Beliefnet
Beginner's Heart

It’s all done — the build-up of lists & wrapping & shopping & cooking. The family from out of town have departed, or (if you’re that family) you’re home again, and back to work. You’ve written (maybe even already broken? :)) your resolutions, and the whole world is missing its red & green, its blue & silver & gold…

What now?

I recommend a journal. Seriously. Find a book — it needn’t be a fancy hand-made Italian leather, w/ handsewn pages. It can be what teachers call a ‘cow book’ — a dollar-store black&white composition book. It can be a Moleskine (mine are). It can be a spiral or an online app or whatever you like. It’s the writing that’s important, not the written in.

Use it as an excuse to buy a new inkpen — roller ball, fountain pen, or a freshly sharpened pencil w/ a knife-edge point. Take a moment to list a few things you’re grateful for already this year. Jot down something you’d like to accomplish (don’t make it as fancy as a ‘resolution’…). Doodle or draw in the margin, and you’re set. You’ve started a journal.

My son asked me last night if I could fit everything I need in five boxes. “NO!” I said in utter horror at the thought. And then I reconsidered… What would I fill my boxes with? First, he had to kid me (we have those kids…): What if the box is as big as your house, Mom? And yes, this is a grown man. Sort of…

Given five U-Haul boxes, of medium-large size, I know I would put into one my journals. They pre-date the birth of the son who asked me about my boxes: there is a list of what I needed to buy on a trip to England, from where we were living in Saudi Arabia…And I still grieve for journals left on planes, stolen from luggage, lost to carelessness. Each as valuable as if it had lived its own singular life.

Over the years my journals have filled small hardback books (3×5, 4×7), leather-bound refillables, Moleskines, & the lovely books friends & family have given me. I’ve settled on Moleskines, as I like their durability, the pocket for mementoes, their size. This year my elder son & daughter-in-law bought me an e-version, complete w/ stickers for referencing online. Another chapter!

I hope this year’s journal is full of birds — the sketch book is where I’ll be doing my work, but I figure my journal (always with me) will see some spillover. It will also be full of poetry starts, lists to organise me, pasted-in cartoons & weather forecasts & who knows what? That’s half the fun — looking forward from this side of the empty pages to that side of the full ones ~  If you just pick out a book & start, when 2014 comes, it will be full. Who knows? You  may even have filled TWO!

 

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