THE STORMING BOHEMIAN PUNKS THE MUSE: keeping a personal journal

I know some of you have kept personal journals since you were children. You have neat, well-organized notebooks (all the same size, maybe even color coordinated), dated, stacked on your own bookshelves or kept in well-organized boxes in the corners of your closet. You refer to them often, and find them a regular and reliable source for new material. God bless you, I’m sure.

This post is for the rest of us.

If you are like me, you’ve periodically taken a stab at journal keeping, gone at it haphazardly for a while, and then let it go. Every once in a while I go through my lit trash (stuff I’ve basically dumped in a corner but didn’t actually burn or send to the landfill) and look at this stuff. Then I usually throw it out.

Still, like clockwork, every few months I enthusiastically start another notebook or computer file, thinking THIS TIME I’m gonna make real use of this stuff. I do for awhile, then I’m off it again.

But even with this haphazard approach, I find great joy in it. And while I’m at it, even if the material itself will eventually be tossed, I get a great creative lift which does tend to bleed into other parts of my creative work. I recommend it. Why not? It worked well for the likes of Samuel Pepys, Anais Nin, Christopher Isherwood, Henry David Thoreau, Virginia Woolf, Aleister Crowley (hello again, old sport) and many other writers I admire.

Here are some of the tools I have used and been amused by in this matter of journals:

  1. The occult journal: record for a period such things as a daily I Ching reading, Tarot reading, astrological transits, shamanic journeys, etc.
  2. The reading journal: select a short reading from some book each day, record responses and thoughts
  3. LifeJournal is really well designed software with great indexing capabilities
  4. The dream journal: if this appeals to you, I recommend the book Inner Work by Robert Johnson as a guide.
  5. The poem journal: many poets have attempted such exercises as “100 poems in 100 days”, “30 poems in 30 days”, “a daily haiku”, etcetera. Sometimes this actually works. Go figure.
  6. Work through Ira Progoff‘s classic, “At A Journal Workshop”. Although his writing style is murky (like his mentor C. G. Jung), he is worth the effort.

Happy journal trails to you, until we meet again.

 – Charles Kruger
The Storming Bohemian