This post is something I've been wanting to do for a while. It is a bit long, but I had fun doing it. Thanks for reading!
What you see here is a stack of diaries representing 27 years of my life. Only one year is missing--1995.
Back in 1985 I ordered my first Our Old Fashioned Country Diary, now Our Country Diary (in case you want to start keeping these for yourself!) The first decade of my collection was printed by Tree Communications, then Our Old Fashioned Country Diary Ltd., and then the Country Diary Company, finally to be taken up by Michel Publishing, as it has been done on up through this year. They do a wonderful job with this. Toward the end of each year I receive a mailer and whether I remember to answer or not, my diary is mailed to me in December with a bill for $19.95. I can't tell you why I did not order the 1995 diary. All I can guess is that I was deep into teaching and life in general and let it slip away from me. I never made that mistake again!
These diaries have changed a lot over the past three decades, but they've always been delightful. Each includes special pages at the first of the year for predictions and at the end for reflections, the same for every major holiday, and each week at a glance with beautiful images and quotes and details about special dates (famous birthdays, historical milestones, etc.) They make keeping track of your life very easy and fun. We use these now in our New Year's Eve ritual of taking stock at the end of the year. It's always amazing to read and remember all the big and little things that we would have forgotten, or at least would not have been able to pinpoint the exact day of their happenings, without these diaries. Do any of you use this same series? I'd love to know!
I had fun grouping them and realizing how much the styling of just the covers transformed with each passing decade. This first set is very much in keeping with the whole country theme that many of us were obsessed with in the 80's. We all had lots of calico and pine furniture and dried flowers all over our houses. It was a very cluttery style. Fun, though...bunches of fun!
Then in the 90's things got very flowery and Victorian (I especially love the paisley one).
Comes the 21st century and while very floral, there are some birds and fruit to be seen. The look is vintage botany prints and collage.
It's looking to be the same in this second decade of this millenium, and I like it. They can certainly keep it up. (I know they were just waiting for my approval before moving on, you see. Ha!)
Over the years some weeks look like this...
...and some like this (blurry artistic effect added to obscure embarrassing diary confessions).
I have learned that the best way to keep this a regular habit is to jot down at bedtime what happened each day. I have been having much more success with it since I changed this from a morning ritual to a bedtime one.
As you can see from the representational pages above, there really isn't a lot of room in the diaries each day for writing in depth--they're just for hitting the highlights. When things need to get wordy I turn to my journals, which I've been keeping in these composition books since 1979, the year I graduated college. I was already married by then and feeling the need to write out quite a lot of angst into my journal, which has become my non-judgmental best friend. More often than not, these journals are where I vent when I'm sad or mad--you know, when you're trying to work off steam and/or tears and figure out life's tough parts without dragging somebody else down with you. Journal doesn't care. Journal just listens. Journal gives me no drama. Journal does give me a lot of laughs when I go back sometimes and read what I wrote, but that's another story.
There's also a whole period recorded somewhere around the middle of these journals when I was doing the three morning pages a day for The Artist's Way. That was really nurturing. If you are a creative person and feel stuck at all I recommend this book (series of books, actually) by Julia Cameron.
Sometimes the journal-keeping can get out of hand. I have realized lately that I have some sort of fixation with this.
(from top left):
1. Leather-bound journal my daughter gave me for Mother's Day which I use for my reader's journal
(one page for each book--title, author, when read, critique)
2. Literary response journal started with my English students when I was teaching at Collins Hill High School in Lawrenceville, GA
3. Sketch diary filled with Celtic knot drawing practice and some design sketches that creep in
(they always creep in!)
4. Gardening journal
5. Wine journal
6. Knitting journal
7. Artist's Way journal that came in a fun box with other creative prompts
8. This blog!
Clearly I am a habituated life-logger and figknits is just more way to keep track of life--mostly the yarny parts, but life leaks in here, naturally. The biggest difference is that this one is to share with you. I like that.
Do you keep journals? Diaries? Calendars? Logs? If not, I hope I've inspired you to start. It's a good habit.