Top 5 of the week: journals

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Do many of you journal? I’m very curious about this, as it seems like a number of people I know are doing it in earnest now for the first time since adolescence. I’m very intrigued by the notion—I think it’s a good creative practice—and and like the idea of writing freehand, in a pretty notebook, like this one from Christian Lacroix. I also just like notebooks like this for jotting down anything I run the risk of forgetting, like phone numbers, names of TV shows I mean to watch, dreams, songs that randomly came on my Spotify, and so much more. I know that’s what the Notes function on your phone is for too, but it’s not the same.

This one from Need Supply comes in a few colorways, but I’m partial to this red and orange.

Such a pretty floral, from Rifle Paper Co.

Of course I’m feeling highly partial to this leopard print.

If this were a silkscreen, I would 100% hang it on my wall: so punchy and graphic.

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24 Thoughts on Top 5 of the week: journals
    Mae
    21 May 2020
    6:24pm

    I’ve been journaling for nearly 50 years and I’m living proof that when you know better, you don’t necessarily do better.

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    Mamavalveeta03
    22 May 2020
    4:44pm

    I’ve always loved the IDEA of journaling – it seems romantic, dramatic, and especially cathartic. But, in practice, I feel very self-conscious of my writing and have torn out pages in fits of embarrassment. I even have a verbal “burn after I die” clause with my husband. It’s almost as if I can hear my very practical children’s voices sighing, “Mom was SUCH a drama queen!”

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    Kimbersam
    21 May 2020
    10:23am

    I’m not interesting or introspective enough to journal. However, I would consider updating my “work” notebooks. The Lacroix is beautiful! Right now I’m using one moleskin and one of those black and white composition books–which are less than inspiring. I went down a rabbit hole on the Kirna site. SO MUCH cool!

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    c.w.
    21 May 2020
    10:14am

    In reference to your Instagram post last night, Kim, is Mister okay?

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      Kim France
      21 May 2020
      11:00am

      Yes, just some digestive issues we’re pretty sure. Thanks for asking, C.W.!

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    c.w.
    21 May 2020
    10:14am

    In the BeforeDays I didn’t journal at all in part because I spent so much time writing other stuff and in part because I’m too lazy. In the present I’m journaling in fits and starts because I want to remember things (such as the things you list, Kim) and partly because I want a remembrance of this time. My “journaling” however reads more like the bits and pieces akin to Jenny Offill’s Weather rather than something more focused and complete. I was reading last night in the book Wayfinding by M.R. O’Connor (I’ve mentioned it here before) that people need stories––our brains are set up that way as part of our evolutionary journey. It is my unsubstantiated opinion that one of the reasons so many of us feel untethered, unfocused and in a constant state of limbo is because we are unable to create personal stories in the present time––there are no “remember when we got lost trying to find that new restaurant?” or “remember how hard we laughed playing Pictionary the other night?” Instead our only community based stories are things such as zoom meetings/gatherings with faces on a flat screen without three dimensional context so we need some sort of story and I’m guessing journaling helps provide that even if it’s lists of what we want to watch or what weird dream we had or a recipe we want to try. Sorry to blather on…obviously, I’m spending far too much time with my thoughts! Sidenote: I love all these journals! And I want them ALL!!

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      y.k.
      21 May 2020
      10:42am

      thank you c.w.,that’s fascinating – the idea of needing stories, a narrative. i have felt very untethered in the past few months, just jumping from news to meal to tasks & looping around again. i haven’t journaled in decades, i will think about this.

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        Mamavalveeta03
        22 May 2020
        4:47pm

        “Untethered” – a perfect description.

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    LIndsey
    21 May 2020
    2:23pm

    I journal in many different forms. This year I got an extra planner and have been (mostly) writing in them at night. Since this is a purse sized planner that means I just write a few lines about the day. something to flip through and remember things by in the future.

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    Papersitter
    21 May 2020
    11:02am

    I’ve been journaling since I was 11 or 12 – so, over 4 decades and I cannot write consistently or well in anything other than a spiral bound notebook. I stock up every August when school supplies go on sale. I think it’s the size of the page and the fact that a spiral notebook is so unassuming and I don’t feel pressure to live up to the nice cover! Now that I think of it, it may be because Harriet The Spy carried a spiral notebook and that book was huge in my childhood world.
    Strangely enough, once I hit my 40s I ceased the ability to write much when I’m happy.

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      Claire
      21 May 2020
      4:59pm

      I don’t journal much when I am happy. I have found I journal more when I am upset or worried. However, I find that I also write when I want to remember a birthday, anniversary or special celebration spent with my husband and / or children.

      Harriet the spy — I spied on my neighbors for one summer with a friend After reading that book. We thought we were so cool. Ha!

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      Kimbersam
      21 May 2020
      3:11pm

      As a kid, friends and I would spy on an eccentric (and in retrospect very patient) neighbor, inspired by Harriet!

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    HickfromStyx
    21 May 2020
    11:07am

    I am not journalling, but I am printing recipes from the internet and testing them. My “journal” of this time will be a legacy of recipes, things that I wanted to try on a whim, and which were successful. Small victories, new adventures in food, comfort in trying times.

    The leopard print journal is the same print as one of my dresses.

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    Nancy Boutelle Page
    21 May 2020
    11:13am

    I don’t journal, but have always used a patterned notebook to keep my work notes in. My current one is the top Christian Lacroix one you posted….going to need a new one soon!!

