It is my brother’s birthday today although he’s probably asleep right now, South Africa being so many hours behind us. Unofficially this will be the last year he can tell us he’s in the prime of life. Next year he is officially old but however much older he gets he will forever be younger than I will. He doesn’t look his age; he’s fit, healthy, lean and always good looking. I wish he was closer, we could catch up more often, as it is we catch up every five years for a few weeks, not enough time to compare childhood memories or get beneath the superficial niceties. The last sentiment is an issue as we came to know each other in adulthood. As young siblings we were separated by boarding schools that observed different term times, as a consequence we saw each other during Christmas holidays that passed all too quickly and then it was back to our respective schools for another year.
This year the MOTH (Man of The House) and I have made a point of getting away from home as often as possible when our four day weekends roll around each fortnight, although this fortnight we’re home having recently returned from a three week camping holiday. It is great to be staying home. The sun is warm on my back, topping up those vitamin D levels and grey clouds are steadily shuffling across the skies, away from here. The pool solar pump is whirring, harnessing the roof heat to warm the swimming pool and occasionally a bird adds to the hum of the bees. The MOTH (Man of The House) is indoors doing battle with the insurance company. The team leader of the company will get back to him within forty-eight hours, the same time it will take for a copy of the policy to be sent by email. Really? They could walk the policy over to our house sooner.
So I’ve got Stephanie Dowrick’s book Creative Journal Writing on Kindle (I love that Kindle works in the sun) not because I don’t journal but because what I am recording needs a fresh approach. So many ways to record life’s highs and lows and goodness knows I’ve touched on many: e-journaling, hand written tomes, smash-booking (yeah, doesn’t that sound like an anger management tool), photo journaling, doodling, tangling, and one I don’t use often enough because sometimes there are too many emotions, mixed feelings – buzz words that reflect how I experienced the day/event.
Then there are times when nothing is more satisfying than a pair of scissors and a glue stick which is where the smash-book idea comes in. Anything goes, grab it and stick it; anything that represents the day, feelings, whatever – and if feels gooood, just like being 9 year old you when it was totally okay to glue and stick and snip and paste and make a complete mess and feel quite wonderful about the process. Yes peeps it is all about the process, Stephanie thinks it is and who am I to disagree.
Stephanie Dowrick’s first prompt What are you feeling about embarking on this journey? Well, it is not a new venture, recording life, social events, work and family gatherings, it has been a part of most days for many years. But as I sit here with pen in hand and lined paper waiting to be written on there is a tactile and tangibility that makes the writing process of journaling seem more authentic than tapping a keyboard: more personal, direct and less contrived, more stream of consciousness.
The bougainvillea is exquisite this year and the prolific leaves that have been missed the previous two summers are once again brightening the garden. I can’t think how I feel about this prompt but possibly ambivalent – because I am wondering how this book will be any different from the others on my bookshelf.
Me: Maybe I need coffee, it might jog my creative juices; or maybe I need to sit here and plug on. No, coffee is definitely calling; yummy coffee, from the pod machine, with chocolate sprinkled frothy milk.
Muse: Just sit here and keep going, jumping up and down won’t get the prompt written.
Me: I’ve been here ten minutes and not much has happened.
Muse: Well, you’ve written about your brother, the creative journey you’re embarking on and the bougainvillea, I wouldn’t call that nothing.
Me: But none of that is in response to Stephanie’s prompt. Coffee will help.
Muse: You’ll be sorry you didn’t push through.
Me: Whatever. I need a new pen, this one is making my hand hurt.
Muse: Your hand hurt … ?
So I’m back with yummy coffee – now what? Not much for twenty minutes of writing. I’ll go check the mail, I heard the postie’s bike and it stopped at the letterbox, means there’s something for us. It might be more than a window envelope.
Me: I just cleared the letterbox.
Muse: Hmm, ready now to buckle down and complete the response?
Me: Aren’t you interested in what was in the letterbox?
Muse: Not really but you’re going to tell me anyway.
Me: It is the wedding invitation to our son’s wedding in February.
Muse: You knew they were getting married.
Me: Yeah, I know but I didn’t know what the invitation would look like. It’s pretty swanky and they want to know if we have a special song request for the after wedding reception.
Muse: So what now?
Me: I think we should put in a request for the chicken dance.
Muse: Are you serious?
Me: Maybe not, but it would be fun don’t you think?
Muse: Not if they ask you to lead them in the moves.
Me: At least I’ll have something to write about.
Muse: You have something to write about now remember?
Me: Okay, back to the task at hand.
Muse: Thank goodness for that.
Me: Did you notice I changed the header photo on the blog?
Muse: No, it doesn’t look much different to the last one. What did you do?
Me: It’s clouds and trees now and the blog header and sub heading are clearer to read.
Muse: They do look clearer.
Me: Why thank you.
Muse: Will that change make it easier to write?
Me: No, but it will be visually easier on the eye.
Muse: Are we continuing with the response to the prompt?
Me: I’ll just take a photo of the bougainvillea …
Muse: Sigh …