Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..

The Journal…

I’m reading this great suspense novel about a travel writer called The Moment by Douglas Kennedy. It struck me as I was posting my last memory vignette about Baseball cards that all you need to do to be a writer is to write. The writer in this book is in his mid-50’s – divorced with one daughter and is continually running away from commitment. Hmmmm…sounds familiar. I can truly relate to this author on multiple levels. I truly hope I still have some some quality years ahead of me after retirement to do more in-depth serious writing. I am very much “over” the teaching and administration work I’ve been doing for the past 30 years, although I have no reason to complain because the college teaching has enabled me to continue exploring my photography, painting and writing. I am just very ready for the next chapter on this short journey we call life.

I’ve been writing in journals since 1972. Hard to believe I have over 40 years of journal entries and about 50 assorted journals and notebooks. The journal is my confidant. The one place I can explore ideas, hash out problems, vent, jot down bits of dreams and essentially work through every issue and concern that comes across my path. My journals contain a raw soup of disparate content, ideas, pain, joy, sadness and a good deal of confusion and automatic writing.

This is the one place I can problem solve, spill my guts out or just observe/record the world around me.

The bright rays of early morning light busting through the window of the doughnut shop I am sitting in at this very moment, the giggles of a young girl serving donuts and coffee as she chats with her co-workers – the ruffled sound of newspaper pages turned by patrons sitting with their coffee all around me. In other words…the journal is a place to write – to observe – to translate – to explore the internal and external world.

Just like my blog is a place to write, although the difference is I edit my blog posts and am much more selective as to what gets posted to the blog.

I let it all rip with no censorship in my journals. As an artist/photographer I find my journals invaluable tools when it comes to the creative process. A place to conceptualize and new painting or photography project. Writing begets writing! The act of just sitting down to write with no preconceived idea of what I’m going to write about in reality is a catalyst for writing / brainstorming and generating seeds for stories and other creative projects.

I may just have a tiny concept – a thought in my head and the process of working through it by journaling allows meet to expand upon it, develop it – flesh it out and all of a sudden that one thought blossoms into a story, idea for a painting or photographic project.

So yes…I am a writer! I’ve always found it difficult to say this to people. I am a writer. I write! You can be a writer as well. All you need is a journal and a pen or pencil and a quite place to sit and get it all down on paper. Its really not that difficult and you will be surprised how the words begin to flow and pages start to fill up and go to the next page and the next. In a month or two you will be buying a new notebook and then you’ll wake up one day and realize you are a writer. In this digital age you no longer have to go through the traditional publication process to be a writer. There are blogs and self publishing sites like BLURB that will take your writing and design and package it into a beautiful book.

From the journal you can cull ideas and develop them into stories or blog posts. Start a blog for posting your stories and continue the creative process.


3 comments on “The Journal…

  1. eritta
    October 15, 2011

    You telll ’em! You are a writer! Also, you have a fabulous mustache, if the picture is any indication. Anyway, I always found that a lot of the things i wrote with the indication of ‘journaling’ my thoughts made me feel really dumb about myself later in life. Incredulous “oh lord, I can’t believe I actually wrote that downs” came up more than “oh, I remember that…”. So I stopped keeping a daily life journal. XD I figure I’m allowed to forget these things.

  2. keoughp
    October 15, 2011

    If I don’t who will? 🙂 You do make an valid point – I forgot to mention just how much crap you have to sift through in the journals to find those little gems that can be developed and polished into a story or article. Point well taken and thanks for the compliment on the mustache.

  3. souldiaries
    October 15, 2011

    i wish i’d kept more journals, i have snatches of memories on pieces of paper, and some photos, and often the letters or notes people wrote me, but not enough journalling. 40 years of journalling almost wow, patrick, that’s almost older than i am 😉 ps. i think you are a beatiful writer and am so excited for your retirement for all the writing that is to follow.keep writing and i’ll keep readingx

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This entry was posted on October 15, 2011 by in Keough Journal and tagged , , , , .
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