Friday, January 29, 2010

Journals on My Mind

New journal begins

The film Martha Ballard

In the PSU classs I teach, called "Women, Creativity, and Healing", we just saw the film "A Midwife's Tale" based on the real life journal of Martha Ballard, a midwife in Massachusetts and Maine in the late 1700's.

The film was made by a woman filmmaker after many years of work and shown originally on PBS. The filmmaker,
Laurie Kahn-Leavitt,
based the film on the book by Laurel Ulrich, which in turn was based on Martha's diary and includes many excerpts from it. From Martha's journal we have fascinating insights into the everyday of life of a woman of her time and of Martha as an individual.

A page from Martha's journal

I highly recommend the film. It's beautifully made and researched and will draw you into Martha's life and times. If you love the film, you may want to read Ulrich's book, which gives even more information and insight. I found that two of the families in Martha's community had the surnames of my ancestors who lived in Maine and Massachusetts at that time, which adds a personal connection for me.

To me, this discovery and acessibility of Martha's journal shows how important it is that we leave something behind for our descendants and others who will be interested in how we live now. At the same time, a journal needs to be a repository for our private thoughts and feelings.
One way to balance this is to keep visual journals. I'm going to be teaching a class called "Journal to the Center soon, so I've been thinking a lot about journaling and doing work in my own journals.

I started a new journal with a cover influenced by the appearance of
Martha's journal.

It turned out that this new journal was not very strongly bound. So I ended up covering the inside pages I'd done and the spine with packing tape. This strengthened the book and gave it a nice shiny surface, but clearly departed from my original vision! So it goes.

Right now it seems I'm working on two journals. One is just for fun experimentation and some personal writing, and the other is for very, very personal writing to be kept private. (But I will show the Blues Page from it.)

The journal for those deep, private, thoughts
and feelings--
not only teens need this outlet!

More experimental journal pages (cropped)

Another (cropped) spread from the experimental journal

When you have the blues, it helps to paint the blues

Waiting for jury duty, I sketched my fellow jurors
and the newscaster on TV at the time

I feel so much better when I work in my journal!

Here's the information about the upcoming journal class:

Journal to the Center

Sunday, February 7 2010 11-4:30
50. Bring a blank journal. All other supplies provided.

You'll bring a blank journal to begin your artful descent to your center with visual journaling! You'll receive written and visual prompts to inspire you to begin writing and illustrating your experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Whether your subjects are profound or everyday, you will create a lavish and enticing book in which to record and honor your life.

1 comment:

Jessica - Domestic PDX said...

I just requested this film from Netflix. Thanks for the recommendation!