Words in Hard Copy

Tron Journal

This post has been a while coming. Some time ago, I filled another journal with words and remembrances from my life. You may remember this journal from its previous appearance in Crafty Learning, which was all about the misadventures of using expired house paint and a homemade stencil. It got… interesting.

Despite the artistic mishap, or maybe because of it, I had been looking forward to filling this one for a while. (Do I say that with every one?) It was the last of the journals gifted from a friend, and it had been well loved before it came into my possession. It deserved to be completed. And so I did.

It contains less fiction than many of them, like the previous one. Separation and life and global pandemic and and and… I’ve done more streaming than writing in the past few years, and have used that space for a lot of the things I’ve long used writing for. It’s been a great emotional and creative outlet, with the added benefit of hanging out with friends, in a time when hanging out is a dangerous thing to do.

Back of filled journal

By no means am I abandoning writing, of course. The stories in my head still need to be let out, and putting words on the page still brings me joy. I’m already loving putting words in the new journal. I’m still looking for an artist for the next chapter of my webcomic; I’ve still got editing the next installment of Adam’s Name next in line on my writing to-do list. It’s been slow, but there’s a big difference between a trickle and dried-up.

I think this journal was intended to be a bound sketchbook when it was made. The pages are thick and yellowed with age, and are unlined. It held my thoughts and mementos just as well as it would have illustrations, as far as I’m concerned. I first used it, as I have in several, for an idea that was different enough from my usual fare that I decided to put it in a journal of its own. That idea never panned out (but it was good!), so there’s a large gap between the first few entries, and when I began using it as my go-to writing destination.

Thank you, journal, for receiving my attempts at craftiness and art, my stickers, little mementos of my life, and most of all, my words.

Filled a Gifted Journal

Decepticon journal

I have this thing with gifts. If I’m given something, I keep it. I use it. Or, in rare cases, I gift it again so that it can find a better home. This applies to all sorts of things, from feathered boas to stuffed animals… to journals from Wal-Mart. Like the one I talk about in Craft and Links.

It’s a cheap journal bought from a place that makes me feel dirty just thinking about it. BUT! It was a gift from a good friend, at the time, so I wrote in it. And I wrote in it. And I wrote some more. The dates between first and last post span about four and a half years, and the blog post about finishing the last journal was posted at about the same time.

The journal is quite thick, and its pages are as thin as newsprint. I never had the time (nor inclination) to count them, but there were a lot. I’m proud of filling this one up, and I’m grateful that the binding didn’t come apart until the very end. It took a hell of a beating, a lot of words, and a lot of coffee stains. Four and a half years of ticket stubs, convention badges, wedding place setting tags, diner grease, couples therapy homework, journaling, and of course, fiction. I’m moving to this one, and am looking forward to filling it with more of the same.


IMG_0050My parents gave me this journal. It was a Christmas gift, if I remember correctly. I was living on Fairview. It came in its own box, the same color as the cover. I remember being enthralled with the ribbon bookmark, the stamped leather cover, and the gold leafing on the edges of the pages.

This journal was simply too fancy for me to desecrate with my chicken scratchings.  How could I possibly taint it with anything less than perfect handwriting?  What if I spilled coffee on it, or got diner grease on the pages?  Those were badges of pride in my second hand or homemade journals, but seemed offensive in this work of art.

This journal was NICE.

It spent a year or two collecting dust in that house, and then in storage, and then in my nerd cave in the Bancroft house.  A couple of months after the move to Bradley Ave, I picked it up, brushed the dust off of the gold leafing, and steeled myself.  I took my collection of convention badges and ribbons and taped them throughout.  It no longer shut properly.  The gold had gaps in it.  When it opened, the pages naturally parted to multicolored evidence of nerdy shenanigans.  It was no longer too nice for me, and I could write in its pages with abandon.  I had given myself permission.

I’m glad I did.  The pages are thick and solid.  They’re a bit glossy, creating issues with some pens, but work fine with most.  The ribbon bookmark frayed slowly at the end, but never enough to impede its function.  It’s been an absolute joy to write in.  Somehow, it avoided both grease and coffee stains.

And just in case you’re interested, they’re still made.  In Dublin.  I highly recommend them.

Crafty learning

photoI’ve learned something from this little project. I’ve learned not to use paint left in my house by the previous owner, that has likely gone bad, with a stencil project. No matter how much you stir the paint, the oily and watery parts will seep beneath the stencil, and into the parts of the cover that have been scored by what looks to be a mechanical pencil tip, and create a mess.

It’s a neat-looking mess. Once it dried (four days!), I put the stencil back on, and went over it with a black marker. Marker doesn’t usually stay on paint, I’ve been told, but the black dry erase marker that I used (hey, it was just sitting there, on my desk, unused and unloved) seems to have gone permanent. I’m not gonna complain.

The symbol is from Tron: Uprising, though modified slightly for stenciling. The end look makes me think of graffiti, which ties in nicely with the last few episodes of the first season of the show. Silver lining!

I’m pretty happy with all of my journals now, so my next craft project will likely involve a Dresden Codak patch and my new work backpack.

Warped and Full of Words

IMAG0390Last month, I filled up another journal.

This one was another gift from the ex-in-laws, and is the last of that bunch. I’m pretty sure that I don’t have any more felt-covered and lined journals. While I’ve most definitely appreciated them, it feels good to be finishing. There’s a sense of completeness about it, on a whole lot of levels.

This one was given to me the night of my first wedding, at the after party (at which we drank the bar out of Jagermeister), in which to chronicle the honeymoon adventures that were about to be sprung on us. In it was a bookmark made out of the tartan fabric that we’d used for our hand fasting cord. The bookmark had been knotted at the top with a stamped metal disc. The first pages were indeed given over to the original and intended purpose of the book, but after the trip was completed, no more was written about it.

The rest of the journal is filled with the Glass Crown, the Remembrance rewrite, and miscellaneous journalings. I hit some serious writer’s block with the Chapter 2 rewrite, and I really questioned whether I wanted to continue tackling it. The opportunity to write a scene in which a unicorn gored an innocent bystander pushed me through most of that, in the end.

I was worried, when I started writing in this one, that its past purpose and associations would hinder my progress, perhaps by being something I’d be hesitant to write in. Then I left it on the kitchen table over night.  Nicodemus, the cat with a death wish, tipped over one of the kid’s cups, as he is wont to do when they are full of water. By the next morning, when we discovered the mess, the journal was soaked. I let it dry for several days, but by then the damage was done. Water damage, specifically. Bowed covers, wrinkled pages, and a slightly warped binding. Considering the way that I feel about my notebooks, Nikki was intensely apologetic (the cat is hers) and was surprised when I told her that I was happy that it had happened.

It was like a new book! The pages had a different texture, it sat differently when I wrote in it, and the paper even crinkled in a new way. I was no longer writing in the honeymoon journal from my first marriage. I was writing in a journal irrevocably stamped by my new(er) life and family. And by that god damn cat. The pages were no longer monotonous machine-printed exact copies of each other. Every page was different than the one before it and the one that came after.

And now, I lay to rest the journal that was once transformed, transfigured, and a little bit soggy. May it rest in peace.

On my shelf.

Next to my other journals.

Now that it’s dry.