I got some encouragement from friends to post the following pages from my most recent journal. They sort of map some moods and also different ways of using a journal.
This was done in pencil, which is why it’s a little hard to reproduce.
“Wanted to draw something hard and sensuous to honor those parts of me that have hardened because of grief and loss. I imagined traveling to a cemetery or city park — but I can’t get around. No car, limited mobility and many other things to do. I settled for this white clay swan of Jim’s. It’s heavy and hard. The wings are impressed with feather markings and tiny impressions cover the feathered body. The drawing makes it look grey but it’s white w/an orange beak, black marking and brown glassy eye. One chip on the wing tip.
Later, Jim, my husband, told me this an icon swan, one he bought for his late wife Kathleen, as a symbol of someone able “to extract pure essence fro the adulterated mixture.” The swan is pure beauty although it feeds on dubious food. He got that image from Thomas Merton. Kathleen, a family mediator in divorce cases, was able to help really dysfunctional families see the essence of families — the kids, the love, the actions that will have effect 50 years from now.
So I didn’t have to leave home to find what I’d wanted to find in cemetery — a hard graceful image of the beauty of loss.”
If you are subject to depression, you know that those first days after the depression lifts, you come up with the most fantastic ideas about what you can achieve. I’ve learned to write them down instead of actually pursuing them:
“Post Depression Flights of Fancy:
I decided if I ever got pet it should be a big multi-colored parrot. Then I want to teach it to sing one of my favorite soul songs — maybe ‘It’s Alright’ or ‘Always and Forever.’
I saw posters for readings and performances at the library and actually started to sign up or start making plans to go them (but didn’t)
Also, I figure when I sell my book (as yet unwritten), I’ll buy the house across the street and have a studio there. Maybe I’ll train the parrot to bark like a guard dog.”
By the time I finished drawing the parrot I figure I could train the parrot to sing my top ten favorite soul songs. Then I watched the Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill and decided I couldn’t cage a parrot — unless it was disabled — hmmm.
This last entry was from a relatively normal day mood wise. I got the newsletter from the Women’s Caucus for Art and it had a wonderful photograph of an Indian girl in dance regalia, so I pasted in my journal. Unfortunately, I forgot to write down the name of the photographer, so if anyone out there knows, let me know. I did a quick painting with ink gouache and watercolor pencils. I loved the festive color and melancholy expression — and how much she looked like a bird that needs to fly away soon.
Here is my year 2012 in journals:
Eight 9×12″ journals, and 7 portable Moleskines. I learned a lot about myself, writing and drawing. Did I produce anything of merit? Only time will tell. But the time spent on them helped me fly steadily through the year.