Q & A: All-Day Journaling Experience, October 7 2017

First question:

What the Heck Is An All-Day Journaling Experience?

I came upon it kind of accidentally. A few years ago I was feeling out-of-sorts, bored, and confused about my life. When I feel like that, I know I need to back off “excessive information consumption” and “get in touch with my inner self”. I decided to take a day off screens and use my journal as the only entertainment and diversion for that day (in the snatches of time that come between the tasks of daily living). I don’t remember if I had any kind of epiphany, but I felt refreshed at the end of the day and had added some interesting things to my journals, which would not have come to be if I’d spent yet another day consuming the internetz.

I have done this a few times since then, and will be doing it again on Saturday, October 7. I thought I would use this as an opportunity to show you, (if you are new to the everyday memoir type of journaling) the variety of fun and useful entries you can make in your journal. Think of it as a kind of immersion session into a world where your journal is a true companion.

The things that I’ll show you from my journal (in videos over the next few weeks) won’t necessarily be what I did on a previous All-Day Journaling Experience, but I’ll choose my favorite examples of journal work and hope you find some things you’d like to try or modify for use in your own journaling.

Q: Do I really need to be journaling ALL DAY? Is this a “retreat”?

A: Not at all. First and foremost, this is a time without all the electronic bombardment we are so used to. We just use our journal to fill up the spare moments in that day, rather than social media, or news or some other online “content”. During a journaling experience, we “disconnect” and allow ourselves to meander on the page. We jot down old memories, draw the paper towel holder in the kitchen, or write the most mundane of grocery lists. If we have maybe a full hour to set aside, we can do some deeper writing or planning, or we can spend the whole hour drawing curlicue flowers or writing our name in bubble letters.

Q: Is this an “interactive” experience at all?

A: Not on the day of The Experience, since it’s an offline day. I will have a Facebook Live the day before and the day after, where you can ask any questions or comment about your day of journaling.

If you want interactive, in the somewhat DISTANT future, I am thinking about starting a Natalie Goldberg-style writing group to take place on Skype group chat or something. Maybe an hour where 6 or so people do timed writings together, and then read their writing to the group.

I will be talking a bit about timed writings in the videos for The Experience, and I hope you will put a few in your journal on that day. You can learn a lot about yourself (and also practice your wordsmithing) by doing a timed writing on a deceptively simple subject.

Q: What supplies do I need?

A: I like a medium-sized journal with a fairly thick, toothy paper. You will probably want something that’s called a “sketchbook” and not a “journal”, maybe with paper that is billed as “good for mixed media”. It’s nice if your paper can handle some water eventually, but not necessarily on the day of The Experience. I do most of my everyday journaling with just my notebook and a Pigma Micron pen in size 05. It is satisfying and freeing to work within that limitation, especially for a person like me who suffers from paralysis by analysis.

Q: I’m interested! How do I make sure I get the videos and any other stuff leading up to the All-Day Journaling Experience on October 7, 2017?

A: All the videos will be public on Facebook, and there will be a link to at least one PDF. To make sure you hear about those things the day they go up, please subscribe to my Rough Edges Life Mailing List!

Mockingbird Fanzine Fundraiser for St Thomas Episcopal, Houston


This is an art journal spread I made in response to the first Mockingbird conference I attended, in 2014, at St Thomas Episcopal Church in Houston:

That church is now quite underwater. To raise money for their relief fund, I am going to reopen sales of my Mockingbird Fundraiser Fanzines. 100% of the profit from the sale of the 2016 and 2017 zines I made at the Tyler conferences will go to Houston.

(From here on, all the images in this post come from the Tyler FUNDRAISER fanzines you can purchase HERE.)

That Houston conference will stand out in my mind because it was the first one I attended, so I was “starstruck” (it has taken me until this year – and three other conferences – to talk to David Zahl without stammering.) He came up and talked to me at the registration that year, and I think I remember being unintelligible because of my stammering. But that didn’t stop him from doing some very nice things for me over the years since then, and being a huge encouragement in my life.

Unfortunately I arrived Friday evening, so I didn’t get to hear Sarah Condon, Aaron Zimmerman, or Ethan Richardson that year. The first talk I saw was Tullian Tchividjian, on Friday evening. This was about 6 months before his transgressions were “revealed” (a situation I wrote about here.) As always, I found his preaching both riveting and comforting.

During the dinner (MBird always provides quite a spread) I sat alone, observing, as is my unhealthy habit. I hung around the book table and learned that there was also a Paul Zahl…I cornered DZ and asked him if PZ was still living. Thankfully he was and I had the great honor to hear him speak at the Tyler conference earlier this year.

The next morning I heard the Magills play for the first time, and Megan was gloriously beautiful as always (my drawing does not do her beauty justice).

A bit later I was in line in the restroom, and I chatted briefly with a pretty blonde. I later learned that she was none other than DZs wife, Cate West Zahl, who is a painter extraordinaire. Really, I had no idea at that time just how cool and also how loving and good these MBird folks are. It was, of course, on the Mbird website that I saw the photos of the courtyard we ate in that night, totally flooded.

Which leads to the reason for this post. If you didn’t purchase these zines back in April when they were first released, please consider buying them now. 100% of the profits will go to the St Thomas relief fund (where you can also donate directly if zines are not your thing.)

If you do purchase but haven’t heard the talks from Tyler 2016 and Tyler 2017, you can do that here and here.