"I Was A Jerk Who Preferred The Sea": Guest Blog

 Jennifer of The Novelista Barista just got back from a vacation in Jamaica, and asked for guest bloggers while she was gone.  I sent her a post about traveling, journals, and my time studying abroad in Spain.  Here is the post I wrote for her, and I'm so excited to see it on her lovely blog!

Quoted throughout most of my journal, and the title of this post:

"Promising Light" by Iron and Wine.  Any surprise I taught myself this other song as soon as I knew the chords?

About a month ago, I was perusing my blog reader when I stumbled upon a post in the Live Journal group jr_nal.  A girl had posted her diary writing and collages from a trip to Turkey, pressed into the pages of a Miquelrius book, known for their soft covers and lightly lined graph paper.

Having grown up as a military brat, I traveled all over the world, keeping pages and pages of scribbles, art work, and scrap book memorabilia to document my trips.  In ninth grade, I lived in Izmir, Turkey, so her mentions of the almost ghostly call to prayer at 6 a.m., and the incessant meowing of street cats written next to pieces of an apple tea container brought back, literally, volumes of memories.

When I studied abroad in Malaga, Spain, in college, I took with me a similar Miquelrius notebook that I bought at Barnes and Noble before my trip.  After reading her post, I decided to pull it out and share some of the pages, hoping to remind myself what it feels like to find everything about a new place wonderful - movie ticket stubs, embossed napkins, postcards, photographs of sunsets - with the thought that maybe I can inspire myself to find a similar wonderment amongst the artifacts of my current daily life.

Here are a handful of pages I found in my Spain diary:


As I've grown up I have stopped journaling this way.  I am not sure if this is for lack of time due to work, boyfriends, Gossip Girl reruns, or simply because I do not value spending time alone with myself, a blank book, and the fragments of days I want to preserve the same way I used to.  Trite as it may sound, I often hear Ally Sheedy's voice in my head, when, in the movie The Breakfast Club, she says, "when you grow up, your heart dies,"  which I can't help but feel to be true when I choose more "practical" pursuits over saving the bits and pieces of my day and pressing them into books with the hope of creating something lovely.

I know I do not want that to be true of myself, and that may be the only thing I know for certain at this point of my life, straddling the line of young adult and full fledged adult the same way I used to stand between being a teenager and a young adult, like a person frozen between two railroad tracks with the sound of a horn in the distance.

There are some beautiful inspirations for art journaling in the world, and I mean to revisit these to help me return to a once-favorite hobby.  Dan Eldon, the photojournalist killed in Africa, kept intricate, layered pages of journals that chronicled his travels across Africa's continent.  There are art books dedicated to the beauty of journals, and even friendly tips to be found on how to keep travel and scrapbook journaling part of your writing routine. 

While rereading entries written only a few years ago in actuality, but what feels like centuries ago, can be both embarrassing and humbling, it's moving me to pick up a book with a blank page, a pair of scissors, a pen, and go outside to try and see my day as something beautiful, and worthy of both exploration and preservation.