Arlene, here.

Da Vinci's Notebook
Da Vinci’s Notebook

Suzy and I take turns writing these posts and this week it was my turn…and this week, we decided we would focus on keeping a journal.  This is rather ironic to me because my relationship to keeping a journal has a checkered past.


I started keeping journals a long time ago — at least thirty years ago when I was in my teens and then twenties.  I love paper, tablets, and pens like most of us so the selection of materials was always of critical importance.

I remember the journals in my twenties (500 page, college ruled, small spiral bound notebooks).  It was a huge time of self discovery for me.  I read a lot about inner child work and reflected upon that.  I have always had a strong connection to writing, so if I wanted to really understand something, I would write it out:  passages from books I had read, prayers, quotes…Every morning I read and wrote about my crazy, turbulent, reckless life.  I lived with wild abandon in those days.  I am very lucky to have survived that time.

Frida Kahlo's Diary
Frida Kahlo’s Diary

Before I turned thirty, I burned all of those journals. It was enough that I survived.


In my thirties, I was in my first marriage.  I was not happy in that relationship.  I didn’t journal on a deep level because it would have brought those feelings of unhappiness to the surface and I wanted my marriage to work. So, to make sure that those dangerous feelings didn’t get out, I read books like, “How to Want What You Have”!  And, I kept the journalling confined to things like safe repositories such as the Simple Abundance style journalssimple abundance

Quad Ruled NotebookBut, you know that didn’t work…

And, then came the most interesting decade of all to date:  my forties!  I left my marriage and there was a lot of writing and reflecting to be done.  It was almost as turbulent as my twenties.  My emotional landscape looked like a civil war had been fought there.   I was back to a lot of reading and deep reflecting on a daily basis.  I took thousands of pages of notes in quad ruled composition notebooks, of all things.  They had to be college ruled with a green cover…and the writing instruments were free pens I picked up at hotels I stayed in while on business trips.

I have no idea how many of these I filled.  I’m guessing there were about eighteen plus notes upon notes on index cards.

I burned them all again.  As I said in the forums, I am the tree while the experiences are the leaves which eventually all fall off and are blown away.

Albert Einstein's Journal
Albert Einstein’s Journal

I love and admire the journals of artists who fill their pages with sketches, colors, scraps.  Even Albert Einstein jazzed up his journal with a picture of a fish as shown in the excerpt at right.

Of course the wonderful artists getting started with the Journey to the Golden Fleece are making amazing journals that inspire and delight me.
We will be showcasing a number of those at another time.  But, my journals do not look like those or Da Vinci’s or Kahlo’s or Einsteins.  My journals are still looking like this:

JournalsI keep one basic tablet for each major area of my life.  I keep lists of the things I see in my head because I really draw very poorly.  I don’t want to look at those chicken scratches!  Luckily, Suzy can draw — otherwise, the Journey to the Golden Fleece course materials would not look nearly so beautiful.  However, when I sit down to create a yarn or write something, everything comes out of my head in a rush.

GrandpopThere is one journal however that I have not subjected to fire:  it is the journal of my relationship with my grandfather who raised me.  I saved all of the letters he sent me over twenty two years from 1989 right up to his death when he was in his 90’s.  It is priceless to me.  In his words, I find the inspiration to be the best I can be in all ways, but especially in the areas of endless devotion and unceasing, pure love.

If you are on The Journey with us, I hope you are enjoying the experience and resources we have created.  We are constantly amazed by you and so thankful to get to know you.





6 thoughts on “Into the Fire…

  • November 23, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Arlene, thank you for sharing parts of your life. Beautiful.
    I think maybe during this course I should do some searching on why I cannot keep a journal? I’ve started at least 30 over the years and wind up ripping the pages out and using them for to do list and notes. My Golden Fiber journal is being kept on the back pages of the module questions. Using only one word description and momentous. But I would love a special pen, a gorgeous journal, and glue and scissors, colored pencils. All for that special journal. I have 10 of my Grams that are wonderfully special to me. I’d love to leave that for my grand kids. So in short I guess I’m going to try and figure out during this course Why I’m resistant to keeping a journal. You know I started in a leather one last week and already ripped the pages out. Hmmmmmm?

  • November 23, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Thank you sooooo much for sharing, you are a great mentor!

  • November 23, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    My journals are usually spiral notebooks that I can put in my purse; I fill them quickly and they double as memory books since I have trouble remembering anything (I have fibromyalgia). .for the course I’m using a binder and trying to make it a little prettier.

  • November 23, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    i have started more than i can count journals…..the only ones that i seem to be able to fill are ones that are all pictorial…i love cutting out and pasting any image that i am drawn too…when i taught art my students always loved to look through them to get inspired for the “new” project that had been assigned……i hope i can finish this journey’s journal….that is one of my goals for “call to adventure”…..

    • November 23, 2013 at 6:21 pm

      Deb, let’s try to complete these journals together! I never for fill a commitment to a journal. I’m going to give it my all on this journey. (: Onward!

  • November 23, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    The only journal I have been successful at keeping is my blog, my craft journal. In periods I can write decent posts, other time pictures is all I do… some periods in English, some in Norwegian. I am just going with the flow of what I want to do.


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