A journal offers a blank canvas to a writer or artist and gives the gift of a very pure space upon which to create. With each turn of the page there is the possibility of a new perspective with the ability to go back and reminisce.
Timely Messages – A Brief History of Written Communication
For millennia mankind has sought ways to preserve stories and keep records. The earliest recorded messages are pictograms and cuneiforms that told stories through etchings of people, animals, landscapes and events. The evolution of ‘written’ communication reached a pinnacle in approximately 1500 BC when the Phoenicians created the first alphabet. It consisted of 22 consonants, but no vowels until Greeks added the first vowels late in the ninth century. Then through Roman refinement came the alphabet we’re familiar with today.
Journaling is a form of self expression
Our modern age has introduced online journaling, or blogging, and there are many who commit to telling their personal stories via this medium. Then there are those who believe to remove the technology is to impart the humanity in a very traditional form of composition. With just the writer a pen and a paper, something very transparent begins to emerge. There is no audience or deadline, and what is left is the ability to be genuine and raw in a way that truly reveals the heart of a matter.
Once the decision to journal is made, there are so many different subjects to choose from: travel, food, books, family; truly the list is endless. But journals don’t have to be specific, they can simply be a way to chronicle each day as it comes or record each season of life. A journal can be added to daily or weekly, or just pulled out when the need arises or an idea is sparked.
Journals are not just for words. Artists can paint or sketch what’s in their heart, photographers can capture images and paste them in a booklet, and musicians can write notes to a melody dancing around in their imaginations. Many types of journals combine words and art. Scrapbooks are a type of journal that chronicle stories through the artistic application of photographs with brief stories and decorative pages. Nearly everyone journals in one form or another. There are no rules, only the invitation to share openly what is in the mind or on the heart. Many want a means to document life in a way that gives the ability to go back and reflect on history or remember ideas and inspirations. Because of the freedom in this form of expression, borders, grammar, sentence structure, even etiquette are unimportant and sometimes breaking the rules is essential to the creative process.
Some Fresh Ideas
Journals make a wonderful gift, and not just when they’re blank. When a baby is born, parents often begin a journal that marks the milestones in the life of their child, often times through to the end of their school years. A journal can also be a letter written to a child every year on the eve of their birthday then given to them as they graduate high school or university, or on their wedding day. A journal that archives the stages in the life of a married couple makes a wonderful gift from a child to a parent at an important anniversary. A guest book at the family cabin can be a journal that records all the visitors over the years. A holiday journal can be pulled out every Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas and new photos and keepsakes can be added as each year passes.
In the end, a journal teaches us something about ourselves, what we believe, what we value, how we think. It links us to the past through the thread of stories, pictures or melodies woven into the tapestry of a life well lived and shared, even if only with oneself. In an age where electronic communications prevail, writing with a pen on good paper is a small, daily luxury worth indulging in.