The Journal Project

Sharing lives through the process and art of journal keeping.

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Location: Lubbock, TX

Monday, August 07, 2006

Frappr Maps and Journal Prompt/Discussion Question 3

First things first...

I have created two maps through Frappr in order to track the progress of the two journals. At some point after receiving one of the journals please click on the appropriate badge on the side bar and add yourself to the map. This will keep everyone alert to the progress/whereabouts of both the journals. If you encounter any problems with the maps (I'm still not certain I have them up and running correctly) please let me know.

Journal Prompt 3:

Last week
Alexandra mentioned one of my favorite poems by David Whyte on her blog. The title of the poem is Sweet Darkness. She also mentioned how she uses parts of the poem when facilitating women's groups. I thought this was a perfect journal prompt. Read through the entire poem if you'd like (link above) or simply read this one phrase and write about what meaning it holds for you. What thoughts come to mind as you toss these words around?

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn
anything or anyone

that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.

Feel free to use this prompt any way you'd like and share any thoughts you might have in the comments.

Discussion Question 3:

Where and when do you do most of your journal keeping? Do you have a specific time/place? A set routine?

I usually don't have much time to journal at home so that is typically how I spend my lunch hour Monday-Friday. I eat my lunch, read a of couple of poems by the poet I'm currently devouring, and then I open my journal and write. Sometimes it's about an event I want to capture. Often it revolves around a feeling I'm experiencing. Other times it's random lists and thoughts. It might also be about a reaction I had to the poems I just read. But regardless of the content, this is usually when I get the majority of my journaling done, it is my special journaling time. Every weekday between noon and 1:00 you can find me either in the cafeteria or sitting outside at a picnic table, pen in hand, journal spread out on the table, writing my heart away.

Share your own answers to these questions in the comments...

More to come...

Monday, July 31, 2006

Journal Prompt/Discussion 2

First some house cleaning:

Both of the participants I sent the journals to have said they have received them. And both reported being a little intimidated about writing in them. I felt the same way. There's a different dynamic present when you know someone else is going to read your words. But hey, perfect journal material right? As you receive the journals please share your thoughts and experiences. Jennifer suggested each participant make a post briefly describing/sharing their experience. That sounds fabulous! I'm not sure I know how to do this. Do I need to give the log in information to each blogger or is there a way to make this an open post blog? Do participants need to e-mail me their story and then I post it? Some of you may have experience in this area. Please pass along any information I might need to know in order to make this happen.

Melba mentioned a different shipping method that is a bit cheaper than mine. According to her it's cheaper to mail the journal in a priority flat rate envelope. The envelope is free and it is a flat rate of $4.04 mailed anywhere in the continental US. Keep this in mind.

Finally, if the participant above or below you doesn't have a blog link I do have their e-mail addresses. When you get to that point simply e-mail me and I'll get the necessary address information.

Journal Prompt 2:

This is a prompt you can take and use as a springboard for some journal writing. Take it and use it any way you'd like. Let it take you a little deeper into yourself.

Last week Marilyn left a wonderful comment about a quote she had discovered. I want to post the quote here and use it as this week's journal prompt. This quote is taken from WRITE YOUR HEART OUT - EXPLORING & EXPRESSING WHAT MATTERS TO YOU by Rebecca McClanahan.

"Whichever type of journal you choose to keep--a record of a passage as it's occurring or a record of your internal journey to understand the completed event--the writing process is the same...Either way you will have recorded one of the stories of your life--a story with a beginning, middle, and end, even if the end seems to have no firm ending and the passage is one you must keep negotiating and renegotiating."

What does this quote say to you about your journaling experience, especially the part that caught Marilyn's eye--the fact that there may be no firm ending and it is something you must continually renegotiate.

Discussion Question 2:

These discussions questions are something that you can use in your journal but it's also something I'd like to see you respond to in the comments. It's an opportunity to bounce our thoughts and experiences off of each other and build community as we're waiting for the journals to make their rounds.

What is your journaling story? How did you get started? What has journal keeping meant to you?

Happy journaling! Keep sharing your stories! More to come...

