Perhaps one of the worst kept secrets in the world about me is that I am a journal addict. I have kept journals since I was fourteen. I took creative writing in high school. Our first assignment was to find a journal. The only requirement was that it had to be a bound book—no loose pages in a binder that could be torn out and thrown away easily. We were urged to think about a size that would feel good in our hands and whether we wanted lines or blank pages, and if we wanted lines how narrow or wide those lines should be. I knew right away I had to have lines. And my fourteen-year-old self picked a pink journal with teddy bears. I would guess it was about 5×8 inches. I cherished the few minutes of class time we wrote each day, and I wrote so much more on my own at home.
My handwriting is extremely slow. I have learning disabilities that interfere with handwriting speed. My writing is extremely precise, but the writing coordination just doesn’t come naturally. I spent a tremendous amount of extra time finishing the journal writing at home. The fascinating aspect is that it didn’t seem like work at all. When I could get beyond the frustration of my learning disabilities in the safe, sacred space of my journal, I could actually relax completely into the writing.
My journals are now an intricate part of my spiritual life and the source of my sanity. My journal pages and a black gel pen are as critical to me as my morning coffee and prayer time. Many days I would say that journal time is my prayer time. That prayer and Scripture and journal connection go back to monastic traditions. I get the link even today.