Friday, July 31, 2009

pages from the summer journal

yesterday reya opened another window onto the reyaverse.
this was in response to a meme that is floating in blogspace connected to handwriting.

here's a disclaimer up front.
my handwriting is in summer mode which means that it is scruffy and moving more from my fingers than my wrist. so what i have to share here has more to do with the place of vulnerability reya went to in sharing a page of her journal than in sharing exemplary sweetly formed handwriting.


the summer opens out big spaces and big time for me.

i need it.
the rest of my year is comprised of very tiny, very detailed spaces and time. in the big space of summer, i can breath and step back and see the little pieces as they form into what i am, what i am doing and most important of all - i get a sense of direction.

one part of this summer that i love is my journal. i try to place thirty minutes to one hour in the way of being available to it each day. some days there's not much . . . lots of dribbling. other days i'm really excited. on the 28th i was really aware of things going on around me, espcially those that had a quality of essence about them. on the 29th i was excited to get a book of poetry from harold budd the musician. in it there was a line that just spun me 'round and 'round.

so have a look.

here is the cover of my summer journal.
here is the little plate up close.

here are my journal tools all lined up and ready for another day's work.
here's my entry for july 28th just three days ago!!
(click on the image to reveal my revelations and singular experiences on that day!!)
and here's my entry for july 29th just a couple of days ago.
(same deal! click on the image to see what mattered to me on the 29th!)
here's the little drawing a little closer "your head swathed in stars" . . . here's one!
the rest of harold's book was very lovely.


Loren said...


I wish I had the self-discipline to do that regularly.

Crafty Green Poet said...

this is a lovely journal, well done on committing a set amnount of time to it.... I'm trying to make my diary more journal like but not getting very far with that!

Delwyn said...

Hi Steven

that is an interesting thing to share, it does tell so much about a person...

I have a journal fetish too...but lately have been using great big school exercise books to keep track of all my images and blogging ideas.

Happy writing

jinksy said...

Interesting design; it mimics the intricacy of life, but also encompases its basic blance.

Goldenrod said...

You really pack a lot of stuff into your days, Steven! I enjoyed reading what you had to say about a couple of days in your life. Your "self-absorbed posturing" phrase made me laugh out loud ... so true of some, particularly on the national news.

"The hunched shoulders of a woman who has carried herself through life and feels the empty weight of it all" ... How sad, Steven! It's the word 'empty' that makes it so. Futility ... the meaninglessness of it all ... all that work for nothing ... nothing to show for it ... emptiness. Sad. Depressing, even.

You keenly observe and then record the world around you. You make time for it. Have you always done this, or did you begin a few years before the birth of "Fish"?

Abraham Lincoln said...

Your journals are a lot different than mine. I used to be in business and met a man whose secretary typed up is journal entries at the end of each day. When I knew him he had 21 leather bound journals with gold embossed years on the cover. That inspired me so much that I began keeping journals and my first few were Sports Illustrated Calendars with the girls. I still have them. And then I tried bound books and finally ended up with small (half size) school spiral bound notebooks. I used $800.00 fountain pens and italic calligraphy in the beginning but when the price of gold went up I sold the pens on Ebay and started using ballpens. LOL

I make an entry each day and tell what I did or do and what my wife of 54 years does and anybody who comes gets written in it. The time I get up each day and the temperatures at that time.

But none of mine comes close to being as nice as what you do.

Abraham Lincoln
Brookville, Ohio

steven said...

hello loren, each summer day i try to make time for journal, blog, something to do with the house, and then anything else that might arise. i'm not a very disciplined person at all but i really value the time spent opening myself up to think. have a great day, steven

steven said...

hello crafty green poet! i love to paint and draw and i draw when there are no written idea coming through. that's how it moces from a diary to a journal - and then there are the pieces i include in terms of ideas that move it out of being a recording of what i did to what i thought. have a lovely day! steven

Barry said...

I only kept a journal for one year while watching it deteriorate from rich and lengthy entries to cryptic words or phrases

Your approach looks like much more fun!

steven said...

hello delwyn, i love journals and have quite a few that will never get written in - they're simply too attractive! my favourite journal books are the five subject coil-bound notebooks that you can buy for school. the only problem with them is the lines which i don't like to draw over. i've been looking for years for a journal that is something like a science notebook that has lined pages on the top half and blank on the bottom half. it has to have nice thick paper in case i decide to use watercolour! maybe i need to start making those myself! have a lovely day by the river. steven

steven said...

hello jinksy, i love to draw while i'm waiting for ideas to include in my journal. some of my drawings are much more doodly and flowing. on those two days i see that life was very detailed one day and then all about a phrase i liked another day. there's a sort of balance there!! have a lovely day. steven

steven said...

hello goldenrod, i like to fill my days with things that are as meaningful as i can make them but i don't always succeed. you might recall summer holidays as a teacher - some of them are fairly empty in some ways because they need to be. i have journalled off and on for a decade. "the golden fish" and "flow" came into being when i realized that i also wanted to journal what excited me or what i thought was beautiful and i wanted to share that with whomever came along. the "whomevers" have been extraordinary people!!! have a lovely day now. steven

steven said...

