WWK Blogger Paula Gail Benson has two short stories running in Kings River Life Magazine this weekend, "Pelican Spring" and "The Mama Factor." Both are Mother's Day short stories. You can read them by going to: http://kingsriverlife.com/category/kings-river-reviewers/terrific-tales/
Linda Rodriguez is a finalist in two categories for the International Latino Book Awards (given out at BEA the end of May)--one for Every Last Secret and one for editing Woven Voices: 3 Generations of Puertorriquena Poets Look at Their American Lives (with Gloria Vando, Anika Paris, and Anita Velez-Mitchell). Congratulations, Linda!
The second SinC Guppy anthology, Fish Nets, has been released by Wildside Press. WWK authors, Gloria Alden, Warren Bull, Kara Cerise and E. B. Davis have short stories in this volume, which can be bought at Wildside Press, the usual retailers and will be available at the Malice Domestic Conference. Look for "the story behind the stories" on May 1 here!
Upcoming Salad Bowl Saturdays include authors Carolyn Mulford on 5/25 and Liz Mugavero on 6/1. If you are interested in being a guest blogger, send a message to Jim Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Keeping a Journal
Keeping a journal is more than writing down simple things like what happened that day although that's pretty much what I do. It's not exactly like practicing cursive as a young student or writing spelling words ten times. It's more like musicians singing or playing the scales or simple songs to limber up. Keeping a journal not only chroncles your life, but it limbers up your writing skills the way jogging slowly before running limbers up your muscles. At least that's my opinion.
I started journaling when I was fourteen. I used a three-ring binder and wrote pages and pages on notebook paper. When I grew up and had teenagers of my own, I was going to remember what it was like to be a teenager. Or so I thought. I kept it up until I graduated, got a job, met my future husband and got too busy. That ended my journaling for over twenty years until my brother and sister-in-law, Jerry and Joanne, gave me a journal for Christmas 1981. The inscription inside read: To Gloria, to gather your thoughts, your prayers and your memories. I misplaced it and didn't find it until March 1982. I was in my second semester of college, and my first entry detailed winning the Virginia Perryman Award for freshmen writers. I was in my early forties at the time, so I probably had the advantage of life experiences, but I was thrilled with winning, not only because I won $60.00, quite a bit at that time, but I was also recognized at an award ceremony at Kent State in April.
From that entry I'd like to say I continued a daily journal, but I didn't. I wrote one entry several days later, skipped a year, added a few more entries then skipped three years until after I graduated from college and had been teaching for a while. I didn't start keeping a steady daily journal until the spring of 1989, and I've faithfully written almost every day since that time.
My journals are not filled with beautiful prose nor are there fanciful flights of poetic thoughts. They're mostly prosaic entries listing what I did that day or the day before.Sometimes I write about feelings or ideas I have, but it's not anything future historians would be interested in. It's good I have no illusions about becoming a famous writer someday. At least I write more than my brother, Jerry did. "Went to the library," "Planted a thousand daffodil bulbs" or "Got the brakes fixed on the truck." But at least he kept a journal. After he died, we sat around the table reading what he'd written and smiled over remembrances of him. His entries were Jerry. To the point. Nothing extraneous.
However, when I've gone back to my beginning journals as I did for this blog, I'm reading things I'd forgotten. I regret I didn't keep a journal when my children were growing up. Fortunately, I wrote letters to my three sisters when they were away at college. My sister, Elaine, saved the ones I sent her and put them in a scrapbook for me years later. She made a quilted cover for it and gave it to me one Christmas. It was one of my favorite gifts because I read things about my children I'd forgotten. I didn't remember until I read one letter that my youngest, Mary, had trouble differentiating between frogs and toads so she called them all froads.
In my journal, I also write on the inside covers every book I've read, the author, and a line or two of my opinion of the book. I keep a gardening journal during gardening season, too. That is even more prosaic than my regular journal.
My journals may all end up in a dumpster someday, but then again maybe not. Maybe my children and grandchildren someday will be interested in them. Probably not, but sometimes I like going back to older ones like the one in which I detailed my battle with the skunk. And as for that 3-ring binder journal I kept as a teenager? It got wet when our basement flooded long before my kids were teenagers. Maybe that's why I wasn't the perfect mother a teenager could wish for, or maybe it was because I had four teenagers at one time. Boggles the imagination, doesn't it?
Have you ever tried keeping a journal? Have you used your journals as research for your novels?