Page after page of teen angst and drama. Some wrinkled by now dried tears. Some full of hope and color. More full of depression and questions.
When I was sixteen, I was in a dollar store and saw some journals. I picked one out. It was pale blue and had a sewn binding. The paper was lined and there were flowers printed on some of the pages. Halfway through that journal, I was tired of it. The pale blue depressed me. The flowers on the pages posed a problem.....write over them, or skip past them.....it felt bulky to write in, and my words did not flow.
When I had filled all the pages, I set it on my bookshelf. On the bottom shelf behind little doors, next to my three ring binder journals.
I went to the Barnes and Noble to visit their journal section. That day I probably spent half an hour looking at each journal. I picked them up, felt the weight, inspected the look and feel of the pages. I rubbed my hands over the outside covers. I thought about spiral bindings. I noted which ones had annoying pictures on the pages, or inspirational quotes. I thought about lined pages, blank pages, graph pages.
Several people stopped by the aisle, picked out journals, and left. I was still there. Looking for just the right one.
I finally settled on one. It was spiral bound. A hard cover that looked like it had been attacked by watercolors in shades of grey and green...with the occasional hint of silver. The pages were heavy weight, but not too heavy. They were lined, but no pictures or quotes.
I took it home and the words flowed. I had found my space.
That journal was followed by a purple one with butterflies.
By the time I had moved onto the orange one with flowers on the cover, it was the place where I wrote my thoughts, and wrote prayers, and took sermon notes. I even kept the occasional note or memento in those journals, carefully taping them in place.
There was another blue journal, it was not spiral and the margins of the lines were not quite right. I made it to the end of it, but I noticed that the words did not flow as well in that place where I was not completely comfortable.
I returned to my former style of journal, this time with a cork cover that had tiny, dark blue, sparkley flakes. The words flowed. The prayers. The notes. The pages filled.
Dark blue with flowers followed.
Then we moved.
I packed many things away and all my journals went together in a storage bin.
I meant to buy a new journal, but never did. Several years passed. The need to write would come over me and I would stuff it down. Occasionally I would find myself in the journal section of the bookstore, and realize that without meaning to, I was looking for just the right journal. I couldn't find it. The urge to write was still there, but I had silenced the voice of that urge so much that I hardly heard it anymore.
I started blogging again. As the words flowed through the keyboard, that voice inside me that calls out to write returned. I typed more and more, but the voice was not silenced. I found myself writing on scraps of paper. Then in a composition book. The words were there, but they did not flow. I knew what I needed. A journal. Just the right size and weight, with lined paper that is not too thick or too thin. A hard cover to support my writing and hold in all my words.
Typing is good...but there is something about holding a pen (preferably just the right kind of pen) in my hand and letting the words flow through it, onto the paper.
To carry it with me, and pull it out for short thoughts and long rants.
To pour out prayers and hope and fears.
Doodle in the margins when the words are stubborn, and see the letters that grow bigger and bigger the faster they come out.
To leave a small bit of myself on a page.
That is why I have to use the very right one, because it will eventually hold a piece of me. The worst and the best of me are contained in those pages. The hope and color. And sometimes, the slightly wrinkled pages that were touched by my tears.
I journal to give space to my soul.
Do you keep a journal? Are you picky about where or how you write?