Thursday, January 19, 2012

show & tell: journaling adventures

There have been some really fun discussions bouncing around the internet airwaves on journal practices. I can still remember my very first journal - a spiral "flip" notebook like secretaries used to use to take dictation (back in the day when there were secretaries and shorthand) which my father brought me from his office (probably pilfered from his secretary whom he called "Lollipop" - just to complete the picture of which era I am referencing here).

I have kept a journal on and off since then but what I find interesting is the types of journals I have moved through in my attempt to find THE journal practice that best suits me.

So I decided it would be fun to share my journals with you in a video format. Okay, truth is I was feeling lazy and not in the mood to write about my experiences - which in itself I find telling as I am exploring the concept of maintaining a regular journal practice.

After recording my thoughts, I spent a little more time looking through my old journals and it occurred to me that the real issue isn't what kind of journal I keep - written or diary form; scrapbook; art or image based - that I am confusing the signpost with the destination. What brings me to a journal is the desire to know or understand myself in a deeper way. To unravel my thoughts, beliefs, feelings and hopefully come to a place of insight or clarity. The best way to go about this self excavation will change as I change.

Anticipating the collective gasp of shock as I muttered something along the lines of "I really finding journaling irritating" I want to explain that at this point in my life I find writing as my initial means of digging in less effective than other forms of self inquiry. The thing is, I know what I know; I know the common motifs - my basic thoughts that direct my life - and given paper and pen I will rehash those ideas over and over. Or rather, I will filter my now experiences through the lens of those ideas. And I find this process fruitless.

What works for me now is to practice intuitive creating; to focus upon process and reacting to what arises moment by moment as I create with little fore planning. Then I might return to words to consider what occurred as I allowed my subconscious free rein. It is here that I find the real insights and juicy tidbits that help me come to a new way of thinking, seeing or understanding myself or my world.

As I poked through my old journals, what popped out at me were the images. In a flash, I was returned to that point in my life. I could flip through and see the changes occurring, something that is more difficult in my older journals were there is just written text.

And maybe one day I will have the patience and the interest to go back and read the more wordy journals? I've also considered tossing them, as I recognize their value resided in the actual process of writing, not re-reading. Maybe. Maybe not.

The historian in me packed them back up, chronologically. I noticed the gap in journal keeping coincided with the period when The Husband and I were trying to start our family and then those early years with Cowgirl. Although that's not completely true as for 2 years I kept my first blog - a baby jelly beans blog for her - and then started this one. So add to the above list of journal types blogging.

And yes, I am now licking my chops as I ponder all these forms and how this record of my record keeping will be interpreted one day far, far into the future. Because that who I am: an archiver, a collector, an analyzer of lives and I suppose a trained and degreed voyeur.

So if you are so inclined, here is a little peek into my journals, my inner life.

Vimeo has a perverse way of always capturing my most goofy facial expressions!

For a peek into other journals, check out the ongoing discussion happening over at Liz Lamoreux's blog here and here and Jen Lee's contribution to the subject. And here is the original post about my best-idea-ever: my To Remember book. In the end, that notebook may hold the best record of my inner and outer life.


  1. You are a talented and beautiful woman and a great sister. With that being said I can save you a whole lot of time by reciting one phrase from so many years ago which sums up what Lisa Ruth Hofmann is all about:
    To wit:
    Lisa, your's so fat.

    I love you little can thank me for the $30,000 whenever you get around to it.

  2. Love love all your thoughts here. These conversations lately have me thinking about what the word "journaling" really means and how many people I have encountered think of it as "keeping a diary" but for most of us it is something else entirely...but it isn't one thing for everyone. And yes yes yes to recognizing blogging as a type of journal.

    Thank you for sharing Lis. Wish we could have tea and talk some more. :)


  3. Loved this post and video! I kept nodding and saying "I must comment on that...and that...and that!" and now my head is spinning and I can't remember anything lol. Loved listening to your thoughts though and having a peek into your journals.

  4. loved hearing your thoughts lis...grazie mille

  5. Love this peek into your journal process over the years!You definitely seem most comfortable and willing to enter the moment when you are working visually. I just unpacked my large stack of journals! In handling them, I became curious about what other women do with theirs over the years. They are so integral to my "coping with diabetes" approach. I have been wanting to write a post about my journaling process for awhile - may be NOW is the time! I finally posted about my word for 2012 & I think my journal keeping (written & visual) is intimately linked to my desire to "flourish." Your Book of Days is super magical looking! Loved the sound of the wax paper- I signed up for Effy's project last week, but am just now unpacking my art supplies. Seeing yours was inspirational incentive. Miss you-

  6. Lis - This post is great! Your video is wonderful! It really makes me think and dream! I too rambled a lot in my older I write when I feel like it and have time - but I am inspired by the idea of using the journal for everyday things all of it...the whole smorgasbord of the day - I'm in Effy's course now - just tipping my toes in....your Effy-inspired journal is fabulous! Oh I have about three journals going at one time too! xoxo

  7. The images in your journals just jump out - gorgeous!

  8. loved this Video Lisa.. I have a remember book also! I always keep a notebook near me, so I can jot down things to remember, songs, websites, books, etc.. I am starting to get more into visual journaling and interested to see where that will take me.


  9. Just coming back to say thank you again for this. As a result of this and some other bloggers talking about journaling lately I'm now rethinking the whole way I do journaling. Talk about freeing! Am going to blog about it as soon as I get 5 minutes. Thank you again!

  10. I love it when you do videos Lis, it always feels like we are sitting there with a cup of tea, having a chat :)