By Robert K. Foster
I’ve had a journal of one sort or another since I was a teenager, or possibly earlier. Being male, but having three sisters, I quickly learned that it was not a manly thing to have a “diary” so gradually it became my “journal.” I no longer have my early attempts at journaling but I do remember having one with an actual lock on it with a wrap around strap. Not manly at all. As far as I can remember most of my early writings were simply descriptions of what I had done that day.
My early interest in journals stemmed in part from books I read like the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, and others whose titles I’ve forgotten, where finding clues about some childhood mystery was the focus of the story. Writing things down in a notebook, like a junior reporter, and keeping track of clues figured prominently in many of these stories. The need for keeping a record of things happening in a person’s life became something important to me. Somehow one’s life can seem a little more interesting than it actually is when you take the time to write about it.
For me, I have always been an avid reader of books of all kinds. After being taught penmanship and writing in my various schools while growing up, and having read many books, it seemed only natural that I should also try and write myself. Early in junior high school I was even able to take a course in using the typewriter — the olde fashioned kind with ink ribbons and paper. Unfortunately that’s a clue to my age. Little did I know that one day my skill and knowledge of the typewriter would be so important in the new, digital age. I’ve never thought of myself as a writer and yet I have always written.
My journaling has been an on-again-off-again sort of thing over the years but I always seem to gravitate back to it. At times it is my therapy session, or a descriptive itinerary of an important trip that I want to remember, or a way to rant about things that I can’t talk to others about, or simply a way to talk a lot, through writing, without boring somebody else silly. And a journal was always a place to simply experiment with writing itself. Run on sentences, garbled sentences, quick attempts at poetry, you can write it all in your diary without worrying about the end result.
In my current life I have three types of journals; a pocket journal, a full size journal that goes back and forth between electronic and paper, and a sketchbook for my artwork. Sometimes they meld together and overlap but I find that paper quality and paper size are the important factors. I need a small pocket journal, roughly 3 inches by 5 inches like a Moleskine or similar, that is easy to carry so I can always have something with me to make quick notes in or even quick sketches. I need a larger journal for longhand writing when I need to write something long like a journal entry. And I need a sketchbook with unlined paper that can handle pen, pencil, markers, or water color paint. So I end up needing different volumes for different purposes.
In future I plan to post here in the blog more about the journaling, sketching, and writing life as well as any other topics that may be of interest to you, dear readers. If you have any topics or ideas to suggest please contact us through this website.
Thanks, and Happy Journaling!