How To Journal About Walking For Pleasure

Of the many topics one could write about in a journal, a regular walk is another subject that could grace the pages of your personal book. If you take a morning, mid-day, or evening constitutional or go hiking and enjoy it, writing about the walk can be fun.

Often when you search for discussions of walking journals they are for the purpose of measuring health, (e.g tracking heart rate, miles walked, etc.) which, of course, you can do.

However, what yours truly is advocating here is to use your journal for the expression of enjoyment of moving your body. Journaling about your walk can be a way of extending the pleasure of the activity.

Charles Dickens was fond of describing walks. In The Uncommercial Traveller, the author notes the following:

My walking is of two kinds: one, straight on end to a definite goal at a round pace; one, objectless, loitering, and purely vagabond.

Charles Dickens, The Uncommercial Traveller

It’s a shame that Dickens describes his less-planned walks as objectless. Wandering and filling one’s senses with the world around is a wonderful thing. Sometimes the journey is the objective.

In any case, in writing about our walks, we are in good company. It is interesting how the author distinguishes his walks. How would you describe your walks?

The following are a few more questions to get you started on a walking journal for pleasure:

JOURNAL PROMPTS FOR A PLEASURABLE WALKING JOURNAL

Do you like the area where you walk? Is it flat? Mountainous? Sandy? Residential? Public park? A trail in the back acreage?

Is your enjoyment derived not from the location but from the movement of your body? Or some other reason? Why?

How do you feel about the walk? Why?

What little details give you pleasure?

Do you walk alone or with a companion? The baby? The dog? Why? How does it make you feel?

Do you like to walk and listen to music? How about podcasts? Is the sound a distraction or an enhancement? Does the sound keep you from feeling bored? Why do you walk with extra sound in your ears?

When you walk do you think of other things, such as what you will have for dinner? Describe what you think about during these moments.

While you walk, do you produce ideas planning the next day? A few years from now? If so, what are those plans?

Is there a certain pair of shoes you enjoy using? Describe them. Do you walk barefoot?

If you art journal, could you illustrate something from your walks? How about printing an image of the area from an online map?

Do you take a camera with you on your walk? Do you take photos? Include them in your journal and use them as memory prompts.

Is there a preferred path? Where is it? Why do you prefer it?

Do you not think of anything in particular on the walk and just enjoy whatever stimuli you encounter (wind, rain, snow, the sight of squirrels)?

Is your walk scheduled and clear about its destination? Do you wander more?

Do you take food or beverage on your walk? Why? What is it?

Is it a leisurely walk or more brisk? If it might take longer, do you sometimes opt for a picnic along the way?

————

Walking can be fun. Perhaps we can capture the pleasure of walks in a journal.

Peace,

Deborah

Journaling On a Picnic (Story Time #4)

Some of my most memorable journaling from childhood was on a picnic. I would not journal while on a picnic with other people; it was often a solo venture to the backyard.

Whether it was after school or a random summer day, I would grab a book, a journal, a ball point pen, a blanket, and (depending on the season) cherry tomatoes from the garden or apples slices in vinegar, and sit in the backyard reading and writing.

I would write about school, the family, or what I dreamed of doing some day. I would attempt poetry and know it was terrible. Then I would switch to reading the book of the moment and wonder when I would write as well as this author.

An introvert, I needed time alone after spending all day around people at school, or after playing with friends on a Saturday. Those times with other people were fine, but one was always in that space having to answer questions, having to be social, having to perform.

Yet, here in the out-of-doors, I performed for no one but myself. (Well, maybe for the birds who sometimes wanted a morsel or two.) Despite my frustration at the quality of the writing, it was satisfying to try to improve. Being in a space of writing for the fun of it, not feeling that one must be onstage at all times was a privilege and a necessity that I did not fully recognize at the time.

On the blanket, the wind would whip around me and blow my pages around, insisting that I shut the book and pay attention to nature. I would comply.

Through the years, the need of the journal on a picnic increased. It is a simple, safe space in a complex world. As you age, society requires you to step outside, not for the solace of the birds, nor to feel the wind, but to perform onstage to ever increasing audiences as the marker of your value in your industry.

However, my journal (7 inches by 9 inches) on a twin size blanket, performing for my own pleasure is the greatest stage I ever want to play.

Peace,

Deborah

More of Deborah’s Personal Journaling Story Time

A Movie Titan’s Journal and What We Can Learn from It (Journal Writers #6)

Movie studio head, director, philanthropist, and compassionate billionaire Tyler Perry is known for his comedies and dramas. What might be less well known is that he uses journals.

According to Success Magazine (as well as numerous interviews of the director), at a young age, Perry watched the Oprah Winfrey Show wherein the talk show host encouraged everyone to use a journal for catharsis.

Perry’s experiences were enough to break most people. The pain and anger grew inside him like a fire, eating away at him. It wasn’t until he caught an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show championing the therapeutic benefits of writing about your experiences that Perry’s outlook began to change.