abe - thanks for that kind compliment. the variety of people there are is easily matched by the variety of journal styles there are. you know what? i think that anything that gets recorded by you is going to be beautiful to your family when they get to read them. after my dad flew away i found three journal entries by him. he didn't keep a journal but there they were. i could hear his voice. i wish he'd kept a journal because he was so fascinating and curious about the world. so keep writing and have a great day abe!! steven

steven said...

hi barry, thanks for dropping by!! i was just mentioning to abe (see the comment above) that anything you record is going to be of value to your family. even the most trivial remark or tiny stub of a thought carries substance. if you give yourself permission to be trivial, to doodle, to clip pictures out of magazines that you like and slap them in, or to take a photograph og a big leaf and glue it in (like i did!) then it becomes much easier and more representative of who you really are!!! however, your blog easily serves as a terrific insight into who and what you are. have a lovely day barry. steven

Reya Mellicker said...

WOW!! My head is most definitely swathed in stars. Oh yeah!!

This is beautiful. Love the gold fish bookplate, love the mandala - of course, but I really love the pages from your journal especially.

You could take the bold words and place them on a separate page and create a poem from them.

Wow and wow and wow!! Very cool.

willow said...

Wow, Steven! How cool is this? What a fabulous journal. Both your artwork and your handwriting are so unique. Thanks for giving us a peek. A sample of my handwriting is here, but you probably remember.

willow said...

PS...are you a lefty? Just curious.

steven said...

hi reya, 'swathed in stars' - how good and beautiful is that!! for sure you are! i do sometimes cut-and-paste from my writing to create stories that are what i guess you'd call prose because they hover between poetry and story writing. i love phrases that have big ideas inside them that open out as soon as you read them.
thanks for the nice compliments. see the day through the glow of your stars. steven

steven said...

hi willow, thanks for that!! i learned to handwrite in england before the age of seven. then i learned again when i came to canada. the letters were shaped differently! as i mentioned in the entry, my handwriting is in summer mode right now so it comes from my fingers and not my wrists. usually it's more rounded and fluid. it has "flow". i'm right-handed by the way!!! funny though, because when i think about msyelf and all the lefties i know and have known, i would expect me to be left-handed. hmmmm!! is an analysis on the way?!! have a lovely day at the manor. steven

The Weaver of Grass said...

I love the discipline of writing every day steven - that is why I try to put something on my blog every day. That journal is lovely and such a little work of art for future generations to treasure, so look after it well.

Verily I go. said...

This is wonderful. Wow Steven, such fine talent, all over the place. I am envious, it's beautiful. Thank you.

steven said...

hello weaver, me too! the blog(s) that i write allow for a lot of sharing and reflecting and thinking. the journal allows me to see as well as having the more tactile experience of drawing and writing. i wonder what future generations's will make of steven's blogs and journals?!!! have a lovely day! steven

steven said...

hello verily! thanks for those thoughtful compliments! i love writing my blogs and my journal. it tends to tail off when the school year starts up because i need to place my focus more fully on my students and their work but in the summer - it's a sweet time!! have a beautiful day! steven

Dan Gurney said...

Your blog exemplifies the description of yourself that you share in the "About Me" part of the blogger profile. Your journal, as others say, is very impressive and even inspiring. Thank you for opening this window into your world. And thanks to Reya for suggesting it.

Eryl Shields said...

Gosh, how envious am I? I keep a journal too, it is a beautiful thing: glossy leather cover, ribbon marker, thick unlined, cream paper; but what I put in it is no where near as lovely as what you put in yours, even though I use those exact same pens. Can't blame the tools!

steven said...

hi dan, yes, i am who i am!!! happily it works for me for the most part!!!!! have a peaceful afternoon. steven

steven said...

hi eryl, i just read your entry and i love the dance of your writing across the page and the similar dance of thinking within your writing. hsaring what's inside the journals we keep is a huge leap of faith i think and so i admire you for writing something and scanning it and posting it. beauty? hmmmm. i think there's a heap of beauty in your thinking and writing eryl don't you! have a sweet evening. steven

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...


How did you arrange to have longer days than the rest of us? You can't possibly do all you do in 24 little hours. Perhaps you are one of those lucky people who don't need much sleep. Anyway, I feel blessed that your curiousity, vision, experience spills over into your blogs, and that I get to peek into such an interesting mind.

I think I have seen sites on Etsy where artisans will design a journal for you. But as you intimate you are probably able to do your own.

Once at Bureau en Gros (can't recall English name) I found art paper quality, spiral-bound books that were blank about two-thirds of the way down the page and lined the other third. I bought two - but have never seen them again much to my chagrin.

steven said...

hi bonnie, there's lots and lots more that i do than the blogs and the journal as well! i wake between six and seven and sleep by midnight. the rest of the time is awake time to do with whatever needs to be done. right now i am alon with my children as their mum is visiting australia! i am always the grocery man and cook, i share all the other duties around the house as well. that's what i believe is good. thanks for the link to the journal of my dreams. that's the first link i've ever had. you never know bonnie, it might lead somewhere!!! thanks so much. have a peaceful evening. steven