50 Opening Lines From My 2023 Journal

50 Opening Lines From My 2023 Journal

The blank page. It stares us down, like a defiant child, from our notebooks, journals, and desk monitors. We want to write, but it’s the first scribble on paper that causes us to pause. We hover over our desks transfixed. We stare back as one in the ultimate staredown. The first line, mark, or sentence holds weight for we who dare to take pen to paper, or who boldly write what no one has written before. Even if we write for no other audience than ourselves, we still stand before the start of the page with a strange reluctance to commit to the first writings to mark that vast empty corridor to Lord knows where! Maybe it’s exactly the problem…once we set about the first lines of our page, there’s no telling where we will be led. This is both thrilling and exceedingly daunting. In my book, Journaling for Discovery and Delight, I suggest the spill-your-coffee method to get beyond this, but that’s not ideal in every situation. Especially for Tablets.

If you find yourself feeling a bit intimidated by the start of a blank page, or new journal, or a blank computer screen and you desire to get those words out, I am here for you.

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Journaling: Lifestyle, Practice or Process?

Pictured: The Onion Skin Journal and a blurred Phoenix, the very sweet AND annoying cat who woke me up.

Recently, one of our three cats decided it would be wise to rouse me from my sleep at 2 o’clock in the morning. In the…morning. As in before sunrise. Did I mention it was morning…? I couldn’t get back to sleep, feeling awake enough to move, but not actually awake enough to do anything too cerebral. I discovered this fact as I sat before my blank screen thinking I’d write since I was up anyway- that turned out to be a fruitless endeavor. I decided to look for a particular journal from my journal archives, which are kept on two large bookshelves in my office, and as I fumbled to get through the clutter and dust in front of the shelved journals, I found myself focused on the physical act of decluttering. Did I mention it was two…in the morning. Surprisingly, I learned a valuable lesson. The middle of the night is an excellent decluttering and organizing time for me apparently. Not that I want to make it a regular thing, however, I not only found the journal I was looking for but also found that by 5 a.m. I had completely decluttered, dusted, and somewhat reorganized the shelves, and now I sat admiring them.

So, before I settled into the rest of my day I took to Instagram to share my early morning sleepless shenanigans with the wider world (or at least those who follow my @thejournalenthusiast account). I received several comments and questions, and one that came up (and does frequently) is the topic of “process”. As in, “What is your journaling process?” and “What do you write about?”

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All I know About Grief and Sadness

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I have been thinking about the way grief has moved into my life, a permanent, unwanted resident.

I have been trying to figure out daily how to navigate life with this new occupant who, whether I want to accept it or not, has decided to stay. I have been leaning hard on faith, which, in turn, has carried me faithfully (even when I haven’t fully appreciated it).

I have two things to offer you in light of the losses suffered in this life. In light of living with grief and sadness when they come knocking, bags in hand, to stay. Or when they kick down your door, push past you, and make themselves comfortable glaring at you from your living room couch, the unpleasant couple’s visit you hadn’t anticipated. To those who receive, I offer a poem. For those who fear saying the wrong thing (which you most likely have already done anyway, as I have) I offer some words of guidance, and I hope empowerment. For those of you who will squirm over my candor, I assure you, yes, this does need to be said. Shall we get on with it then?

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When You Kill A Spider In Your Daughter’s Room at Eleven PM

Forever loved, remembered daily.

This morning I woke up to the date which marks the second anniversary of our daughter Katherine’s death. How is it that such a date can be spoken of as an anniversary? This I cannot answer, but only acknowledge. And as I sat wondering what I wanted to do in the many ways I want to acknowledge both her living and dying, I decided to take out the poem that still is fresh in my heart and mind. Though I wrote a new poem this morning both for and to my girl, it is yet too raw, too tender to share today…

Instead, I am sharing a poem I wrote in 2015, which comes to my mind now and again. Though I have written many poems, and prose about and for my daughter, I think this is one of my favorites, if not my very favorite. I made some revisions, as I often do. Not so much the content but more the structure and also one line in particular, as I felt it needed some clarity. It’s actually the line about the nine-year-old girl killed in her own home (.Jamyla Bolden of Ferguson, MO)- I felt it was too vague and in time might lose its meaning. This event so struck me at the time of writing- it exemplified and magnified the challenge we all face in acknowledging the heartbreaking, hard realities and injustices of life.

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