The Discomfort Zone

I started a Creative Journaling workshop at BookWorks a couple of weeks ago. A primary objective of the class is to keep information that you collect easily accessible. That means dedicating specific journals to specific subjects. For example, our instructor (a textile artist with a penchant for organizing her thoughts and images on paper), maintains, among other journals, one for images that inspire her, as a resource for her work, and one on kelp (why kelp, I wonder?). A left-brainer in recovery, welcoming order for as long as I can remember (control issues, no doubt), I've taken to the class like a pig to mud.

Last week, we listed (aah, the joy of lists!) the types of journals that we saw in our future. I came up with a dozen (we are not surprised). Our homework over the next two weeks is to think through what they should look like and find sources for them. The journal should both match the purpose -- its content -- and also "feel right." "Don't force it," says Heather, our teacher. This will be the easy part. As an inveterate collector of notebooks/journals/datebooks, which feeds into my lust for paper and books of any kind, and my partiality to systems, I have quite a selection of potential journals of all shapes, sizes and bindings. Some I'll make myself, of course.

The more difficult part -- and a big motivator for taking the class -- will be to help me move away from the word and toward the image. My journals (or "diaries," as we used to call them before "journaling" became trendy) until now have held only words. As with much of what I'm up to this year, I'm hoping to inch closer to my "discomfort zone:" the visual, the intuitive, the instinctive and the spontaneous (by the way, did Jonathan Franzen make up the term "discomfort zone," or did he appropriate it from someone else? It doesn't sound original.). Paradoxically, I guess this means that the more uncomfortable I feel, the closer I'll be to succeeding. And since that sentence itself makes me uncomfortable, I guess I'm off to a good start.

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