Please use this blog to help us remember Joshua Lee Anderson, who made the tragic and fatal decision to take his life on Wednesday, March 18, 2009. Please post any memories or thoughts you may have in the comments.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Journal, My Friend

It is no exaggeration when I say that journal writing has saved me.  For it is where, day or night, I can pour out my heart without inhibition or censorship.  It is a place of safety and freedom where openness and honesty are paramount.  What I truly think and feel, the "real" me, resides in its bosom.  The good, bad and ugly.

The pages welcome my pen.  They do not judge.  They seek not to fix.  I am completely understood so clarification or re-explanation is unnecessary.  Sometimes it is a purging; my hand cannot write fast enough.  Other times, my thoughts are flitting and incoherent so cannot be snagged and immortalized on paper.  Many times, I journal about quotes from my reading that help solidify an unconscious thought, feeling or question.  Many such as the previous post or, this one, have ended up here.

As a mother, I have the horrible and nightmarish task of processing the suicide death of my 17-year old son, my baby.  Much lies underneath, in my sub and unconscious mind.  My journal is a place to face what is there with the faith that I'll only "see" what can be handled.  Many times, it is convoluted and strange.  Other times, it is just repetitive, like "why did he do it?"  Who know how many times I have written those words.  Or it is ever evolving.  Random thoughts today may be solidified or revised tomorrow.

Regardless, in these pages, I can think through, ponder, and ruminate on my "stuff",  which over time, is helping me to process Josh's death and the devastating impact to my heart, soul, mind and psyche.

Two helpful books are 1) Creative Journal Writing: the Art and Heart of Reflection by Stephanie Dowrick and 2) The New Diary: How to Use a Journal for Self-Guidance and Expanded Creativity by Tristine Rainer.  Some of my favorites quotes in Dowrick's book:
"I want to write, but more than that, I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried deep in my heart."   Anne Frank
"We do not write to be understood; we write in order to understand."     Cecil Day-Lewis
"Truly, it is in the darkness that one finds light, so when we are in sorrow, then this light is nearest of all to us."   Meister Echkart
Rainer writes how a diarist, Anais Nin "used the diary not to escape from life but to live it more fully and deeply."  A number of journal writing books and memoirs have referenced "The Diary of Anais Nin" which is actually seven volumes.  I was lucky enough to find six at a used bookstore over the summer.  I'm currently reading through Volume I and the most meaningful quotes are below:
"I have been trying to be honest, day by day, in the diary."
"The diary began as a diary of a journey, to record everything for my father.  It was also to be an island, in which, I could take refuge in an alien land, write French, think my thoughts, hold on to my soul, to myself."
It is "the only steadfast friend I have, the only one which makes my life bearable; because my happiness with human beings is so precarious, my confiding moods rare, and the least sign of non-interest is enough to silence me.  In the journal I am at ease."
Since Josh's death, less than 2 years ago, I have filled up four books and am working on my fifth.  The fourth, and only book that I plan to use going forward has blank pages.  Uncertain about it at first, I now love the freedom to write, diagram, draw arrows, box, illustrate, list, color - anything I want within the pages.  The best news is that I found Piccadilly large notebooks that are the perfect size and price at Borders - for $5.99.  Whenever I see them, I stock up.

Writing utensils are important too, so say other books.  I agree now that I've found the perfect "journal-writing" pen, the Varsity disposable fountain pen by Pilot.  They are a bit pricey at $3.29 each but are worth it.

Is anyone else writing in a journal?  Are there things that have helped you? 


Sonia said...

Hello Josh's mom. Just sending you a lot of warm hugs and strength today while I read your blog. I like your writing pads and pens.

Sonia Mey

Katie said...

Journaling has definitely helped me in certain times in my life. I understand what you mean about using the blank, unlined pages; somehow the openness of it reminds me to not censor myself and to write or draw whatever comes to mind. The most helpful things I've found are some of the ones you've mentioned- having a journal and pens I like and enjoy writing in/with, and also setting aside time in a place where I can relax to delve into writing. Thank you for sharing your experiences with journaling!