Roger Brooks, Success Magazine- February 1, 2023

Finding self-therapy by being able to offload the problems onto the page helped to lighten his load at a young age and encouraged him to continue living.

However, there was another problem – the fear of others reading his private writings.

But even in the private pages of his diary, he couldn’t be truly honest about his tragic upbringing. Fearful others might read his words, he invented characters who revealed his experiences and feelings. In the process, he let the hate and venom flow through his pen. He was still livid, but he had a place to siphon off the bile when it threatened to overwhelm him.

Roger Brooks, Success Magazine- February 1, 2023

Some of characters he created when he couldn’t write about himself in the journal became the basis for characters he would later write into plays and films.

One take away from this story, in addition to the catharsis that sometimes comes with journaling, is that when you do not feel comfortable writing as yourself, you can write as a different character or write as if talking about someone else.

Wherever you are in your journaling journey, I wish you…

Peace,

Deborah

Skipped a Day of Journaling? Feel Like a Failure? Here’s a Thought.

If you have the habit of writing in a journal daily, but you have skipped a day or more and feel like a failure, here are a few tips. (If you don’t feel like a failure, that’s great. This might not be the article for you.)

    If you find yourself missing your daily writing habit, especially if it starts happening often, reassess why you write every day.

    1. If you write every day for discipline reasons, if you write to give yourself the habit, then you might need to address what interrupted your flow yesterday and how we can eliminate this problem and give you the uninterrupted time you need.

    Do you write at a busy time of day when everyone wants something from you? Then it might be time to write before everyone in the house awakens, or after everyone goes to bed.

    Do you normally write in long paragraphs and you knew you wouldn’t have time for that so you did not write at all yesterday? Next time, write a sentence or two. Stick to your routine, even if the result is not ideal on that day.

    Did you not feel like writing yesterday? Why? That might be a topic to explore in today’s journal entry. Do some freewriting (i.e. just write whatever you think about a subject) to get to the root. e.g. I know a person who could not figure out why she was not writing every day. Eventually, she stopped writing altogether and felt like a failure until she began to freewrite and discover why – her parents were always strict. In trying to create a daily habit of journaling, her inner child felt oppressed again, too many rules. After that revelation, she decided to write whenever she felt like it, and began to enjoy the process of writing, even if it wasn’t every day.

    Do you give yourself the best possible chance to succeed at daily writing by making it easy to do? If you keep your journal where it is easily accessible for you, you are more likely to do it. e.g. There is a person who keeps a large journal propped open on his desk. Every time he passes the desk, he is reminded to write something.

    2. If you write every day to brag that you write every day, then I cannot help you. This sounds like a form of perception management that is best discussed with a therapist. I wish you the best.

    3. If you write daily because you enjoy re-reading your entries, then perhaps retroactive journaling might be the way for you. The following tips are best if you have a space all laid out for the day’s entry and just did not write in it so it is blank.

    Write yesterday’s missing journal entry so that you can have the information. The data is still fresh enough in your mind the next day; jot it down and back date it.

    Write yesterday’s activities in today’s journal entry. e.g. “Yesterday I went to the store and bought a bushel of apples. Today I am trying out an apple cobbler recipe.” If you do this, then you can use yesterday’s blank space for doodles or art.

    —You might not have written in a paper journal yesterday, but there might be a trace of you from that day in some other media. Did you take a photo yesterday? Put that in the journal and back date it, using the image to prompt your memory.

    —Let’s say that the day that you skipped journaling is farther back than yesterday and you cannot recall what you did or how you felt. Look at the search history on your mobile device or desktop. This will give you a glimpse of what you were thinking that day. Did you search for paste in your area? Will that prompt the memory of making a papier-mâché dog? Look at receipts (paper or digital). Did you fill up your gas tank using a rewards card? Was that the day you took a trip out of town? Write about it.

    — Let’s say that you cannot remember what happened that day, or you would rather not recall what happened that day. Then write in general terms about how you have felt lately, as opposed to activities on the specific day. You can write about your latest music playlist, a particular movie genre you have explored lately, a thought that you’ve ruminated over for a while, etc.


    Ultimately, don’t berate yourself about missing a day of daily writing. Grieve the loss of the time you could have spent journaling, if you need to do that. After that, find your way forward.

    Peace,

    Deborah

    Bird Watching Journal Tips (for beginners)

    Are you a novice bird watcher? How would you keep track of the first time that you see a species of our avian friends? Journaling might be an answer. Here are some ideas to ponder.

    Bird Watching Journal Prompts

    • Where were you when you spotted the bird?
    • What is the name of the species?
    • What is the date when you spotted the bird?
    • Any other notes, such as “The Eastern Bluebird that I saw is too far west. I have never seen any here in California.”

