Thursday, November 19, 2009

How To Make A Journal Of Your Life

At some point last year I came across Danny Gregory, the author of one of my favourite books, The Creative License. Via Danny, I then found another great guy, Dan Price, author of the modern classic, How To Make A Journal of Your Life, a little book first published in 1999 and still riding high among stifled creative types.

Go to Amazon and click to look inside.

Here Dan talks of walking the path, finding the way, wondering about things and finding one's bliss. I cannot quite tell you what it is that makes me feel so strongly about this book in the way I can with Danny Gregory's. The Creative License is all about allowing yourself to be creative. How To Make A Journal is a bit about that, but is also very much about how to proceed and how to have fun, if indeed you have forgotten what fun is. And, let me tell you, if you are reading this book or even considering buying it, it is because, deep down, you know that you've lost your way.

The back cover reads:

Has your intuition been telling you to get an empty journal and begin filling it with all those interesting events in your life? Well time is racing by. All those neat things that happened just last week have quickly become the past...

I read these few lines the other day, as I was rummaging through my bag (also known as the Bottomless Pit) and the scattered pages of the book came out in pieces, as they often do when I am searching for something else entirely. They rang true to me then as I had been thinking about updating my diary for some time (this diary, this one you're reading, yes, this is my diary). I was working flat-out on the editing of a book, the formatting of some plays and then some and no matter the good intentions, I always ended up shattered and brain-fried at night, unable to sit down for an extra ten minutes just to record: 'And today I did this'.

And do you know why I am telling you about this now? Because Dan is right as right can be: time is racing by, all those nice things that happened to me since last Saturday have already become the past. And I have forgotten about them already. What did I do on Monday? Yes, sure, I worked on the plays but... did I work at home or at Starbee? What was the weather like? What did I eat? Well, exactly, I don't remember and the older I get, the more urgent the need to record everything I do makes itself felt. You may think that only interesting people keep journals (define 'interesting person' please) and that you are not an interesting person (to you maybe, not to me) and that you haven't got the time (oh you so bloody have) and that what is the point anyway (why are you reading then?). Just try removing the set of blinkers from your eyes and try and see the world again as you used to when you were little. Everyone could use and enjoy pencils and crayons and stickers then. You still can.

I shall leave you with a little extract from Dan's book and Dan, if you are reading this from Hawaii... thank you. To the rest of you: time is racing by... go start a journal!

You see, your mind will be saying obnoxious things like this:

1- What makes you think you have anything worthwhile to say?
2- There's nothing special about your old humdrum life that warrants documentation.
3- Who said you were a writer anyway? Don't embarrass yourself.

Well, well, that's all really interesting, Mr Brain. Fortunately we have decided to send you off on sabbatical for a while and will instead be using our hearts to fill these pages. Heh. Heh.

In hearing this news your heart may begin to beat wildly. It will greatly appreciate you considering it worthy. Goose bumps may appear up and down your spine. And given this new task, the heart says things like this:

1- My thoughts, deeds, and doings are who I am trying to be, and each one is a gift that does warrant recording.
2- If I grow tired of self-examination, all I need do is lift my eyes and behold the beauty of our glorious world.
3- Writing down my thoughts will be the easiest thing in the world to do because I'll be expressing my own innermost feelings, and only I know what those are.

So go ahead and scribble. At first you may dislike your seemingly pretentious babbling. But, hey, great novels were not written overnight. Try to do some writing and remember to listen only to your hear, not your head. Then have a cookie.
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