I just got finished spending way to much time on a blog written by a witty southerner and I learned that all my life, my ENTIRE life, I've been spelling "y'all" wrong. I always thought it was "ya'll". Don't ask me why and since it's not like I use it in on a regular daily basis or anything, I'm guessing it's probably okay. But still, to find out I was wrong all this time??!?!!.....
Anyway, dark and rainy days here. Thick and wet and cold. I pulled out the parka so Dog and I could go for an early morning walk.................................................................DOG!!! Just as I was writing the word "dog" I realized that I'd forgotten that she was at the groomers! They'd called an hour ago and said she was ready to be picked up. It was right about that same flurry of time when the wild ponies get home from school and are starving and racing to be the first the the bathrooms and dropping their backpacks mid pathway. So, you see, it's reasonable that one would forget amidst all that, right? I'm not a bad dogmom, honest. I stopped mid-blog-post-typing to run pick her up. She's back, all is well. Chaos resumes as usual.
Aaaaaanyway, a walk along the river. Cold, heavily misted. The kind of mist that isn't rain but that soaks your freshly dried hair in no time flat. You can feel it seep through the tops of the toes of your shoes. Keeps you awake while you walk along the soothing river's edge. Such a walk is best followed by a small breakfast tucked in the booth of a high-ceiling'd diner on main street. You'll share company with an elderly couple, a few high school senior girls clad in over sized sweats and messy buns in their hair, unshowered and beautiful anyway. A short and stalky tatoo'd trucker type will hold the door when you walk in and you'll hear all about his sick kids and how his wife is working extra hours and how he's worried she'll get sick if she doesn't get more rest. The waitress with the permanent smile, contagious laugh and long, black braid, will stay fully engaged in this conversation with him while not missing a beat - serving plates of french toast, pouring coffee (or in my case, tea) and wiping tables. She even manages to chat with all the other customers somewhere in between the tatoo'd man's bites.
I sit alone in a booth, usually facing main street but this time the other way. Facing the row of tall, narrow mirrors on the back wall. Strangly with the same view as if I were sitting facing Main Street. I'm grateful the ambience is lacking and that I'm not bossom buddies with anyone who works there. That way I can write in quiet, undisturbed. I'm not tempted to visit or to eat everything on the menu instead. I sip tea, eat cheap toast, and write in my journal. I haven't fully confessed the relationship of me and my journal to you all. I've alluded to it here and there, even told you about my mom's journals (over 100 now, I think). But never have I REALLY told you of my journals.
While being fully present at Journalfest, I saw as many versions of journals as there were people there. Each and every one beautiful, honest, decadent, raw. I kept mine tucked away most of the time. They didn't seem to fit there. You see, my journals are very plain jane. They are the Laura Ingallses of the Nellie Olsens of journals. Make sense? I saw page after painted page. Visual journals that were something akin to an out of body experience, or at least a severe case of catnip high. My pages were filled with line upon line of black ink on white pages. Messy, written quickly, usually. I rely heavily on the practice of journaling to save me from tripping myself up with tangled thoughts. I start out most days with this practice. Sometimes it's for an hour. Sometimes for five minutes. Often I find myself penning something in it during the middle of the day. I love catching bits of a conversation I find intriguing or funny or jotting down something profound I just heard on an audio book or something. Journal generally lives in my purse but also follows me out to the studio when I plan a stretch of time out there.
I taught a class at Journalfest that was a true test of my bravery. It was a class I've had in mind for over a couple of years now in various stages of incarnation. It needed the right venue and so was kept on the back burner....all the while the concept burning a hole in my heart in a good, "i dare you" sort of way. Who would want it? Who would love it like I do?
In the meantime I've become known for teaching plaster or renegade metalsmithing and with each sucessful class and student requests for more of the same thing, I felt more and more trepidation around the idea of teaching a journal writing class. I would get "oh, I'm not a journaler. I do jewelry" or "I don't write. I paint". That kind of thing that creates a very strong, rigid label. I remember months ago, almost a year now, submitting this class to Teesha and Tracy Moore who are the visionaries behind Journalfest (and Artfest) and feeling like it was a do or die kind of thing. I knew that THIS was the venue where this class would fit, if anywhere. And so I printed and filled out the proposal form, sent a few snapshots of my black and white journalpages, stuck a family of stamps on the envelope, and passed it over the counter to the lady at the post office. I sighed inside. A bit nervous. This was my ideababy. I wasn't sure if I was ready for it to be rejected. I also knew that if I waited until I was ready, it would forever be gestating.
Fastforward to last week when a room full of beautiful women sat there looking at me as class was ready to begin. You know that kind of sigh that is quick and deep - the kind that says "here we go!!" I had one of those. And smiled. And went about this class in the most honest and brave way I knew how. I was NOT going to fake anything here. This was my chance of all chances to really share what I love. What I love even more than the plaster working and metalsmithing. I wanted to do it standing in full authenticity. The women responded with incredible, simple writings. Honest, pure, funny, raw, engaging. I was and still am so inspired by what they brought to that room that day. I thank each and every one of them from the bottom of my hearts. (This is not to say that my book making class was not as equally as wonderful in a chaotic, busy sort of way. It was amazing too. I'm just saving it for a different post). :)
I've been thinking of offering an online workshop for quite some time now and had been wrestling with what I knew i needed it to be. I knew, on a-not-so-subconscious level, that this journal writing class, "Unraveling Word" was the class. I knew that I was not ready to foray into trying to teach one to solder with a torch via the web. That's no easy feat, I'm sure. But after teaching my Word class at Journalfest, the demons of denial reared their head and told me square on that THIS was the class to share. That it was...IS...time to share this love with others. Even as I write this, I feel a flutter in my chest. It's always a little interesting to confess a deep love. One is never quite sure what the wind will do with it. "Please be gentle" I say to it. And then I also know that the wind can only carry truth and if this is part of my truth, I trust it completely.
And so, what I'm leading into saying with all these long, drawn out words, is that I am preparing an online class in its actuality as we speak. I'm so thrilled to offer it to those who find it calls to them. I will start out easy. Approachable. But I will work to stretch you. You'll be surprised by how comfortable stretching can be if you are willing. You might find it expands you creatively in ways you'd never imagined. You will find that it can be paired with any artistic approach you currently love engaging in.
Here's what it will look like. One blog. Four weeks. A weekly lesson backed up with daily, yes, DAILY, in depth thoughts, prompts, quotes, interviews of other regular journalers and more. There will be no supply list other than your pen and journal. Maybe a little stash of mad money for gas so that you can drive yourself to a diner like mine here and there for some writing time. I'm working towards podcasts and hope to have them a part of it as well. BTW, if any of you are genius at podcasting and are working on a Mac, I'd love to know your prefered way of doing it. I'm looking at a few options and am not quite sure which way to go. I'm hoping for a Dec. first start date but will keep you posted. Please drop me a line if you have any questions.
This class is designed for everyone. Not just writers. Not just those who are looking for a purpose in life. This isn't heavy lifting. Not yet. This is greasing the bearings. This is what makes the heavy lifting not so heavy. But don't be surprised if a little grease is all it takes for a big shift. Maybe it's more about keeping a momentum of practice than it is about writing to nail down insight right NOW. And of course, there will be fun. I have giveaways planned and interaction in the que. I hope you join me....and thanks for hanging in there to the end of this post.
A page from one plain jane. A page of things I overheard stacked there next to taped down dandilion umbrellas found at the foothills of wildflower covered mountains somewhere between Utah and Yellowstone.