{getting words onto the page}


Last week, Zom wrote a brave and honest blog entry about journaling in journals -- rather:
What is it about Journal Pages that make us so lecturing? I love looking at art journal pages online, but sometimes I get a little annoyed at being told to: Inspire, Create, LOVE, Dream, Follow your Dreams, Discover and so on. And then there are the quotes, the preachy one liners that sound like greeting cards. Did we get this stuff from the scrapbookers, or are we afraid to write our own stuff? Afraid that we won't be profound enough? Or maybe we feel like complaining, but think that isn't done in an art journal.
Her words convey something I've felt in my own journals for awhile, that I became so focused on the art I was creating, I let the journaling fall to the wayside. I feel calmer when I actually do morning pages, letting those insecure thoughts spill out onto the page; I feel like that's more ME than anything I can throw on a canvas or create in a bound journal. Despite all I've learned over the last handful of years about expression through art, words still define my life. Language is a human concept, a gift from the Divine, and, I believe, belongs on the page just as much as the paint and images and so-on. I have to admit, my pages began to sport quotes I made up and maybe a little bit of writing, mostly inspiring, just because I knew I'd be posting some of them online. I offer this idea as the roll this online community we've created plays in our art:
Reactivity is a phenomenon that occurs when individuals alter their performance or behavior due to the awareness that they are being observed. The change may be positive or negative, and depends on the situation.
Think about that! By the very nature of participating in said online community, of observing even if only to learn and not comment, changes our very behavior, whether it is intentional or not. Notice the part positive or negative; it is not that said community is ruining our art, only that things change because of it. I believe it is a stage we must all go through when we begin our journeys. That, in our quest to learn more and seek inspiration, we must become exposed to the work of others, and allow it to meld with our own ideas, techniques, and sensibilities; in other words, everything you see and experience becomes part of you. And Zom here is saying that we need to get back to the you -- the everyday, ordinary-yet-extraordinary you. That we can't stay in that stage when we're trying to impress the observers because we know we ourselves are being observed -- yes, we will still be effected no matter what (conscious efforts to stem the effect will have no effect by the very fact that it is largely unconscious), but we need to be brave enough to show our soft underbellies to the world in order to mend it. One of the reasons I feel Sabrina Ward Harrison's work captivates and touches us all is because of the raw nature of those pages -- that we read those thoughts we have but never voice, and -- amazing! -- she's willing to let us see her vulnerabilities. We must too take the same steps and come full-circle back to the journaling part of art journaling. Yes, colors, images, drawings, even doodles help unlock the depths of our unconscious, but sometimes, getting things out can be just as cathartic. I've taken to journaling during breaks on work, while watching movies, or for five minutes before bed. Just thoughts bubbling up in my head, little things that we normally let flow through our minds and fade into the background. Get them out. Let us revel in our shared imperfections and see, once and for all, that we're not alone.