    One might even buy a pre-made bird watcher’s journal for this purpose, especially if you intend to answer the same questions for each bird.

    Photos to enhance the journal

    Images can enhance the journal. To capture the image, one can use a bird feeder to allow for a closer look and a more consistent flow of birds to your window.

    Leave your camera at the window with the bird feeder. You can leave it running for a certain length of time when the birds usually come around and later grab stills from the footage to include in your journal.

    If you have time, you can lie in wait and take a photo in person. Hopefully, you will not disturb them. Hopefully, you have a decent lens.

    If you have not yet mastered bird photos. . .

    Yours truly has had very little success with taking decent bird photos. They are usually blurred and I need a better lens, or I am too late and they have flown away.

    One can content oneself in describing the bird in the journal, or drawing it, or using public domain photos of the species from Pixabay until getting better at taking bird photos.

    Beyond the bird feeder

    The Audobon Society suggests investing in binoculars for your outdoor bird watching pleasure. There are also binoculars with built-in cameras, which might assist in taking those coveted bird photos.

    If you are out and about beyond your bird feeder, not necessarily bird watching, yet you unexpectedly see a new species, quickly jot down your discovery. A pocket journal might be good for this task, or the Notes app on your phone. This author rarely ventures outside the house without some way to journal.

    If you spot a bird that is unfamiliar to you, use the app or website by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to identify the species.

    Read more tips on bird watching at the Audobon Society.

    Peace,

    Deborah

    Restoring a Chateau with Journals (Journal Writers #3)

    Journals can help the next generation to understand the past.

    A Youtuber is currently renovating a chateau which was previously owned by a millionaire but never lived in until children during World War II needed a safe space to live for the duration of the conflict.

    It is during that time of waiting that more than one occupant would write in a diary or journal, describing the building.

    The building has since partially burned down. A Youtuber has purchased the estate and uses the diaries to understand what each room looked like and where every room might have been.

    Often one believes that a diary or journal is mundane or not worth bothering. Actually, your journal might be of great importance to a future person who wants to understand the past.

    View Dan’s discussion of a diary as he cleans out a chateau basement on his channel Escape to Rural France: https://youtu.be/cJwUNUJMnBU

    Peace,

    Deborah

    Book Store Serendipity (Story Time #1)

    Storytime.

    Enjoy the journey of finding the proper journal for your needs. I currently use a certain brand that has worked for the needs of my main journal for the last few years. I do not anticipate moving on from them.

    However, in earlier days, I would randomly search the shelves of a book store or two for a new diary. I still do, from time to time, to see what is available.

    I recall once spotting a journal on the shelves of an independent bookstore during my university days. It had a magnetic closure. 7 inches by 9 inches – just wide enough for my hand to fit inside and rest on the pages as I would write. It sported pastel, horizontal stripes.

    It had a name – Tribeca by Peter Pauper Press. The stripes were to mimic the awnings in New York City’s Tribeca area. How charming.

    However, the stripes reminded me of a skirt that Pier Angeli wears in a photo shoot with Vic Damone in the 1950s. She wears a dark blue turtleneck, black belt, an a-line, tea length skirt with light blue, white, and black horizontal stripes. Old Hollywood reminds me of my childhood when we would watch such people play around on the screen at home and marvel at the talent.

    Thus, every time that I would write in the Tribeca journal was a pleasure. To this day, long after I have filled its pages to the brim with thoughts and ramblings, I still smile when I see it in my collection.

    There is something wonderful about the serendipity of finding a journal. Take a journey through a store and see the many different choices that await you. You might find one you like or inexplicably love.

    Peace,

    Deborah

    More of Deborah’s Personal Journaling Story Time

    Holiday Journal Prompts

    Holidays can be a sensitive topic for many people. A journal can be the perfect place to download your feelings and attain a bit of relief from a stressful time. Conversely, if you enjoy festive seasons, journal writing is the perfect time to remember as much as you can about the day or days that you celebrated.

    Here are a few prompts to get you started.

    Journal Prompts for Holidays

    1. Recall your earliest memory of the holiday or festivities.
    2. Do you have related ephemera that you can attach to the journal? e.g. A photo, a concert ticket, a leaf from a long walk?
    3. Do you have a favorite part of the holiday? Is your favorite part when it is all over? Write that down.
    4. Where were you during the holidays?
    5. If you celebrate with others, who attended the festivities?
    6. If you celebrate with others, what excites you about the gathering?
    7. If you celebrate with others, what could be improved in the gathering?
    8. If you celebrate with others, what is it about this gathering that induces you to attend?
    9. Was there travel involved? Describe the trip. Was it fun? Why? Why not?

    I wish you peace,

    Deborah

    Use the Acronym G.L.A.D. as a Daily Journal Prompt

    Perhaps you can use a regular set of prompts for your journal. I like to use the acronym G.L.A.D. as headings for some of my daily writing. I grabbed this prompt from somewhere on the internet years ago. This article from Norton Healthcare is the closest I have come to finding its origin: Try the GLAD technique to foster gratitude and push out negativity

    Here is my way of doing this popular journal prompt technique.

