Sunday, June 21, 2009

Musings on Keeping a Journal

I don't think that anyone who ever sits down and starts working in their journal expects to mold and create a masterpiece right then and there on the page. It doesn't work that way with a journal page.

First off, it's not a masterpiece you're making. It's a journal page. It's your place to express yourself. It's your place to try new things. It's your place to learn who you are, to document your life and to simply, be you.

It doesn't happen over night either. We sit down and work and learn. We learn what works best for us. We learn what we like and what we don't like. We learn how to push and pull. We grow. We grow older. We learn more. We've experienced more. We wear our scars like badges.

I often wonder what goes through the head of someone who is new to keeping a journal. I love when they get it. I love when they realize it's all about learning, playing, exploring, and trying new things. I love when they get it's all about taking an idea and making it their own. I love when they find their own voice. I love when they don't give a shit about what someone else thinks of their pages, that the only thing that matters is what THEY think.

At the same time, I wonder what's going through the head of someone who's been doing this for years. I love when someone asks me what do you have going on that you could make so many pages about? Oh, I dunno, a little something called life. I love how it's still new even though I've been doing this since I was a kid. I love how I still get excited when I go to work on a page.

My students ask how do you start? Do you have a theme? Where do your ideas come from? How do you do it every day?

I like working in my journal. I don't sit down with a theme or pre-conceived idea. I can't work that way. I start by showing up. (Yeah, thanks Woody, we know). Some days, I paint the pages. Some days, I collage. Some days, I write. It all depends on my mood. I always start by starting. I open the book up to the page that's next in the book and go from there. I don't worry. I don't judge. It should never be about what's a good page and what's a bad page. That's not what it's about. It's about the making. It's about the creating. It's about the expressing. It's about you being you and getting you out onto that page.

It's not about you being published. It's not about you being in a book. It's not about people knowing your name. It's not about you being on a tv show. It's never ever, nor should it ever be about any of those things. It's about you and your book. It's about you being real. It's about you keeping it real.

It's not about what you did today. It's not about what you did yesterday. It's not about what you did 30 years ago. It's about now. It's the minute you open up your book and you start, by starting, by working on the page. It's about what happens in that moment. It's about working on that page, being in that moment and unraveling on that page. Then it's about asking yourself. Am I done with this page? Have I 'said' all that I needed to say? Then turn the page and work on the next one.

That's what it's about.

Happy Father's Day to my Dad, to David, to my Father in Law, and to all of you wonderful Dads out there!!!!


Lindart said...

Kelly, do you have a post somewhere of how you make your journals? I'm sure I read it, but now I can't find it. Thanks!

Deb's Artful Journey said...

Thank you for your message today! Youre absolutely right... keeping a journal is about all those things. Thank you for keeping us real and moving forward.

Debbie L

tina's space said...

so right Kelly. Thanks for the reminder. It is so easy to forget.

Kelly Kilmer said...

I make my journals differently. I like to vary the size, the shape and often the stitching. I have a tutorial on my online class site, but I don't think I've put one here on the blog.


Connie Saunders said...

Great post on keeping a journal. I've been keeping journals for over 30 years. I can't imagine life without it.

Zom said...

Sometimes I think why am I still doing journal pages? But it is only my mind; because I can't imagine stopping.
And I don't know why I am doing it.

Barb Smith said...

Amen! You have been such an inspiration to me and with these words, you again inspire me. you remind me why my journals are so important and personal and an absolute part of me...because they are. Thank you, rock!
Peace & love,

Sandy said...

Great pages and you're right, each person is different. You just have to make it your own, no way is the right way.

Anonymous said...

thank you

Christine said...

Kelly, love your two pages these by far are my favorites! I missed you the last couple of time at Frenzy Stamper but I hope to catch up on a class soon!

You are an inspiration and I have been making journals ever since your first class!

Thanks for being you!

Seth said...

Great post. Good reminder of what journaling is all about and why it is different from other types of art.

Josette said...

Hi Kelly, I enjoyed reading your post. :) I found your blog while googling for journal-keeping. I've always liked the idea of sketching but thought that I didn't have the talent or creativity. But from what I've read in your post, I shouldn't care too much but instead just go ahead and start keeping my own unique journal.

Thanks again for the insightful post. :)

Such a Wondrous Place this Faery Space said...

So completely true and inspirational! So wonderful to see this gorgeous blog and your pages are infinitely amazing. I thank-you for sharing such beauty with the world. Off to see more. Blessings dear.