Okay, before I get started I have to admit I have hang-ups here.  Bear with me.  It’s only because I may be either superstitious or a snob when it comes to what makes a journal acceptable in my eyes.  The medium in which we create is so freaking important.  Thus my conundrum with my little new laptop.  I am not sure that I want to end up like that guy typing away at a manual typewriter when I’m 87 years old.  Although, if I make it that long, I’d be glad to still have the mind to write.

Everyone has their particular taste when it comes to journals.  But for me, I have this thing about styles of books being perpetrated upon people as journals.  So there are rules governing what is, and what is not a journal:

First of all, a journal is a sacred space where one can allow that part that God breathed into us to be made manifest.  So there needs to be a sanctity within those pages.  It should be set apart and not a common place to have your words to dwell.

1)  If it says “Journal” on it, then it’s not a journal.  At least it’s not enough of one that the creator feels that they have clarify it for you then it cannot be one.  It’s just like all false advertising in this world.

2)  If it has any sort of goofy writing upon it, (ie any commercialised writing) then it’s someone trying to sell you a book, advertisement, or something along those lines.

3)  If it has rings to allow for the pages to turn, it’s a notebook… not a journal.

4)  If it has pictures of real people, celebrities, or random pop-culture references, then it’s not a journal.

5)  If it has a lock on it, it’s a diary.  Not a journal.

6) If it has blank pages, it’s a sketchbook.  Sorry those of you that can draw, it’s not a journal.

7)  If it has written messages at the bottom of the pages, whether they are inspirational or clever, it’s not a journal.  It’s a daily reminder book or a diary.  If those messages are scripture, it’s a prayer book.

8)  If the pages are numbered, it’s not a journal, it’s a notebook.

9)  If it is made of plastic, it’s okay.  If it’s made of leather, it’s okay.  If it’s made of recycled cardboard, it’s okay.  However, it should be distinct, and it should agree with your inspiration or encourage such.

10)  It can be monochrome, psychedelic, or plaid.  It can be textured, or glossy smooth.  But it can never be a knock off of something commercialised.

11)  It should be something that gets used to hold lofty notions, lofty emotions, lofty prayers,  lofty thoughts, lofty dreams… from the most crushing of  situations to the most amazing of times.

12)  If it has designs that seem to lift your spirits, inspire you in any way…  Then if it breaks the above rules, you may claim it as your journal if you do not use it as a diary.

13)  Lastly, you’ll know it is your journal as soon as you see it.  Some journals are for certain times.  Some are quite expensive and some are really cheap.  Some would become heirlooms, and others you could easily turn in at the end of a college exam.  However all mark time and mark transformation into the people we’re supposed to be.

Somehow I feel that I have lost my mind sometimes when I speak about these things.  However, it’s really important.  It can be the difference between writer’s block, a sure literary insanity, and something life-changing and profound.

Don’t get me wrong, I know how this sounds.  It seems to be so elitist when I read and hear my words.  However, I truly believe that the gift of writing is such a fragile gift.  It can be given and taken away in a mere instant.   I believe that it is quite divinely granted.  So, we should treat it with the dignity that it deserves…

 Most journals are easily found at the local bookstores or bookshops.  My favourite journals are ones that are usually less than $20, although at times I have purchased something extravagant.  For me, it really is the sense that when I open the pages, I am able to touch the creative process.   However, usually if I find one journal that suits me, I buy several of the type (hopefully in different colours or different cover styles) because they are so rare for me to find. 

I hope that in your exploration, you find the medium that suits the source of your inspiration.