totally reformed: a charming man.

Rebb said...

Thank you, Vincent. It's odd but not so odd that the writerly life contains so much self-consciousness, insecurity, fear--and all the wonderful opposites too. I'm sure it won't be the last time I write about the struggles. It's hard not too.

I like your idea of having your blog on your Kindle as a companion version. I once thought of trying the print option available to us from eBlogger. I would only select a few blogs because the more, the pricier. But if I did this it would be for myself or maybe as a gift to my brother. It's still a distant thought.

The chest of drawers you describe sounds beautiful and the shop owner sounds like an extraordinary man. What a treat!

I tried to go to your latest blog post again, but I could not access it. I like the Pessoa quote you list and I look forward to your future blog on the Book of Disquiet.

I agree with the quote--that through our words, we allow people to feel what we feel. I also think, feel, believe--that people--readers, also sometimes show us feelings that we didn't know were there quite how we thought. For example, in the blog I wrote "At the stop sign," a reader from the other sight I post to said she read it three times and by the third, she was in tears. It moved me so much for her to feel so deeply, to find something of herself enough to connect to that degree. I have cried a few times at my own words because of a tender connection and bearing of my soul, but this piece was not one of them. So for me, that's what I love about the writer/reader process--the sharing and co-creating of space that I know you understand all too well and recall you having written about it.

Oh the joys of writing! Even when we doubt ourselves.

Vincent said...

Sorry about pulling the post. I will be putting it back when I've published the next one.

As for the print option, I've completely and permanently abandoned that, because the blog format - mine at any rate - depends very much on hyperlinks, mainly referencing other posts in the same blog, which can be effected with bookmarks & internal hyperlinks. Another consideration is the illustrations, which would be expensive in print.

I'm currently working very actively on my Wayfarer's Notes e-book, but it will take a while to complete, and then I hope you will be able to see the advantages.

Arash (do you subscribe to his Arash's World blog?) has had his book printed, and the publisher contacted me to ask if I were interested in the same treatment. I wouldn't, first because print would not be right and second because I have the time and skill background to make my own Kindle book (incidentally, at zero cost). I would of course also take the required steps to ensure that it would be available to posterity, though the master copy would necessarily be digital not print.

The joys of writing have the chance for a cleansing when we doubt ourselves. Some of us have good reasons to doubt - it's called quality control.

Rebb said...

Vincent, I see that you have put your post back and added a new one! I am going to send them to my Kindle to read later. You always leave much to think about and to digest and it’s interesting to read the varied aspects that jump out at your readers. I am often a wallflower listening in these days.

That’s great that your actively working on your Wayfarer’s Notes e-book.

I do not subscribe to Arash’s World. Thank you for telling me about it. I took a peek, but will have a longer look later on.

You gave me a chuckle on doubt and quality control. Yes, I suppose there is some truth to that, Vincent.

Vincent said...

When you download on Kindle you may not notice one of my comments to "Binding a Joy" which links to this post of yours . . .

Rebb said...

I read the comments on the regular computer first. I see it. Thanks for making mention to my post, Vincent.