Saturday, August 17, 2013

About journalling

A lot of fountain pen enthusiasts keep a journal or even several ones. Besides the obvious benefits it also gives us one more opportunity to use our beautiful fountain pens!

I started keeping a daily journal when I was eleven. I also remember earlier attempts, scribbling in little A6 composition notebooks about the newt population in the garden pond and the neighborhood cat which I'd christened "Elsa" ("Born Free" was my favorite movie at that time), but I didn't stick with the project in earnest until 5th grade. At the same time I used to write stories (about horses, mostly) and illustrate them but I always kept them strictly separate from my diary.

My diaries from age 11 to 12. A path into the past, but rarely walked. ;)

The timing for starting a diary was good as it wasn't one of my best years and I believe even back then writing about it helped dealing with the more problematic stuff. I remember how some of my friends also started a diary and sometimes we would spend evenings sharing things we'd written about and read selected pages aloud. Sometimes the text felt like a totally different person than the one I knew and talked to every day; like a peephole into another world, right around the corner and yet totally hidden from view. I still remember vividly how amazing that felt.

This Chinese notebook still has a certain appeal to me.

One of my first diaries was one of these Chinese designs. I simply adored their colorfully illustrated pages and silky smooth covers often depicting trees, boats and pavilions. Sometimes looking at the covers was like a glimpse at another universe as well, strange and mysteriously peaceful. I still like this little midnight blue book.

My journals from age 11 to 30, part 1.

As puberty lurked right around the corner I found even more uses for keeping a journal (as pretty much everyone who still has a journal from their teenage years seems to agree, those texts can be a pretty embarrassing read at times but nonetheless revealing and interesting). Soon it had become a habit. I took some breaks in my early twenties and there was even a period when I used the PC for journaling, probably due to the fact that I'm much faster at typing. Since about 2010, however, I've been back to fountain pen and paper.

 My journals from age 11 to 30, part 2. Doesn't look as much as it feels when carrying them around! 

I definitely have forgotten a few but these are the journals I filled from age 11 to 30. Of most I recall suprisingly clearly when and where I bought them or who gave them to me and what my life was like while I filled them with my thoughts. Most of them are bound in paper, some in cloth, others have hand made covers or even spiral bindings (I hate spiral notebooks). There's one with a cover made of thin aluminium sheets and even - yes, I'm going to admit it - one depicting a horse. Most are A5 size which is still my favorite size for a notebook.

I rarely look into them but wouldn't toss them all the same, not only because of the occasional letters, photos and keepsakes between the pages. Should anything happen to me, however, I definitely don't intend to leave them to anyone and would rather have them burnt (has anyone ever heard of a ghost who has returned because of being to embarrassed to rest in peace?).

Do you keep a journal and what do you do with the filled books?


  1. I've kept a journal, on and off, for almost 5 years. The entries range from dated "log entries" describing the workday or a vacation, thoughts on work, books or movies to test scribbles with new pens and inks.

    I should perhaps admit that it's been mostly "off," since I'm a few pages short of finishing my second journal.

    I keep my old journal, along with letters from penpals, in a small basket. Re-reading is rare for me as well. Sometimes older entries can put a smile on my face, or remind me of something good that's happened (then, or since).

  2. perhaps it is never too late to start a journal,
    but it is not within my discipline to have one —
    so I never had. in recent years, I started one for work + life:
    which is quite funny to read in the whiplash it causes.
    I keep work stuff, and daily thoughts,
    and summaries of letters.

    for a number of (recent) years I have pursued a journal,
    written in loose paper leaves,
    and then mailed to someone...

    curiously, some fascination with journals, pens and inks...
    and at times, I do not wish that they mix :-/

    I did write one of memories for my daughter... still on-going.

    now I start one for an upcoming trip to Japan...
    which could be the start of something more ritual.
    unfortunately, I cannot count on finding a thin notebook on the first day there,
    so I will have to bring some other (Japanese) notebook with me — insurance.

  3. These are lovely. I really like the older style journals that looked like real books, which are sadly next to impossible to find these days.

  4. Saw this post via . I share your passion for journaling. I started keeping one when I was 13 (that means not tearing the pages out), but probably received one to write in much earlier than that. I'm on my 61st volume at age 36. They're currently in my basement all lined up in order on a bookshelf with my art supplies. I keep a tiny composition book with dates and volumes for easy reference if I wanted to refer back to a certain date, or I just pull one out randomly from time to time and flip through and read old entries. :)

  5. I just came across your post from Notebook Stories. I know it's an old post, but I wanted to say it's very lovely and I really enjoyed the pictures of your journals. I have a blog about journaling, and I have added your blog to my list of favorite blogs about journaling and such. It's hard to find the blogs of other journalers.

    1. Hi Shaynie, thanks a lot for linking my blog. I'm glad you've enjoyed it. Many fountain pen people are journalling as well!