Someone once said to me “do what you like, do it often and do it well”. Now that statement can be left open for interpretation, but for me as a writer that meant keeping pen and paper on hand and scribble down every random thought that enters my head. Jot down every inspirational haiku someone may share with me. Pen the details of a ridiculous event that happened to me that day. It sounds trite, but it could be the start of a wonderful piece of work. Real life is always more interesting than fiction, and there are countless things going on around me that are SO crazy that even the most seasoned author couldn’t possible make this crap up! So if I were going to invest all my time and inner thoughts to such an undertaking, the receptacle would have to be well deserving of my words.
My addiction to collecting journals began at a young age and has gotten progressively worse.
I have dozens of journals in my bookcase. Some have been written in, others have yet to see the light of day. But most have the same qualities in common. All are leather bound, either a chocolate brown in color or another rich earth tone that caught my eye. Most are softbound and genuine leather, a smell that reminds me of when I use saddle up and go horseback riding as a kid. Funny how certain smells hold strong memories. The softer and more broken-in it looks, the better. Since I tend to toss in random loose pieces of paper, I prefer it have some sort of strap or clasp to keep all my goodies from falling out. And if there’s a slot for my pen somewhere, bonus!
But I don’t choose a journal just on the cover alone. I’m just as particular about the paper on the inside as well. First, it has to be lined paper. As a leftie, I am a notoriously sloppy writer, so I need those lines to keep my words from falling off the page at a weird angle. And the color of the paper has to be either an off-white or some version of eggshell, something easy on the eye. Bright white paper is just too sterile for my taste. And I prefer if the paper had a texture to it, a bit grainy and rough to the touch. I’ve seen journals with pages made from pulp, bamboo, even panda poop (yes they do exist). Sure I may have to force my pen across paper a bit more than it’s smooth counterpart, but I relish the challenge.
Needless to say, every time I set foot in a bookstore, I am immediately drawn to the wall of journals. I could spend hours just touching the paper and smelling the covers. I’m shocked some store employee hasn’t had me kicked out for inhaling the inventory. I realize that I don’t need yet another journal, but most times feel compelled to buy the one I fall in love with and add it to the collection.
After all, one day when I take the time to fill them all in, I’ll have quite a story to tell!