Blank Pages Work for Me!

Guest Blog by Patricia Anne McGoldrick

Journal-Patricia MJournaling has been an evolving process for me.

I began with the traditional narrow-lined pages of a 1-year, then a 5-year diary.

This precious small 5-year diary  with a white leather-like cover and a small brass key was a special place for adolescent years. In a houseful of 7 siblings, you can be sure that I hid it in one place and the key in another.

A late 60s Christmas present, I wrote in it faithfully until my last year of high school.

When I look back at it, occasionally, I revisit those teen years of dating and friendships, school and squabbles, family times, politics, even, sadly, tragedies such as the assassinations of MLK, Jr. and RFK.

Weddings, births, deaths, life’s milestones, are noted in these years.

The small white diary is bulging with extra papers and mementoes thrown in for safe-keeping. This small time capsule was finished as I completed high school.

I stopped journal writing when I went to university.

Fast-forward a few years to my late 20s, early 30s, I started journaling again in various notebooks and notepads.

As a young Mom, in those 30-something years, I took a workshop that hugely impacted by life.

There, with a small group of diarists, I learned about a bigger view of the diary/journal.

The workshop instructor introduced us to connections between music and drawing and journaling. She shared many names of journal writers, recommended some titles to read.

The two most meaningful for me were: Natalie Goldberg in Writing Down the Bones and Christina Baldwin in Life’s Companion: Journal Writing as a Spiritual Quest.

These books and this workshop spurred me on to writing a more creative journal.

Freed to interact, to draw, sketch, on blank paper, not lined, with colour, markers. More open to explore options, my journal writing became a great spring-board for writing ideas and processing issues.

Today, journaling continues to evolve for me.

Blogging and journal writing overlap, at times.

It is almost a complementary system of writing.

The greatest development overall has been that escape, for me, from a compact, lined format to a blank, unlined landscape just waiting for some words or sketches.

A new page beckons!

Photograph by Patricia Anne McGoldrick