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    EmilyTL
    21 May 2020
    1:25pm

    Journaling used to be a lifeline for me, but as my career and life took more out of me over the years, I was at best inconsistent with my practice. I know I am more myself when I take time to check in with the thoughts in my head, much like meditating. I am a better me when I journal and meditate and I resist both, particularly when thoughts are heavy. I have gotten back to it recently and it has helped immensely. I have also started reading poetry again which I haven’t done in years; my favorite is Wallace Stevens. And I have been reading all of Nick Bantock’s books to get my creative brain engaged. He wrote the Griffin and Sabine series and one of his books The Museum of Purgatory feels prescient since we are all in some sort of living purgatory now. All that to say, having the “right” journal that serves your style is critical! I may keep a going natural/gray hair journal when I commit to that as I was nearly convinced by the EIF episode. . . Love this post and community.

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      Rachel in Portland
      22 May 2020
      10:38am

      Thank you for this perfect expression. This is exactly me, except for swapping out poetry with 19th century literature.

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    Tanya Hahni
    21 May 2020
    1:28pm

    I like journaling and do it everyday. I have the good fortune of having a relaxed schedule since I returned to school to pursue a master’s degree so I’ve developed a very satisfying routine over the last couple of years of taking a walk in the morning, meditating and then writing in my journal. I started this routine with one of those large black drawing sketchbooks with the black pebbled cover. I keep my journaling to one page a day and after running out of pages after 8 months of so I started using loose-leaf notebook paper and just sticking it into the sketchbook afterwards. I can’t do a fancy journal because as Papersitter said, they make me feel like I have to live up to something. I start every entry with the date, what time I woke up, and how the status of my morning walk. After that it is just a stream of consciousness. It would probably be really boring for anyone to read except for the days when there are juicy details about an argument I had with my loved ones or “romantic interludes”. I used to feel self-conscious on days where I would go on exhaustively about my weight or anxieties involving acquaintances but I have come to think of it as a practice of taking out the “trash” (all these unproductive thoughts) and being able to move on with my day free of them.

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    LisaC
    21 May 2020
    2:04pm

    I love paper in any form. I’ve started writing pseudo-morning pages each day on one sheet of lined yellow paper after a long hiatus from doing the real thing. I write them when I feel like it (not necessarily first thing like Julia Cameron recommends) and it’s a random brain dump that I rarely revisit. I also have two notebooks, one for personal stuff (things to do someday, quotes I like, books to read, movie recommendations, places to travel, etc) and one for my job search. I’ve been ordering Rollbahn notebooks (A5 size, spiral bound, with thick cream-colored graph paper and a hard back) made in Japan. Oh, and I also keep a daily food log using a journal, which is usually spiral bound but my latest is a blank journal I had on hand. I love these choices, particularly the last one.

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      Jax
      22 May 2020
      12:23am

      I’m a Rollbahn notebook lover too! I love the grid/graph paper and the smoothness of the paper. I use them for work, but haven’t used them personally yet.

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    Pia
    21 May 2020
    11:48am

    My requirement for a journal is that is be spiral bound so it can open flat…and have narrow (not wide-spaced) lines.

    For those of us with kids…keeping up baby books after one year seems like cruel punishment to me. I keep a basic journal next to my bed for each kid and write in it occasionally (sometimes 1 x week, sometimes it’s a few months). Just about what they are doing, struggling with, kicking ass at. I plan to give it to them later and it seems manageable to me.

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    Ann G.
    21 May 2020
    3:40pm

    Wow–no wonder I love the community you’ve created, Kim, I have much in common w/other readers/community members! I actually have, on the bookshelf next to me, my childhood copy of Harriet the Spy. That book inspired my habit of personal writing. I think of it as keeping a notebook, because the word “journal” is intimidating to me, and I, too, do stream-of-consciousness, non-judgmental, writing about anything and everything. Very therapeutic, especially now. It’s as if I’m talking to the most unconditionally loving friend who doesn’t care if I repeat something, only talk about myself, vent about random things (OK including friends), etc.

    I also take notes about books, movies, tv shows, quotes, whatever strikes me. I use spiral bound, 8×11, college ruled notebook (currently liking Roaring Springs Environote style). I encourage everyone to keep a notebook, it can be really healing and helpful.

    Finally, a plug for jetpens.com, mostly pens of course but also notebooks, and great customer service. They even have a guide on how to journal https://www.jetpens.com/blog/how-to-journal/pt/325

    Thank you Kim for your awesome blog!

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    Jax
    21 May 2020
    10:12pm

    I keep thinking of keeping a journal again — the past couple of years, but esp. during pandemic end times now — after having dropped it for almost 10 years. So this post is right up my alley.

    | On a whole other note — the Everything Is Fine podcast was recommended in Laura Olin’s (https://www.lauraolin.com/about/) newsletter today!! Quote: “Everything Is Fine is geared towards women over 40 and I’m not (quite) of that demographic but I’ve really enjoyed it anyway—it’s like spending time with your coolest older friends who give the best advice.”

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    a
    22 May 2020
    1:14am

    I do not, but what I am doing differently at this time is writing down every night’s dinner. It helps me know what to buy when I go to the store and helps me get ideas from what we ate a month or two ago.

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About

Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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