Saturday, June 20, 2009

Visual journaling

I follow Robin Atkins's blog Beadlust, and enjoy sharing her ideas and thoughts about life and ART. Yesterday she had a blog entry about Visual Journaling. She shared some blogs of people that I like to follow also. She wanted to know about her readers ideas on sharing their journal online. Boy, this was a tough one for me to think about. This is what I wrote in response to Robin's question.

"Interesting thoughts & ideas, Robin. I thought all day about how I would answer a question about visual journaling. I don't really do this, and I had to figure out why I don't. I use to keep a diary when I was a little girl writing secrets and dreams until the day my Mother found it and read what I had written and then punished me for the negative thoughts I had. So I kept my thoughts and ideas to myself. I can't help breaking out of that habit. Later on in college, I did a writer's journal for all the literature classes I completed. And oh yes! I did & still do write notes to myself in all my books. It is a way to make them personal to just me. I wrote about the pieces of literature I was reading and how it related to my life jotting down ideas for papers to be written or themes to explore. Later on back when the Internet was brand new & people just started to have personal web
(I owned Scottie Obsession), I use to write stories and had a whole website devoted to the antics of a group of Scottish Terriers. It was so much fun, but then when my first Scottie, FalaPink, died, it all dried up. I had no more words. I had no more stories. I was helpless. I tried to journal, to do a diary, nothing, nothing and more nothing. I tried to paint, to sew, to quilt, to volunteer...nothing. Then I picked up a needle and beads, and all those words came through my fingers onto a piece of fabric. And you know what? All those words became tiny pixels expanding across the fabric using beads as my letters. I still don't share my emotions in my blog. It is still so hard for me to open up, because I'm still that teenager who got caught spilling out her emotions to be found and used against her. I wish I could be like so many others and explore my emotions on my blog, but I can't. My emotions instead spill out into my Art each bead or fiber at a time. My heart wants the world to be at peace, and happy so therefore all my Art is made to make a viewer smile. Smiles to me will conquer the world! So make Art with your heart, and pass on those smiles."

So this is what I feel. Strange, but I feel naughty sharing my emotions here with the world to view. My family is very Appalachian which means you keep your feelings to yourself. Can I break myself out of this tradition? Can I reach past that teenager who was punished for writing a dream that to her Mother was false? We grew up with the saying "don't air your dirty laundry". Who's to care? And who's to say my laundry is so foul? Oh well, I'm going to think more about all this and try to push through. What more can we do except break out of our self prison, and throw our faces up to the bright warming Sun and learn to smile.


Carol said...

Well Dot, you just told a tiny bit about deep thoughts.

You don't have to tell the world anything about what you think. But you sure do make us all smile with your creations.

I never kept a journal. I never wanted anyone to know what I think deep inside. I have really opened up with the BJP and my blogging friends. It feels good.

Beady Zoo said...

Dot, thank you for saying what I want to say. I have the same reactions to “airing dirty laundry” from childhood lessons. Love and agree with your description of beads becoming letters & words, transforming into Art to create smiles and peace.

I’m thinking about joining the 2009-2010 BJP to challenge myself to create more frequently and within a theme. It will be interesting to see what you / we chose to share visually & in print in the future! Thanks for sharing this!

Plays with Needles said...

Well, Dot, I remembered reading your comment on Robin's post and making a note to myself to email you about it. I can completely understand why your experience with your Mom has affected you so... and you're not the only one.

I had many surprises in the comments on my Elixir of Life piece -- there were a number of women who emailed me privately expressing their admiration and/or disdain for my being so open and so public. I had never really thought about it in great detail older sister became a regular reader of my blog. Oh boy. Don't get me wrong; I love my sister, I'm proud of my sister and we do a lot of things together. But, she's a completely different personality from me and is a lawyer by trade. I find in sharing my emotions/dreams with her; they often end up in she talking of herself or discounting mine as "she's been there done that." Hence, I just have not chosen to share intimate feelings with her...I will, however, share them on my blog...go figure...

when my sis became a regular reader, I gave some thought to censoring myself and then I said to myself, "No way. This is your blog. You should be true to yourself no matter what" Of course, I would never say anything negative or hurtful on my blog -- but that's not in my personality anyway -- so just being myself and expressing my emotions has helped my sister "like" me more. It helps her to meet me in the place I am now versus seeing me as the six-year-younger sister who she always knows more than...

And here I go posting more personal stuff in the comment section of your blog but I just wanted you to know...that what I once feared...e.g. my sister reading my blog...has turned into a positive because I have stayed true to myself.

So, dear Dot, stay true to yourself. If that means you don't express your private thoughts on your blog. So be it. YOu're being true to yourself...

If you find yourself desiring to be more expressive, but are afraid of the world's response...that's another issue entirely and you're not being as true to yourself in that instance.

All I can say have certainly been more publicly expressive than all those women who emailed me posted the issue on your blog...and it's a worthy dialogue...because you wanted it to be. You're great, Susan

flyingbeader said...

Thank you to all three of you writing back to me about visual journaling. I think this is a good topic to keep thinking and writing about. Susan, I think your piece is just fantastic and should be shared all over the world. I still get misty eyed thinking about your tribute to your Mother. I'm still feeling that blocking mechanism about "sharing" but I think hearing back from you all has made me realize that I need to branch out & express myself more freely. I like the idea that possibly if I share my feelings and one of my siblings might read this blog and get to know me as an adult better.

JoTee said...

I to have a very difficult time writing and opening up on a blog, I have a blog, but I really do not write too much in it that is real personal. Always feel that there is someone out there who will pull it apart or take it the wrong way, etc.
When I was younger I did do some writing in a journal, today I have a journal that is about 8 years old, I write some things in it, or I doodle, then other times I use it for referencing certain information that I don't want to forget.

I just love this statement....
"So make Art with your heart, and pass on those smiles."

Thank you for sharing your artwork &* your thoughts.

Have a great day.