    G is for Gratitude. I write a sentence about that for which I am grateful. This gets me out of any sour mood that I might have when I realize that life isn’t as bad I think. Or perhaps it IS as terrible as I think, but there is still a rainbow in the clouds. I like looking back on this section of my diary whenever I feel gloomy. This is a challenging one as I want to be able to look back on more than just “I am grateful to be alive.” I force myself to dig deeper for gratitude, to be specific, for my future self.

    L is for Lesson. I have to write down a lesson learned for the day. That is actually difficult for me. However, in anticipation of this part of the journal, I make sure to learn something during the day to incorporate into this section.

    A is for Accomplishment. What did I achieve today? Even if the achievement is that I hopped out of bed when I did not feel like it, or that I have been consistent in some goal, I write it down. It does not have to be an epic accomplishment every day.

    D is for Delight. For some reason the idea of delight means to me to remember your day as if you were a child. What would have been awe-inspiring to your younger self? When I think of the answer to that question, somewhere in there, around the corner is a sense of delight for me. You may interpret the word “Delight” in any way you choose. It is just another way to appreciate your day.

    From G.L.A.D. to G.L.A.A.D.E.- an Expansion

    This week, I have expanded G.L.A.D. to G.L.A.A.D.E. which is not nearly as pithy and catchy, but it helps me to remember what I want to write about. I have added an A and an E to expand what I want to write about every day.

    G is for Gratitude

    L is for Lesson

    A is for Accomplishment (Today)

    A is for Accomplishment (Expected Tomorrow). This is to remind me to plan more.

    D is for Delight

    E is for Encourage Yourself. Give yourself a pep talk. Say things such as,”I know this day did not end the way you wanted, but you have weathered this before and you can do it again.”

    Hopefully this can be of use to someone.

    Peace,

    Deborah

    A Filmmaker’s Diary: Orson Welles Talks about the Friend Who Used a Diary to Think Through the Film Version of Othello (Journal Writers #2)

    Filmmaker and raconteur Orson Welles (Citizen Kane) made a film version of Othello with a friend who kept a diary of the entire process and published the diary in 1952. The book is called Put Money in Thy Purse: The Diary of the Film of Othello by Micheál Mac Liammóir, for which Welles has written the Forward.

    In the Forward, Welles, in his cheeky humor, eviscerates anyone who would keep a diary, calling such a habit one’s “darkest secret.” Welles notes that his friend is a wonderful person who lavishes the atmosphere with “pleasant oils and balms of good humor.” However, the “addiction to diaries” is a vice, he says, like any other, which leads to bad character, such as being “an incurable snoop,” a vice to which Welles himself confesses. Knowing the habits of your friends, and possibly writing them down, keeps one’s friends ever dependent on your kindness to jot them down in a pleasant light.

    All the mock horror aside, I do enjoy that Welles describes a diarist as one who has “arranged a sort of rendezvous with posterity.” What a lovely thought! You and I who write in diaries, journals, logs, or whatever you want to call them, are meeting with those in the future, if we so choose to leave our diaries behind to be read, giving them a weight and importance that the banality of everyday life often shrouds. Just a thought.

    Peace,

    Deborah

    Your 5 Senses as Journal Prompts

    Here’s one way to journal if

    … you have not yet started

    …do not know what to say

    … would like to recall a moment more vividly later

    …or have not journaled in a long time and need a boost.

    Use your senses!

    Ask yourself the following:

    1. What do I see right now?
    2. What scent or scents do I smell right now?
    3. What do I hear?
    4. What do I taste right now?
    5. What texture is in contact with my body? Or what does my body feel right now?

    It has been my experience that when you are this detailed, you remember the moment better. I do this prompt at funerals when I want to remember not only who was there, but the texture of the pew, the smell of someone’s perfume as they hug me, etc.


    Truth be told, the taste one is usually the one I have to stretch to find. I am not usually eating and journaling simultaneously. I often end up describing the taste of toothpaste,but that is ok. It is the truth. Tailor the prompts to fit your reality and your world.

    I bid you peace,

    Deborah

    Image as Journal Prompt

    Use an image as a journal prompt.

    It can be a personal image or one you randomly find online or in a print publication. Allow the image to evoke an idea or a memory.

    If it is a personal photo, who is in the picture? Where are they? Let yourself tell the story of what led to this moment in the photo, or what happened after. Or perhaps, you can use the personal photo to write details about an individual that you know.

    If the image is not personal to you, such as an image from a magazine, you can still use it as a journal prompt. You can recount why you selected that image, where it comes from, what it reminds you of, how it inspires you (or not).

