Monday, February 28, 2011

My Favorite Indulgence: Journals

by Laura Bickle

I'm a big fan of indulgences. They don't have to be big. But I think it's necessary to indulge ourselves once in awhile, to demonstrate that we care for ourselves...after all, if we won't, who will?

I have Tarot card collection. My collection of Wonder Woman dolls and action figures (yes, my inner ten year old is alive and well). I occasionally bring home fresh flowers just to bring some life to my desk.A long, hot soak in the bathtub is a daily requirement. And an occasional massage at the spa is just wonderful.

But my favorite indulgence are journals. Especially ones with gorgeous colors, textures, and bindings. I devote a journal to every project I work on, to fill with notes and research, outlines and hooks. I cut out pictures and paste them into the pages. I doodle maps and sketch the characters. It becomes my Bible for the book I'm developing - part scrapbook, part journal, part file folder.

It's a way of honoring the work that I'm doing at the moment - and a way of keeping a record of the past. I always smile when I run across a journal of a past project on my bookshelf, all tattered and lumpy and full of paste and scribbles and cut-out articles. No one else ever sees them, so it doesn't matter.

They start out pretty. They don't stay pretty. But they're all mine.

Image: nuttakit /


  1. Just counted - ten journals on my bookshelf, some with stuff in them, some blank. Must confess, I love the blank ones as much or more.

  2. It never occurred to me to keep a journal for a story -- a scrapbook of notions, evolutions and tangents. I might have to, I dunno, actually use one those pretty-yet-empty unlined books on my shelf. It would save my hard drive from scads of mini-Word files.

  3. The blank ones are all about potential, aren't they, Jeffe? ;-)'s just easier for me to gather research notes in a journal. I can scribble down fragments of notes as I'm reading, gather articles together. There's no real structure to them, and I don't even enter dates.

    I know that they're a relic of a non-technological age. But I love having 'em.

  4. Mmm. Journals. Love them. Can't use them. Hold over from school or not - I need spiral bound notebooks that lie flat. Regardless, I love the notion of pasting in cut outs and maps and such...Tarot decks. Which one is your fav?? Do you have the Robin Wood deck?

  5. Sometimes, I get the big, sketchbook-sized ones that are bound to lie flat. I do think I like those better. I like big pages, and usually lined ones.

    Mmmm! I do have the Robin Wood deck, Marcella. The one I've had since I was fifteen is the Hanson-Roberts deck, though. That's probably my all-time fave. Though I really have been enjoying Animals Divine and the Celtic Dragon Tarot lately.

    How about you? Which one is your fave?

  6. Mmmm. Journals. I buy a lot of them too...and then never write in them. I think partially because I don't want to mess them up (weird, I know). They certainly do look pretty lying around the house tho.

  7. I love journals. We got lots of them.
    I also will confess we've got a small tarot deck collection (4 or 5 different sets I think) I love the symbolism of the tarot.

  8. @Allison...I used to be too intimidated by the blank page to use them, but I've gone entirely in the opposite direction. Except for a beautiful tooled leather journal my husband gave me. It's just too pretty to screw up!

    @Sullivan, love Tarot! Which one is your favorite?

  9. I read this post and saw myself. Whew, I'm not the only one with a journal obsession. I was just talking in my blog last week about how I use my journals as a Character Bible and such.

    I don't do Tarot, but I do use Animal Medicine Cards. Those just seem to work better/resonate with me. Maybe because I'm an animal fanatic?

  10. I'm with you, D.F.! I love animals, and the Animals Divine Tarot is one of my favorites. I don't have the Animal Medicine Cards though. I've seen pictures of them...very, very pretty!

  11. @Alayna: the one I used the most in the past is the Medicine card deck (Jamie Sams & D. Carson) which is based on Native American teachings and uses animals instead of the usual tarot symbolism. My favourite however is the Mage the Ascension tarot deck, which was made to go with the roleplaying game of the same name (

  12. @Alayna, @McPig - I also have Animal cards, but I have the Susan Seddon Boulet deck. I just love her artwork! In fact, when I did actually keep a journal at one point, I used to cut out the pictures from one of the old data planners I had and scrap book them into the journal. Don't know where it's gotten to tho...

  13. @Sullivan, very, very cool deck! Along the lines of animal decks, have you tried these: They're pretty Shamanistic in style, as well.

    @Allison, Susan Seddon Boulet is fabulous. I love her goddesses! I didn't know she had a Tarot deck...

  14. Oh I love the beautiful journals - people gift them to me. I hold them, caress them, write maybe one page in them and put them away. I journal in college ruled notebooks - where I can scrawl away without thinking I have to write something worthy of the beautiful journal.

    That said, I love the idea of pasting things into them, of keeping clippings, etc., but I know myself. I'd start well, but everything would still end up scattered all over my desk.

    I also love the tarot decks. The first I used actually belonged to a friend and never felt like mine - it was a Pagan deck - very lovely. And then I bought a weird and wonderful Fung Shui deck, where instead of swords & wands etc., there is the black tortoise, the tiger, the dragon, and the phoenix. Finally decided maybe I'd learn more from beginning with the basics and bought a simple Rider Waite set on Saturday. I love it. The symbols in this one speak to me like the others did not.

  15. Kerry, it's awesome to find a deck that speaks to you. I have several that I never really bonded with, and some that I immediately loved like an old friend.

    The ones I tend to love most are based on animals, dragons, or Rider-Waite symbolism. I think it's because I love the lore of totem animals, and the symbolism of the decks derived from Rider-Waite are so intuitively correct.

    I have some really beautiful decks that use nontraditional symbols, but I haven't really been able to use them for more than one or two purposes. Quantum Physics Tarot would be an example of that. And I have a visceral dislike of the Thoth decks.