In my backpack, I’ve been carrying some manner of a spiral-bound paper journal with me everywhere since 1991. It contains my darker, more personal journal writings, stuff that doesn’t need to see the light of day (or the long tail of the Internet). I’m nearing the last blank college-ruled page of my current spiral notebook, and I’ve been considering a change in tactic.
Most of my writing goes here (most of the safe, public stuff, anyway), so I’ve been writing in my paper journal a lot less than I have in the past. In some respects, I’m fine with that. It’s easier to type than it is to write (much to the dismay of my hand muscles that cramp when I pen a full page), and a website has no weight beyond the electronic device I use to publish, which currently is a subcompact laptop that I also carry in my backpack everywhere I go.
But I’ve also been toying with the idea of drawing more. I carry fine-point pens and a marker; have for years, but I don’t always carry a blank, no-rule notebook. To do so adds to the weight of my pack, and increases the number of items I have to keep together when moving stuff from the backpack to a messenger bag.
So I’ve been wondering if I should mix the two and start journaling in a blank sketchpad, interleaving the writing with the artwork. The sum total of my creative handiwork in one place. A journal notebook in the classic sense. It’s a multi-modal form of self-expression, and since it’s my dark journal, I can make dark drawings, foul stuff, and it’s OK. It has absolutely no requirement to be work-safe or shame-free.
But that’s just the thing…if I draw alongside my writings, what if I make a drawing I’m so fucking proud of, I want to show the world? Well, right next to it (or easily seen through the back side of it) could be some of the most embarrassing bits of writing. I guess that’s a risk I’ll have to consider. I’ll police the sketchbook just as tightly as I police the journal.
Just a thought.