Posted by: deerharas | November 20, 2006


About every year or so I face the same critical task.  Last week as I was filling up the final pages of my trusted friend,  I knew I would soon face the challenge once again.  It was time to find a new journal. 

I think I began journaling my freshman year in high school, and let me tell you, from all my years of experience, I know how to pick out a journal.  I am an incredibly particular person when it comes to certain things (click here for case in point), journals being one of them.  I’ve had good ones, bad ones, and many in between.  A few have been gifts, and some I’ve picked out on my own.  For all interested parties, here are what I deem the most important qualities (in order of importance) when it comes to journal selection:

1. The ability to lie flat.  Nothing perturbs me more than not being able to make full use of my writing space simply because the journal won’t open up all the way.  In my experience I have found that it is best to purchase a spiral bound journal.  “Oh, but those easily get bent out of shape,” you may be thinking.  True, true … however the best kind of journal has a protective cover over the spiral.  Not only does it add to the aesthetic, but it prevents any alteration of the binding that allows for my #1 quality: the ability to lie flat.

2. Distinct lines.  My second pet peeve in regard to journals would definitely be unlined pages.  The lines provide me with some semblance of order in my life.  And it’s not just enough to be lined; that is just the starting point.  So in middle school/high school did you prefer to write on college or wide ruled paper?  I am definitely a college ruled kinda girl.  I like my handwriting better on narrowly spaced lines.  If the lines of a journal are fat, that is a definite turn off. 

3. Overall appearance.  Major points lost if there is anything super cutesy on the cover, i.e. anything Anne Geddes.  Also, quotes are a no no.  If I’m going to have to look at this thing for a year or more, I really don’t want to get tired of it.  And even if it’s a quote I like, there’s a good chance I won’t like it anymore come time for a new journal.  Ooh, more points lost if it actually says “Journal” on the cover.  Even more points deducted for any type of writing on the actual journal pages.  Those precious pages are for my words and my words alone.

So this evening I ventured out to Barnes and Noble on a quest for the perfect journal.  I have returned home with a new burgundy floral printed friend.  I can’t decide if it looks eastern or seventies, but either way I am pleased.  I feel we can journey together, late nights and weekend afternoons.  I always say that I am a better writer than talker, and this is never more true than in regard to my prayer life.  It’s amazing to look back on past prayers and remember where I was and how God was working.  It’s affirming to see what I have learned and how I have been changed.  However, it’s at times disheartening to see some of the same themes, the same confessions over and over, things that still creep up to this day.  It reminds me of a line from “Thankful” (by Caedmon’s Call, written by Derek Webb) … “You know I ran across an old box of letters when I was baggin’ up some clothes for Goodwill.  But you know I had to laugh that the same old struggles that plagued me then are plaguing me still.”  Progress, yet no progress.  It’s that whole already, not yet thing. 

So, there.  And I’m pretty sure I’ve decided that Jenny Lewis’ voice is painfully beautiful. 

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