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Journals Have Left the Building

That's right. Our journals have started their world wide travel. By now they have probably made it to the first participants on the list and may even be on their way to the next ones.

Here is a little information I found out at the post office when I went to have the journals mailed:

1. The journals cost right under $6 to mail. While there is the media rate that I mentioned in the previous post I opted not to send the journals this route even though it would cut the cost in half. Media mail is treated as 3rd class mail and therefore can take 10 days or more for the package to reach its destination. A little too slow considering all the participants on the list...

2. Call me naive (and I probably am) but I assumed the cost of mailing the journals would be the same anywhere in the US. After all, a 39 cent stamp will get a letter from Texas to either California or New York, or either Alaska or Florida. Little did I know that package rates are based on weight AND zip code and therefore the cost of mailing will differ from place to place. This impacts the idea of providing some pre-paid envelopes for those who may need one. What I did instead was purchase a book of stamps for each package. For those of you wanting to contribute to the postage collection simply toss in some extra stamps to be used along the way by those who may need the postage assistance.

In the meantime, as our journals are circling the globe, I want to use this blog to not only track their whereabouts but to keep us connected with each other and focused on what this is all about--the life changing effects of keeping a journal.

Each Monday I will post a new journal prompt to be used if and/or how you would like. In addition I will provide a discussion question regarding journals/journal keeping to be tossed around in the comment section. Bits of pieces of this discussion may be quoted in future posts. And please feel free to share your experience with the journal prompt should you choose to use it. A journal prompt is simply an idea to spark your creativity and get your mind working, digging a little bit deeper within. Take it and make it your own. Use it anyway you'd like and interpret it any way you'd like. And then share your thoughts...

Journal Prompt 1: The story my soul longs to tell...

Discussion Question 1: This week, for those of you who wish to participate, we will discuss the actual journal. What type of journal do you enjoy using the most? Spiral notebook, composition book, leather bound book, sketchbook? How did you discover that this was the media that would work best for you? Was it a process of elimination until you found something you liked or does it fit your style/creativity better than other choices?

Finally, there are still some changes and additions that need to be made to the sidebar that I just haven't gotten around to yet. If you have e-mailed me concerning an error or about being added to the list never will get done...eventually...Ugh!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Let's Get This Party Started

Okay, it's time. I apologize for the delay. Life started feeling a bit overwhelming--work, parenting, blogging, this project--and I pretty much shut all my systems down except for those that were absolutely essential for basic functioning. Once things started to slow down again I still needed a couple weeks to recuperate. I think I'm finally ready to give some last minute instructions and then get these bad boys in the mail.

Everyone seemed to like the idea proposed in the last post. Two journals. One starting at the top, working its ways down; the other starting at the bottom, working its way up. Once you receive the journal you are to make a journal entry (as long or as short as you like--no specific theme) and then mail the journal to the next person on the list. In order to obtain the next participants address either contact them by commenting on their blog or by e-mailing them. For those few who don't have a blog, contact me. I believe I have all their e-mail addresses. If you run into any questions, concerns, or suggestions along the way let me know. Also, don't forget about the pre-paid envelopes if you would like to participate in that portion of the project, or if you need to use one please feel free to do so. If you don't remember exactly how it's all going to unfold you can review the game plan by reading the previous post.

Now to answer some questions and offer some suggestions:

No, there isn't any particular theme so feel free to journal about whatever you feel like saying. I will include a few prompts with the journal just in case. There also isn't any specific layout. My style is just to write in between the lines until I feel like I've said all I need to say. Many of you use a little more color and creativity than I do. Feel free to do that as well. The idea is to capture all the range of issue, topics, and styles that each of us bring to journaling. I've purchased fairly large journals (400 pages) so if a page or two needs to be skipped to accommodate any art work (bleeding colors, etc.) we should be able to handle that.

Melba brought it to my attention that there is a special, less expensive, shipping rate for books. This is true. The last time I went to mail a book I requested the media rate and the cost was almost half. Keep this in mind when you head to the post office with our little treasures.