    Peace,

    Deborah

    Addressing the YOU of five years ago in your journal

    The leader of a Facebook group recently asked a question similar to the following, a question which might be a great journal prompt:

    What have you accomplished which would have impressed YOU five years ago?

    That’s a mouthful.

    This prompt is meant to help you understand the progress you have made in life.  Have you done something that five years ago you didn’t expect to have done? Have you accomplished something that, five years ago, seemed out of reach? Have you altered your life in ways that you had not even considered back then?

    Contemplate it and record your answers.

    This prompt can also be used to get your ideas flowing for what’s next. What might impress you in the next five years?

    Peace,

    Deborah

    How to Use a Journal to Remember a Recently-Deceased Relative

    When a loved one dies, you might wish to remember the person by writing about your experience in your journal, writing about the deceased and keeping mementos.

    Here are a few things that I have done with a journal during Aunt C’s recent illness and  death:

    1. Print Text Messages

    These days, some are irritated if you call them on the phone without advance notice. Instead, we send short text messages on our cell phones or other mobile devices when it is more convenient than voice-to-voice or face-to-face communication.

    I’m so glad that this is the case, because text messages from loved ones who are now deceased become written (or, rather, typed) keepsakes.

    I have texts from Aunt C that I will print out and place in my journal, including her last one in which she thanked me for sending a book about cancer and hope – not know the deceased very well, the speech tends to be an impersonal lecture. However, he or she might still have a few words worth worth your time; take notes. I do not put too much pressure on myself to summarize the eulogy if the person did not know the deceased; I just grab one concept from the whole speech, then write about something else.

    At some funerals, there is a point in the service when audience members may go to a microphone for a couple of minutes and reflect on the life of the person who has died. Usually, the audience member tells a story about one moment in time when the deceased was kind, or entertaining, or a welcome presence, etc. These are often stories that I’ve never heard before, so I take notes. I summarized these 2-minute reflections about Aunt C in my journal during her funeral.

    You may decide to do all of this in your journal later at home. However, I have found that I tend to forget some of the things I want to record unless I’m taking notes in the moment, as if it is an important class.

    (Actually, a funeral can be an important class in life. Everyone is thinking about death and what is important to them. It’s a time of reflection.)

    5. Consider an heirloom journal

    Let’s say that the deceased did not leave much of a personal record of themselves – their opinions, their thoughts on life, their thoughts on the family, etc. There’s little you can do about that.

    However, you can consider leaving YOUR journals behind so that your relatives have a keepsake from you.  The heirlooms might be your daily journals or a separate journal specifically dedicated to what you want your relatives to know about you, about life, about concepts that you find important.

    Aunt C did not keep a journal (at least, not that we know of); she was a private individual. However, after her death, a few relatives perused her papers to get a better sense of who she was, that which she never really told us about herself. It was a bit impersonal since the papers were diplomas, certificates, office papers, bills, etc., but they still told a story. It would have been nice to have something a little more personal from her.

    Give the gift of your personal story to your loved ones by leaving your journals in your will.

    Peace,

    Deborah

    P.S. If you are worried about what can happen to your journal after you die, read this article to consider your options: Journaling Q and A, Part 1.

    Digital Journal Vs. Paper Journal Debate, NaJoWriMo Founder Weighs In

    Author and founder of the National Journal Writing Month, Bakari Chavanu, weighs in on the debate of digital journal vs. paper journal in his article, “10 Reasons I Prefer Digital Journal Writing Over Pen and Paper.”

    My favorite of his reasons for using a digital journal over a paper one is that it is easily searchable. One of my greatest problems has been in finding a way easily to return to specific parts of my journals. Right now I use a table of contents. I’ve tried indexing, but it’s just too time-consuming.

    I have used both. I more readily use the paper journal since it lends to a feeling of privacy even in a crowd. Sitting there, cradling your book, you are visiting an old friend, it seems. Currently, a digital journal requires lots of tapping and typing (or talk-to-text dictation), which my brain associates with work and not much that is personal. But that is a quirk.

    It doesn’t have to be either/or. The best journal is the one that works for you. We have discussed before that  a journal is there to serve you and your needs. If a digital journal works for you, go for it.

    In a way, this website serves as a kind of digital journal.  Many of the thoughts that I free write about on paper every day becomes fodder for this website.

    Which do you prefer? Do you use both? Do you use someone other journaling method?

    Sincerely,

    Deborah

    John Grisham, Erma Bombeck on Writing ~ Writers to Inspire You #2

    Here are a couple of writers to inspire you.

    John Grisham was recently in the New York Times with a brief list of suggestions for writing popular fiction. They are bits of advice that you may have read before, but reminders are good.

    Some of the advice is great for non-fiction writers as well, including this:

    “A common mistake by fledgling authors is using jaw-breaking vocabulary. It’s frustrating and phony.”

