An Everything Book

A conversation that I had last night with Bean got me thinking about how people use the visual journal, and I think that many times people pigeon-hole themselves into a certain way of working in the journal - which is perfectly ok, and the journal needs to be what it needs to be for people - but often we need to give ourselves permission to do something different in our journals. Often times artists get caught up feeling like every page needs to be a finished work of art. Writers get caught up feeling like they need to have only their best writing in the journal, and everyone gets caught up in their habits and their way of working. For Dave and myself, the journal is an everything book. It is a place to create art, a place to capture memories and thoughts, a place to experiment with images, words, and media, a place to take notes and work out ideas. In short it is - to steal a Keri Smith quote - "A Portable Life Museum". To that end I wanted to say something about documenting our daily journey through this world, and give people permission to include the mundane in their journal.

Fodder is a great way to document our daily lives - even the mundane elements of our lives. Collecting paper menus, business cards, maps, and even chewing gum packs or a to-do list is a great way to document and remember our lives. The above image is a photo of my open journal with fodder already glued in and it's all about the recent Cincinnati trip. So, there is the boarding pass for the flight from DC to Cinci, the LaRosa's Pizzeria comment card, the Lost Coast Brewery coaster from Dewey's, the airline luggage barcode sticker, and finally under the Extra gum pack is the spiralling tree cutout that I made of Bean's tree she drew in my journal - which is appropriate since she grew up in Cincinnati right around the area where the publisher's offices are. On top is a bunch of loose fodder waiting to be glued in throughout the journal.

So, these items may not have any significance to others, but every time I see them, I'll remember bowling at the Strikes and Spares Bowling Lanes, or trekking over to the Kroger grocery store, or paying 90 bucks for an overweight bag at the airport because I had six large journals in my luggage on the way back.

So give yourself permission to include the mundane or make something ugly or just to be human and make mistakes. But in the end, it is you who will need to decide how to use the journal, and it will become what it needs to become.