So far this semester I have been keeping a journal in regards to my Special Methods class. It has guided writing, prompts and some free writing. Last week my professor asked my class to reread our journals up to this point, four weeks, and take notes on what we noticed. Was there a consistent theme in our writing? What did we use our writing for? My notes ended messy and trailing off in every which direction; a reflection of my notebook itself.
Some of the elements of my writing weren’t surprises. I knew I like to write in a style somewhere between prose and poetry and treat I treat my notebook more like an imaginary friend than a stack of bound paper. I already knew that messy handwriting is an indicator my thoughts were flowing faster than my hand could record them and I think I am really clever with symbolism and double meanings.
There were some surprises within my writing, too. Up until I reread my journal, I didn’t know how much I cared about students I haven’t even met yet. There are kids out there learning to walk and how to hold a pencil and someday I will be lucky enough to hear them rave about their favorite new book. My writing also showed me I am more likely to think out a free write than an academic piece. This is probably just a subconscious act to rebel against required writing.
My notebook is filled with topics I find important. Just like bad books, I refuse to spend time writing about things that don’t matter. I found I wrote about unintentional or unnoticed memories and things my heart hasn’t let go of. Dating back to middle school when I thought I was the next Taylor Swift, I have used lyrical writing as a way of dealing with situations I would rather not talk about face-to-face.
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The purpose in reading back in our journals is to find something, a thought, a line, a topic, an anything, to create a bigger piece and publish it. But what does publishing mean in this situation? I still haven’t found the thing, you know, the one I want to write endlessly on till my entire heart is before me in print. But that’s scary. Right now my journal is my private space. When I was writing, I never thought about making any of it public. The transition may be difficult for me to deal with once I figure out what I would like to write about and who all will be reading it.
Overall, my writing is an outlet for me to think, even if my thoughts aren’t always clear. This is exactly what a writer’s notebook is supposed to be. I can only pray I can provide an environment where my future students feel comfortable to be just vulnerable and free in their notebooks as I wish to.