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Posts Tagged ‘journals’

Pretty new journals

I’m not sure why I bought them. I have more than enough empty journals already. But they were on display by the checkout line in Borders on Sunday. I know they were placed solely for the impulse buyer. But I just loved the colors and they have a nifty elastic band to keep your place. It’s not like someone would come in to the store and say, “Hmmm I need a new journal. I’m going to look by the checkout line.” Of course not. They want people to go far into the store to find their treasured empty book. No, I’m sure there was a whole display of different journals somewhere else in the store – or at least what was left of the journal display. But these lovely items caught my eye as I balanced my stack of books.

Aren’t they pretty? The color combinations were all so fabulous, I couldn’t pick just one. And I’ve learned from experience that if you find a journal that suits you – binding, textures, colors, paper – inevitably you will never find it again. And these books actually lay flat. It is absolutely impossible for me to write in a book that does not lay flat, which is why I typically use spiral journals rather than bound ones.

Considering I did not need another journal, I could’ve limited my  indulgence purchase to one. But I knew I would just love writing in this journal and once it was filled up I would want another one. And with Borders closing where was I going to find another? Plus they were 50% off!

So now I have three new, very pretty, empty journals. I’m not quite sure how I will use them. In addition to my blank screen everyday, now I am faced with three blank books. Lately I’ve been doing much more writing on the computer.  Evernote is fabulous – I keep notes, blogs, websites, recipes and more – all in nifty, easily organized digital notebooks.

But not everything can be kept on my computer. I write notes about my students in a spiral notebook. Despite my attempts to put all To Do lists (school and home) on the computer with Wunderlist, I find myself preferring notebooks. Crossing things off a list is much more satisfying than tapping a box on my iPod Touch. And yes, I am one of those people who adds things to my list that I’ve already done just to cross them off.

These journals are a little too pretty to fill with plain old To Do lists. For now the littlest book has found a place in my purse for the sole purpose of keeping myself sane. I always find that ideas pop into my head when I am out of the house – ideas about blog posts or something for my classroom – and I have to write them down immediately or I know I will forget them.

I’m sure I’ll figure how to fill them. For now, I’m just going to enjoy my pretty new journals.

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The blank screen

I began writing this blog because I feel it’s important that teachers – especially those who teach writing – should be comfortable putting words on paper. As I’ve mentioned before, I have never been one of those people who is comfortable writing. In fact, until I started this blog I avoided writing as much as I could. I majored in math to avoid writing intensive subjects. I use a form letter for thank you notes. I have my husband or kids write the Christmas letter the years when we actually send one out. And despite all my avoidance techniques, I will record our family happenings because I think it’s important to preserve memories.  I jot down something funny the boys have said or done. I record the daily details of a trip – where we went, what we saw, what we learned. I journal simple entries in the scrapbooks I make filled with hundreds of pictures -after all a picture is worth a thousand words (that I don’t have to write).

Ironically, I’ve always wanted to keep a journal. I love perusing the shelves of blank books at bookstores.  A book of lists. A diary. A trip journal. A memory keeper. A sketch book. A reader’s record. The bindings are sewn, glued or spiral. The paper is lined, blank, or has a grid. The covers are solid colors, flowered, feature a picture, cite a quote, or are simply beautiful leather. All these wonderful choices there for me to find the perfect journal. I pick up my favorites and feel the various textures of the covers and paper. I open them, longing to fill the pages with scribblings and stories. But then I have nothing to say. Or I think, what if I write my most secret thoughts and then I’m hit by a bus. Someone is going to read those pages and laugh. Or what if someone’s feelings are hurt because I was venting my anger on that page. I can’t bear to think of it! The few times I have tried to keep a journal, I wrote a few entries then ripped them up into tiny pieces.

I’ve started other types of journals – ones that are not so personal. Notes about teaching and learning. A list of books I’ve read. Excerpts and quotations from books. A collection of poems and prayers. But these journals were really records of what other people said or wrote.  These journals were not my words, they were someone else’s words.

I wanted to become comfortable with my own words and I began to write this blog. Thus far it’s been a great deal of fun and therapeutic at times. I’ve written entries about teaching, my dog, Cool Whip, Nantucket and books.  I was beginning to think writing on the computer isn’t as overwhelming as writing on paper. The ease with which I type (and self-correct) seems to help overcome any anxiety I’ve had with physically putting my words on paper in just the right way.

Today, however, I opened up a new post and this blank white screen stared back at me. I had nothing to say. I had nothing to write. I searched my brain. Nope, nothing. I looked at my recent photos. Nothing jumped out at me. I started innumerable sentences only to delete them. I said to myself, “UGH! This is why I hate writing.” I was so frustrated! There is no difference between a blank page and a blank screen!

Then I began to write about how I had nothing in particular to write and all of a sudden I had my blog entry for today.

When my Kindergarteners tell me they are done writing after five minutes I say in my best Dory voice, “Just keep writing. Just keep writing. Just keep writing, writing, writing.” And that’s exactly what I did today.

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