Another blogger suggested we all take some time to get to know each other by visiting the blogs surrounding your name. I think this is a great idea. I know many of you already read a lot of blogs so I don't want to make it mandatory but it is an excellent idea. It further strengthens the community we are already building. If you'd like, take some time to visit some of the bloggers you're not familiar with (especially if it's someone directly above or below your name--you'll be contacting them for mailing information.) This is also a helpful suggestion seeing as how it may take some time for the journals to make their rounds. We can be working on building our relationships while waiting for the journals to arrive at each of our front doors.

Another blogger suggested we scan the pages just in case... This is something to take into consideration. Unfortunately things do get lost in the mail. I don't have a scanner but if any of you do and you don't mind scanning it from time to time as it makes its journey that might not be a bad idea.

Well my friends, unless there isn't anything else I guess this should cover everything. I want to get one of those map thingies up on the sidebar so that we will be able to track the progress of the journals and know exactly where they are. More details on this when I have that up and running. In the meantime, relax and have fun with this. It is our project so anything that comes up along the way needs to be shared with everyone. When the journal does show up in your mailbox try not to be too stressed out about it. Breathe and just write whatever comes to mind. Of course I say that but the honest truth is when I sat down to make my entry in the red journal it was harder than I thought. Knowing people were actually going to read it changed the dynamic. As much as I wanted it to be natural and normal there was this little piece of me that knew someone else was going to read it. I felt a little bit of resistance that I just had to work through. Please share your experiences and thoughts along the way. I'll try and publish some of those from time to time as the project unfolds.

While the journals are making their way around the globe I want to use this blog as a place to share journal prompts and journal experiences. Stay tuned for additional updates (hopefully a little more regularly than they have been...)

Finally, please check the sidebar one last time to ensure you are present and your link (if you have one) works. If there are any errors let me know. Remember, I've been feeling overwhelmed with life. That can always lead to increased errors on my part.

I hope to make it to the post office either Wednesday or Thursday and the journals will be off....

In the meantime, happy journaling...and let me know if there are any questions or if I haven't explained things adequately.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Game Plan

So here it is guys. I feel like I've written this post at least a dozen times because of all the thinking and talking that has gone into this. This is what I have in mind. Please know nothing is set in stone. This is what I've been thinking and it is certainly open to change and discussion. I throw it out here so that you will have an opportunity to pass along suggestions and ask questions before we actually begin (which I hope will be next week!) Recently I did have an e-mail or two wondering if we were each going to have an individual journal to send around to all the participants. That is not what I had originally planned but we can certainly do that if that's what you all want. This is OUR project. I'm flexible. The reason I had not thought of the project in those terms is because I think the final cost on shipping all the journals around would be overwhelming. With over 60 participants, receiving each journal and then mailing it to the next person (if shipping were about $5 a journal) would end up costing each of us over $300 apiece. I know the concern is wanting to be able to have a final/complete copy of the project for yourself. I want everyone to have a final copy. I don't know how to accomplish that yet but surely with this many participants we can brainstorm and come up with some kind of plan. Who knows, maybe one of you has a friend, or a friend of a friend, who has the ability to copy and bind books for each person. If you have thoughts on this let me know. Now for the plan:

When I originally conceived of this idea I had planned to purchase one journal, make an entry, then mail it to the next participant, who would then make an entry and mail it to the next participant, and so on and so forth. At the time I had no idea we'd have over 60 participants. Wow! It quickly became obvious that that wouldn't work so well. It was a possibility that the people towards the bottom of the list wouldn't even see the journal for a year. I didn't want them to have to wait so long to participate. My next thought was to break the group up into 2 or more groups. Well I wasn't too fond of that idea because I really did want everyone's journal entries all together, not as separate groups. So after tossing my thoughts around with family and friends I think I have come up with an alternative that will satisfy all of us.