    When I decided to relax and just be me on this website, the tech talk pretty much dropped. I’m not a techie; I’m just fascinated by what it does to culture. The content is now more true to who I am. Writing is fun again.

    Check out the short Grisham column at the New York Times.


    Erma Bombeck is a humor writer who gave me many laughs as a child. My favorite of her books is When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, It’s Time to Go Home. The dinner roll observation- you know, the idea that the rolls are so similar on a guided tour that you begin to believe that the tour guide packs up the rolls you don’t eat at one hotel and serves them to you at the next one. Bombeck claims that she secretly carved the date in one of them to test the idea.

    Here’s an early ’90s interview of Erma Bombeck, who discusses her writing process with the University of Dayton. Bombeck says,

    ” If you’re a professional writer, you write. You don’t sit there and wait for sweet inspiration to tap you on the shoulder and say now’s the time. We meet deadlines.”

    This is something similar to what we discussed the other day about Roberto Blake and being prolific with your content and not allowing the idea of perfection stop you from writing. As you practice and tweak as you go, you will find that the writing improves, your ability to communicates something useful is more consistent.

     

    Sincerely,

    Deborah

    P.S. Check out other inspiring writers

    Your Words and Stories Are a Gift to the World (According to SARK)

    I’m in the midst of reading SARK’s Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper. It’s one of those books about writing which causes you to pause and digest the meaning. Sometimes for days.

    One of the sentences which stands out to me is this one on page 49:

    All of our words and stories are gifts, to and from the world.

    I paused and thought. Is that true?

    Something in me recoiled. Is it true that ALL of our words are gifts? Some words cut like a knife. Some words make you feel as if someone has chopped of your right arm.

    But then, searing words can be a gift too, if you search for the benefits of the situation. If nothing else, biting words coming your way suggest that perhaps you should remove yourself from the situation. After words come action, you see. So even biting words have their use- as a warning from those whose company you might not need to keep.

    Still, I think I see what the author is saying.When the words are meant to be helpful, the fact that they are a gift to the world is more obvious.

    For example, I recently suffered through a strong bout of IMPOSTER SYNDROME. It happened just as I planned to launch something that I have never had the guts to do before. So I asked my group if anyone can share a story of conquering Imposter Syndrome.

    A story. I was asking for a story.

    Why? Because I was hoping to follow in the footsteps of people just like me. I had hoped to make their story of success my story. There is something powerful in seeing or hearing someone else conquer what seems insurmountable for you.

    I thought too of my own article here on this website – Why Your Blog is Necessary. To sum it up, I say in that article that your blog is necessary because the marketplace of ideas is bare without you. Someone might need to hear from you. You never know who can use your story right at that moment. So stick your neck out and say something.

    I needed to take my own advice.

    I ended up agreeing with SARK after all. Your words and stories can become a gift to the world.  Someone might need to see your shoe prints where they would like to tread. What’s your story?

    Peace Be With You,

    Deborah

    P.S. This goes back to what we’ve discussed earlier – What is your primary gift to the world?  Your gift could be words.

    An Archeologist’s Blog about Burying Books

    Book lovers! Here’s an odd little blog to read – Burying Books. It’s all about stories of people who placed books in the ground and covered them up, sometimes retrieving them.

    Motives vary – neglect, artistic drama, hiding it, penance for allowing their writing to take them away from loved ones.

    The blog, which has not been updated since 2015, is purportedly run by archeologist Gabriel Moshenka of The University College London. He writes,

    “This blog is for one of my many research interests: buried books.  I love books and I own an awful lot of them.  The idea of burying books in the ground seems rather odd and interesting.”

    A fun little, slightly morbid past time, especially when the books are buried with people. Of course, you’ll find the story of a recent discovery – The Faddan More Psalter,  a book dating to the year 800 which was found in a bog in 2006- as well as stories from the past,  like Dante Rossetti’s retrieval of poems  that he regretted not publishing.

    Head on over and see what you think.

    Sincerely,

    Deborah

    Journal Prompts -After Listening to a Music Album

    Have listened to a music album recently and wish to write about it in your journal? Here are a few prompts to get you started.

    Journal Prompts for Listening to a Music Album

    1. Name the album. Why did you choose it?
    2. Is it your first time listening to this album? If you listened to it before, what spurred you to listen to it again? What prompted you to listen the first time?
    3. Who is/are the artist/ artists?
    4. When did you first hear of the artist?
    5. What was your initial impression of the artist? Has your opinion remained the same? Changed?
    6. How would you describe the genre?
    7. Do you have other albums of this artist? Which ones?
    8. How does this album rank with that of this artist’s other albums?
    9. How does this album rank, in your opinion, with that of other artist in this genre?
    10. How do you think future music will be consumed? – we’ve had records, CDs and now digital downloads. What is next?

     

    All the best,

    Deborah

    Journal Prompts for After a Concert

    Do you need journal prompts after attending a concert? Here are a few prompts to get you started.

