We now continue with yesterday’s entry

photo-2My favorite is a larger journal, about 8×10, so I’ve got some space to work and can rest my wrist right on the page. I like when the pages lay flat so I don’t have to fight to keep the journal open as I write. I have two that seem to be more of a twine binding rather than glue, and these open up beautifully to accept what you have to say. The flip side of a larger journal is that they can be too heavy. “Goldilocks” reminded us that we all want everything just right. Weight is important.

As for paper, I find Steve Martin said it best in Roxanne before he begins writing love letters, Cyrano-style, to Daryl Hannah’s character, the rocket scientist. “You want a good paper,” he says, “one that really soaks up the ink.”

I’ll only add that smooth texture counts. If my pen has to stumble over whatever pretty thing they put in the paper, like dried flowers or leaves or cotton fibers, I’m out of there. (And don’t get me started on pens that don’t write smoothly. A pen’s entire function is to write, so let the ink flow! If I have to push and pull and coddle the pen into doing its job then it’s working against me and regardless of how lovely the pen is or how it’s the perfect circumference for my fingers and the right weight in my hand, it’s absolutely useless. And ink? Ink should be blue. And it should be ink ink. I refuse to write with gel ink. It smears, which is just shameful.)

The one pictured is my favorite; a gift from great friends. It has every attribute I could think of: easy strap opening that closes tight enough to hold napkin scribbles, a loop for a pen, pages that lay flat when open, paper with no lines that really absorbs ink, a decent weight to the journal as a whole without being rigid or a brick to carry around.

I do have a point to all this rambling. Journals can be so beautiful or arduous that I don’t want to write in them. Really the fear is that I’ll mess up and have to scribble or [gulp] tear something out of my beautiful journal. But, hear me now: Writing is about messing up. It’s about taking risks and trying new things and opening up your mind to the chaos and beauty that’s in there. You have to get through the embarrassment of stumbling in order to make the great discoveries.

Sometimes the mess gets me nowhere. Other times the mess goes everywhere and I realize the exact thing I needed to say. Like your favorite aunt, a good journal invites you in and lets you explore your mental horizons freely. It encourages and doesn’t get involved. You can come over, make a mess, learn something about yourself and the world, and as you pack it all up again, receive a hug for effort and a cookie. With frosting.

My first book, Upside Down Kingdom, is available on Amazon. I’ll sign it for you.