There will in fact be two journals but the group will not be broken up. Everyone will have chance to make entries into both of the journals. Let me break it down:

I have purchased 2 journals--red and black. I'm the first one on the list so I will make an entry in the red journal then mail it on to the next participant who happens to be Melba. Melba will then make an entry and then mail it on to the next participant, and so on and so forth. In the meantime, I will send the black journal to Corey (whose at the bottom of the list--excluding Ali who we are going to work in somewhere once we know a little bit more about her mailing status). Corey will make the first entry into the black journal then mail it to the next participant, who is Meg, and so on and so forth. In other words the red journal will be making its way down the list while the black journal is making its way up the list. I like this idea for two reasons: 1.) It means the people at the bottom won't have to wait so long to get the journal in their eager little hands. 2.) With only one journal the participants at the top wouldn't ever get the full effect of receiving a journal that they could flip through and read the thoughts of others. There wouldn't be very many entries. Now they have that opportunity because they will end up with the black journal--and the bottom will end up with the red. I will start and finish the red journal while Corey starts and finsishes the black journal.

Now wait a minute, you may say. I didn't sign up for two journals. I only wanted to participate once. No problem. Once you've seen the first journal simply e-mail me letting me know you don't want to make an entry in the second journal. I'll remove your name from the participant list so the second journal will bi-pass you.

How do we know where to send the journal after we've made our entry? You will contact the next person on the list (for the red journal it will be the person below you, for the black journal it will be the person above you). Most people have a blog which has e-mail information. Simply make contact with the person letting them know you're ready to send on the journal and they can tell you where to send it. For those participants without a blog link you will e-mail me and I'll get you in contact with them through their e-mail address. (NOTE: If you don't have a blog please make sure I have your e-mail address.) This is the ideal scenario however I understand that handing out your address to a stranger is a very sensitive matter. For those of you who don't want to do that I have another option. You will e-mail me with your address. When the person contacts you about sending on the journal simply let them know to contact me instead. I'll have the person send the journal back to me and then I'll mail it on to you. The only person who will ever see your address is me. I hope that most people will be okay with giving their address to the participants below and above them but I do understand the sensitive nature of this and want to offer a second option.

Cost of shipping? I don't know. I haven't taken the journals to the post office to find out. I will say that with this many participants I did have to get fairly large journals. I didn't want to run out of pages. However I don't want shipping to be an issue for anyone, possibly preventing someone from participating, especially since now there will be two journals instead of the original one. Believe me I completely understand. The first two years of Britton's life I was a single-mother with very little assistance. I know what it's like to get to the final week or two of the month and wonder what you're going to eat, just praying someone will have mercy on you. I wanted to provide some type of postage assistance plan. I propose a postage kitty. But I don't want anyone sending me money and then find myself trying to keep up with it and responsible for getting it to the person who needs it. I had this in mind: When I send off both the red and the black journals I will also include a pre-paid envelope. If anyone needs the envelope USE IT. Don't be embarrassed. That' what it's there for. Let me reiterate--I've been there. I know what it's like. If anyone else would like to contribute to the postage kitty you'd do the same thing--insert another pre-paid envelope before you mail it off. If the journal makes its way to the end of the list and there are some pre-paid envelopes still available please use them. I don't want a lot of pre-paid envelopes coming back to me. Please let me know what you think of the postage kitty idea: is there a better way to do this? Do you think it won't even be an issue so I shouldn't worry about it? Thoughts and opinions are appreciated.

Eventually both of the journals will make their way back to me. I do want anyone who wants completed copies to receive one. Please send your thoughts and ideas on this to me. We have plenty of time to decide how to go about this but we might as well start thinking about it now. And like I said, if the group would rather do an individual journal type thing that is an option. Please give me your thoughts on this. In the long run I think it will be much less expensive to go this route, but this is OUR project so let me know what you want to do.

This is your chance! Please give me feedback, ask questions, offer suggestions. This is just a game plan. There is still time for any tweaking that needs to be done. There are a couple of other minor things I will add to the instructions once we finally get going but I don't want to touch on those things tonight. For tonight I just want to throw this out there and see what you think.

And finally, if you have e-mailed me within the past couple of days I have not had a chance to add you to the list or make the necessary changes. My computer crashed so I've been posting/reading blogs when I have a computer available. Please pray for my computer's sad, sad, sad. I will get all this done before the weekend is over so please be patient with me. And if you have not read the previous post with the requests I made please do so. It's necessary in order to make the participant list work as it needs to. Thank you for choosing to participate in this project. I am so excited about it and can't wait to hear your suggestions and to actually get this underway!

