Friday, November 26, 2010

My journal and me...

Every journal I write and draw in takes on a character of its own. Normally I find a journal I like - leatherbound, with lines, without - and use that same journal for several years. But lately I've been given journals as gifts such as the one in this picture.

It was given to me by the wonderful students in my writer and wanderers class. They put a map of the world on the cover, made dots where they'd each been, then each did a page of original artwork and writing. It was a bon voyage gift because we were saying good-bye as a class, but I was also going off on some adventures of my own.

At first I had trouble using this journal. To me it was a precious gift, one I was afraid of damaging in some way. I'm not sure when it was - maybe on the fast train to Malaga, maybe on the ferry to Morocco. Or many right here at the Cafe Centrale at the medina in Tangier that this journal became mine.

By I know that from this moment on - this cup of coffee, this morning of writing and drawing - I lived inside this book as I have on almost every journey I've ever taken. I can't call them trips. Trips are something else - they seem shorter and planned. When people say "have a good trip," the assumption is that you're going to actually arrive in a specific place. But a journey. Ulysses went on a journey. Gulliver, Ismael. These were all journeys. They are open-ended. There is room for error.

I don't think I've ever taken a trip in my life. I've lived in the detours and the surprises. Nothing planned has ever mattered to me that much in the end. It's always the unanticipated that I love.

So this journal. It took a little while, but I lost my fear of damaging it. Of hurting it in some way.

I think it was right here that morning in Tangier after a good cup of Morccan coffee that this journal, and this journey, became mine.

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