    Journal Prompts for After a Concert

    1. What concert did you attend?
    2. What is it about this artist that induces you to spend time at one of their concerts?
    3. Recall the first time you ever heard a composition or song from this artist.
    4. Who attended the concert with you?
    5. Why did you attend this particular venue (as opposed to buying tickets for this artist at a different venue)?
    6. Affix the concert ticket (or a copy of it) to the journal page and write about the process of buying it.
    7. Affix any other ephemera (or a picture of it) to the journal page. E.g. A concert program, a piece of confetti shot out of a cannon. Write about its purpose at the concert. What excites or interests you about it?
    8. What did you wear? Why?
    9. Describe the process of traveling to the venue. Was it fun? Why? Why not?
    10. What are your two favorite compositions or songs from this artist? Why?
    11. How many more of this artist’s concerts would you like to attend?
    12. Has this artist inspired you in some way? Describe how.
    13. What do you think this artist’s career will be like in ten years?
    14. Where did you go after the concert? Who was there with you?
    15. Will you ever be able to return to life as usual? (Sure you will. Just give yourself a couple of weeks. :))

     

    All the best,

    Deborah

    Faulkner’s Advice to Writers

    Stumbled across this press conference featuring William Faulkner from May 20, 1957. You may listen to it or read the transcript at The University of Virginia.

    Questions put to the author of As I Lay Dying include inquiries about advice to young writers. Though the question is about young writers,  Faulkner’s answer is to any writer, regardless of age.

    Enjoy!

    Unidentified participant: Mr. Faulkner, you may have touched on this previously, but could you give some advice to young writers? What advice would you give to young writers?

    William Faulkner: At one time I thought the most important thing was talent. I think now that—that the young man or the young woman must possess or teach himself, train himself, in infinite patience, which is to—to try and to try and to try until it comes right. He must train himself in ruthless intolerance. That is, to throw away anything that is false no matter how much he might love that page or that paragraph. The most important thing is insight, that is, to be—to curiosity—to—to wonder, to mull, and to—to—to muse why it is that man does what he does. And if you have that, then I don’t think the talent makes much difference, whether you’ve got that or not.

    Unidentified participant: How would you suggest that he get this insight? Through experience?

    William Faulkner: Yes, and then the greatest part of experience is in the books, to read. To read and to read and to read and to read. To watch people, to have—to never judge people. To watch people, what they do, with—with—without intolerance. Simply to—to learn why it is they did what they did.

    Faulkner’s advice to writers, summed up:

    1. Understand that talent matters little, it’s the practice that is important.
    2. Train yourself, practice writing.
    3. Practice infinite patience.
    4. Ruthlessly edit.
    5. The most important thing is developing insight and curiosity.
    6. Develop insight and curiosity through reading and observing people.

    It’s great to know. What do you think?

    Peace,

    Deborah

    Journal Prompts for Aunts and Uncles

    You are an aunt or uncle and you have read the tips for being the best aunt or uncle ever. Tip number six is to savor the moments. One way to savor the moments is through journal writing.

    The following writing prompts are not only to help you capture the moments, but also to help you think through the relationship that you would like to have with your nieces or nephews, whether they are minors or adults.

    Let’s get started.

    Journal Prompts for Aunts or Uncles

    1. How many nieces and/or nephews do you have?
    2. How would you like them to remember you?
    3. What traditions would you like to begin or maintain in the lives of your nieces /nephews?
    4. What does being the best Aunt or Uncle mean to you? What does it look like?
    5. How can you set aside time to know your nieces /nephews and their goals in life?
    6. How can you help them achieve their goals?
    7. What is your relationship like with their parents (or the people who are raising them)?
    8. How can you improve or maintain your relationship with the parental figures so that you may continue to have access to the little ones?
    9. If your nieces /nephews are adults, what do they need from you now that you did not or could not provide in their childhood (For instance, a routine or act might not have been appropriate for the age or mental development of the child)? How can you incorporate whatever the newer elements are into your relationship?
    10. If your nieces /nephews are adults, what should you now omit from your relationship that was appropriate when they were children, but does not help them to progress today?
    11. If your nieces /nephews are adults, what traditions will you continue from their childhood?
    12. “I feel loved when my Aunt/ Uncle does______.” How would your nieces /nephews complete that sentence?
    13. What are your Aunts /Uncles like?
    14. What have your Aunts /Uncles taught you that you will add to the relationship you have with your nieces /nephews?
    15. How can you encourage your nieces/nephews to write in journals?
    16. Create journals about your nieces/nephews which…
      • …Record thoughts you want them to remember
      • …Capture words or concepts that they have uttered to you
      • …Include pictures of them, pictures of them with you
      • …Include notes from them
      • …Tell them about your childhood relationship with your sibling(s)
      • …You present as a gift to them at some point (You can leave the journals to them in your will, even.)