So, that's the plan Stan! Whaddaya think?

Sunday, June 04, 2006


I think I finally have a complete list of participants. The response has been overwhelming and I'm really looking forward to getting the ball rolling. I purchased the journal(s) this weekend so now it's only a matter of working out all the kinks. I'll post a game plan this week and that will give you an opportunity to see how this is going to work and offer any suggestions you may have. It's also a good time to get any questions you may have answered. In the meantime there is a little something I need you do to for me.

Please review the participant list on the sidebar and make certain you are there. Also please make certain your blog link is correct and that I don't have you on the list multiple times. With a participation list this large I'm bound to make errors. Please e-mail me if something needs to be corrected or if you find you're not on the list. For those of you who don't have a blog link please just be certain I do have your e-mail address. Today I sent out a bulk e-mail to the participants letting them know I made this update on the Journal Project blog. If you did not get the e-mail and want to be added to the e-mail list please send me your e-mail address and I'll get you added. I either didn't have your e-mail, overlooked you, wasn't certain you wanted your e-mail address published, or couldn't locate the address at your blog. I thought it would be a good idea to have an e-mail list going in order to let you know when I've updated the blog with a new post or just to let you know the status of our little project. One other thing to check for me--I've tried to group the participants from the various countries together. Currently the order is US, Canada, UK, and France. If you are not a US participant please make certain you are on the bottom of the list with your fellow participants. If not, please contact me so I can get you moved. I thought it would be easier to keep each countries' participants together so the journal wouldn't have to make so many trips back and forth across the ocean. Someone told me they were from Australia but I can't remember who it was so please contact me and let me know. I want to get you moved down the list as well. Don't be discouraged about being on the bottom. That doesn't necessarily mean you're last to get the journal. You'll just have to wait for more details. Finally, if you find yourself on the list of participants and have decided you no longer want to participate that's perfectly fine. Just send me an e-mail letting me know you've changed your mind and I'll get you removed. I'll post the game plan in the next couple of days so be on the lookout. As I mentioned earlier I've had to make a change or two due to the massive amount of participants but I think you will be really excited about the least I am!

I think that's all for now!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Holy Moly!

May I just say I never dreamed this little idea of my would receive the reception that it has. I am amazed and humbled and honored. Wow! For any of you who requested to be added to the participant list by either commenting or e-mailing, I'm planning on trying to get you added by the end of the weekend. I've tried to get back to most of you in order to let you know this already but I haven't had a chance to touch base with all of you. In light of the explosion of participation (yeah, yeah, yeah) I'm having to rethink a couple of the aspects of my original idea. As a result of having to make these minor tweaks I don't think I will actually have the project going until the week after next. This week will be focused on getting the participants organized. Next week will focus on presenting the game plan (which I am bursting with excitement over) and working out any glitches that any of you might see. And then I hope the following week our journal will finally hit the road. Before we actually get the journal going I am going to attempt to contact each one of you personally (by e-mail or blog comment) just to ensure you're still on board. If at any time you decide not to participate that's totally fine. I know how life can get--I have a 3 year old! Just please let me know so that I can get you removed from the sidebar. No biggie. I'm going to continue to add participants as long as there's interest so it's never too late to join. And I want to be sure to reiterate that you DON'T have to be a blogger to join. You just need some way for us to contact you (e-mail address) and some way for us to get the journal to you once it's your turn (home address or PO Box). That's all you need. I also want to make sure you know that everyone is invited to join. If you want to participate but think there is an obstacle that may prevent you from joining (i.e. distance) just e-mail me and we'll try to work something out. There's enough bright, brilliant minds and gorgeous, generous spirits out there that surely we can come up with some way to make it happen if we just do a little brainstorming (Thank you Wenda for reminding me to think outside the box.) If you want to be a part of this, I want you to be a part of this. We'll make it happen.

Until next time...