Hi there! Amy here, and for this month’s write. Saturday, we’re going to be looking at that tangle from a few different perspectives. One of the keys to good journaling is getting yourself involved in what’s happening in your journaling space—not being afraid to share your thoughts, ideas, and emotions, even if it’s a layout about someone else. This month’s gallery had several layouts that did just that, and I used them as a starting spot for three journaling prompts that will help you get what’s real, fresh, and true tangled up with your words.
1. Combine memories.
You know how it feels when you see your child experience something and it takes you back to yourself as a child, experiencing the same thing? Write a piece of journaling that explores that feeling. It can be short and sweet: this reminds me of back then. Or you can develop it a little bit more: how is it the same, how have things changed, what do you miss about that long-ago moment?
Sarah’s gallery layout, Choose Your Own Adventure, explores her memories of riding her bike as a child, combining them with her daughter’s experiences. For my layout:
I journaled about a trip to Lagoon, which is an amusement park here in Utah. I used to go every year with my family, and I wrote about those memories bumping up against the experience of watching my daughter run around the same place I used to.
When you combine memories this way, try to look for connections. Sarah’s journaling, for example, explores the freedom of imagination that bike riding gave both her daughter and herself. In mine, I wrote about what’s changed but also what's remained the same. The mingling of present and past memories makes journaling that keeps the reader's attention.
2. Document your food feelings.
I confess: I don’t love ice cream. I mean, I like it. But it has to be really, really cold and hard before I can enjoy it enough to justify the calories. Hand me a plate of warm-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies, however, and I am powerless in the face of such buttery, sweet, chocolate perfection.
Kathy’s gallery layout, Ice Cream, however, made me think that a nice bowlful would be delicious! Our reactions to our favorite foods are made of fairly powerful stuff and it’s a fantastic thing to document.
Erin kindly shared two food-related layouts. In the first one
she writes about her affection for shaved ice. Notice how she doesn’t just write "I love shaved ice" but she gets the details tangled up with her affection? Her favorite flavor, the place she buys it, a the side note all get us wrapped up in the story.
When I was 15, I worked at a little pizza joint my cousin owned, called The Pizza Pan. A few years later he closed the place, but I still remember exactly how good that pizza was. I wish I had a photo and my adolescent thoughts about The Pizza Pan, because sometimes our food favorites are connected so strongly to a place. In this layout:
Erin makes both herself and her reader hungry for pizza! She does this by taking us along to Lu’s Pizza and sharing her connection to it. She doesn’t have to describe the pizza itself; just the long-standing connection helps us know how good it is.
Marnie also shared a food layout that includes a great story:
I also wrote about one of my food affections:
In my journaling I focus on the history of why I love berries so much, telling the story of one of my earliest memories. I think we all have foods we’re emotionally bonded with; we love them not only because of how they taste but of what they help us remember.
3. Focus on the deepest connections.
Try responding to this idea: _______________________ is your element. (As in: sand is your element. Or autumn. Or the desert. Or whatever!) You can use it as the first sentence of your journaling or as a writing prompt to see where the idea takes you, but I think you’ll find you land in a good, strong place. Think about a setting that is essential to the person you’re writing about, one of the places, seasons, or elements without which they would just not be who they are. Then find a photo to go along with what you write.
This idea came from Katie’s You Summer Girl gallery layout. In her journaling she draws us in by expressing the joy her daughter takes from summer. (I have my own summer girl so I can relate!) I think her words brim with sunshine!
Marnie shared this gorgeous journaling:
wherein she writes about how, even though she’s landlocked, the ocean is her element. Not just because she’s happy there but because she feels her greatest sense of peace there. What place do you go to that sparks a similar response? (For me, it’s the mountains!)
My son Jake also has a strong response to the great outdoors:
In this journaling, the details of the hike itself didn’t really matter; what I wanted to capture was his response to hiking in general. Especially as he’s entered the I-hate-everything phase of teenagedom, I wanted to make sure he knows I know he doesn’t, really, hate everything!
I hope you’ll respond to one (or all!) of these prompts. Link us up if you do! But even if you don’t make a layout right now with the journaling you write, you’ll have gotten your emotions tangled up with your words, which is the perfect place for them to be.