    Peace be with you,

    Deborah

    Heirloom Journals – Prompts for the Journal That You Will Leave to Your Children

    Not all journals are for yourself exclusively. Some would rather leave their writings to their children as heirlooms. Here are  a few writing prompts to get you started.

    Journal Prompts for a Journal That You Will Leave to Your Children (Heirloom Journals)

    1. Tell your children how much you love them.
    2. List and explain life concepts that you find imperative to know.
    3. What is your name? What is the name of the other parent?
    4. How did you meet the other parent? Describe this relationship.
    5. What are your children’s names? Why did you name them this?
    6. Describe something that is unique about each of your children.
    7. Describe a special moment that you have enjoyed with each of your children.
    8. When were you born?
    9. When were your children born?
    10. Where were you born?
    11. Where were your children born?
    12. Where did you live during childhood? Did you enjoy it? Why? Why not?
    13. Where did you raise/are you raising your children? (Author’s note: The early years are especially crucial to record, since the children might not recall the details.)
    14. Who raised you? What is your relationship like with your parents or parental figures?
    15. Describe your childhood.
    16. Describe what you hope your children will take from their childhood.
    17. Do you have siblings? List your siblings. Explain what your relationship was like with them in childhood and what the relationship is like now.
    18. Describe what you’ve learned from your relationship with your siblings.
    19. Did you have pets as a child? How was that experience for you?
    20. What were your favorite toys?
    21. What from your childhood have you incorporated into your parenting?
    22. What from your childhood have you not permitted in your parenting?
    23. What traditions would you prefer that you children maintain?
    24. How would you prefer that your children remember you?
    25. Share quotes from your favorite people – e.g. relatives, authors, speakers, neighbors, etc.
    26. List and explain books, songs, or other media that you want your children to remember.
    27. What are your food preferences?
    28. What are your dietary restrictions?
    29. Are any of your food choices related to significant family traditions? Explain them.
    30. Quote your children, anything that stands out to you. (Author’s note: It has been my experience that older children ask, “What was I like at the age of X? “ “Did I have a catchphrase back then?”)
    31. Affix notes from your children into the journal and explain the circumstances under which you gained possession of them.
    32. Who is someone important to you that your children never met? (e.g. Their deceased great grandfather) Describe that person.
    33. Explain why journaling is important and why you have given this journal to your children.

    Journal Prompts for After Watching a Movie

    Journal Prompts for After Watching a Movie

    1. What movie did you screen?
    2. Summarize the plot.
    3. What would you change about the plot?
    4. Why did you watch that movie?
    5. Where were you?
    6. Who was with you?
    7. Were there snacks involved? Which?
    8. Do you have a favorite actor in this film? Who?
    9. What would you change about the casting?
    10. If this is an old film, how would you re-cast it with actors working today?
    11. If this is a new film, how would you re-cast it with actors from the past?
    12. If it is a film from the early 20th century, compare it with the radio version of the film.
    13. Is this film up to the usual standards of this actor/ director/ writer/ studio/franchise? Why?
    14. How was the soundtrack? How was the score?
    15. Did you like the film? Why? Why not?
    16. Does this movie remind you of a different one?
    17. Is this a reboot, remake, sequel, pre-quel? How does it compare to the original?
    18. If this film is part of a series, rank each one.
    19. If this film is part of a series, what do you think is misunderstood about the series or its fans? What do you think is great about the series or its fans? What do you think could be better about this series?
    20. If you watched it in the theater, do you plan to purchase a copy later? Why? Why not?
    21. Discuss the poster art/ cover art for this film.
    22. Discuss the advertising for this film. Did it intrigue you?
    23. Is there memorabilia accompanying this film? Do you plan to purchase any? Why?

     

    All the best,

    Deborah

    Journal Prompts for After a Play or Musical

    Have you attended a play or stage musical recently? Here are a few journal prompts to get you started writing about your experience.

    Journal Prompts for After a Play or Musical

    1. Which Play/Musical did you attend?
    2. Where was the venue?
    3. What is interesting about the venue?
    4. Why did you attend this play?
    5. Who attended with you?
    6. When did you first hear of this production?
    7. Do you know people in the play (or behind the scenes) by name? List them and discuss why they interest you.
    8. Describe the plot.
    9. Does the plot (or do the characters) remind you of a different play?
    10. Does the plot (or do the characters) remind you of a different form of art or different discipline in life? E.g. The two lead characters in The Taming of the Shrew remind me of two boxers going in for the kill.
    11. Which actor caught your attention the most? Why?
    12. Which character surprised you the most?
    13. Which character is your favorite? Why?
    14. How were you dressed?
    15. Attach a photo of the evening (such as a selfie taken in the lobby or a picture of the program) and discuss it.
    16. Where did you go after the play? Why?
    17. What play/musical do you plan to attend next? Why?

    All the best,

    Deborah