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Authentic | InAuthentic

"The universe is change;
life is your perception of it."
~Marcus Aurelius

stitched travel journals

In my travel journal, I wrote about the day-to-day play-by-play of the trip, where we went, who we saw, funny things that happened. Just choreograph it to Shiny Happy People and dance. But what happens to the stuff you don't document? You can't write everything, can you? Write the happy stuff. It's easier. Less sticky and ucky and messy. Isn't your journal more "you" with "real" stuff? This has been going through my mind. The idea of what we choose to write and what we don't choose to write.

For more on the concept of authenticity in art journaling see On Secrets and Journal Victories from Wild Thyme Creative. You'll also find insight in True Vision: Authentic Art Journaling. One of my favorite raw yet beautiful journals is Sabrina Ward Harrison's Spilling Open: The Art of Becoming Yourself

I'm definitely not there yet. I find it hard to write about sad feelings, like going through my dad's attic. Old stuffed animals. Letters home from Penn State. Other unmentionables. Ooh, too serious, enough of that! I feel like anything serious I write will seem ridiculous and ordinary, not really describing the true feelings. I touched on this in Write About the Bad Things Too.

What do|don't you write about?

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Reader Comments (9)

how i'd love to see a book with all of your projects in it!

09.24.2010 | Unregistered Commenteraimee

There are just some things I cant write in my journal.some secrets have to stay locked forever. Love the journal and they way you photographed it.

09.24.2010 | Unregistered Commenterlee

I have the opposite sort of problem - I write about all the gunky stuff; it's cathartic for me. I write in sprial notebooks (separate from my "art" journal) and feel free to write whatever I want because I usually shred them after a time (could be 5 years, could be 10). I have a hard time writing about the happy stuff, because when I'm happy I don't feel the pull or need ... I'm too busy being happy!

I love looking at other people's journals (such a high privilege) I'm really less concerned with what they're writing about (good, bad, otherwise) and more enamored with the expressiveness. I love it all - the good, the not so good, and the really awful.

Spilling Open is also a favorite. I'm always struck by just how personal it is - how willing she is to reveal her insecurities, but I'm glad she did.

09.24.2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeannine

I have lots of different journals, one is for the "bad" stuff. I tend to actually do those pages on loose papers and then either destroy them or glue them into that particular journal. I don't want to worry about what would happen if "security was breached". ;)

09.24.2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulie K in Taiwan


Well... I was clear as mud in the post.

It's my art journal pages, seen by others, where I don't feel comfy writing serious stuff. My art journal is the place I like to play, and I like to look back at the pages and see happy stuff...

I DO write about bad/sad stuff in my handwritten journal. It might be freeing to pitch the pages, as you guys have suggested.

09.24.2010 | Registered Commentergypsy

I always find this interesting because my writing, and even my art journaling, comes much more often out of sorrow than out of joy. One thing I've been trying to work on is journaling when I'm actually HAPPY - which is the majority of the time, but somehow I tend to get much more out of the sad times!

09.24.2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

I can't wait to see more of the travel journal! I just spent the day altering a book with Orly Avineri. What a fun class. I can't wait to dig into it. It is going to be about my "family" by that I mean my family and my chosen family.

I have yet to really do a lot of writing in my journals, partly because I am not there yet with sharing feelings in my journals and the other is I tend to be more of a visual journaler, a word or two works or a few words. I also don't really care for my penmanship... THAT is the biggest... how's that for honest! I admire you and your blog, journaling soooo much!

09.25.2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Kasstle

Tammy, Thanks again for the link over to wild thyme. :) I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that you like to "look back and see happy stuff..." Somewhere along the way, I was sorting and classifying all the different way that I journal. I had an art journal, a book journal, a calendar/planner journal - probably 5 or 6 different books. I was driving myself crazy! Inevitably, I wouldn't have the book I wanted with me...which started me with the bits and scraps that I promised myself I would get to the right place but never did. I just wanted things all in one place.

Anyway, this past year I've kept everything in one book. I started on Jan 1, 2010 and I'm on book number 5 for the year. I've used different books and have learned heaps of things I like and don't like, but it has been freeing to have it all in one place. {The final hold out, is my morning pages. I do keep those separate, but I'm very close to putting those in THE BOOK too.} Here's are some thoughts and photos about how I currently write my morning pages:

morning pages at wild thyme

Thanks again for all the beautiful work that you share here at Daisy Yellow. ~betsy

Although most of my pages are happy, with positive quotes etc., (I write everything and anything in my journals) I have noticed that I am writing a lot more about the bad in my life. Another observation is that I write the bad stuff backwards. I guess it's my way of keeping it relatively hidden. Many people will skim through my journals, but don't want to take the time to decipher my backward writing. Also known as mirror writing.

09.27.2010 | Unregistered CommenterLotus Vele

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