Thursday, June 16, 2016

Achievement Unlocked

Sunday I finished my 14th journal. Now, I'm going to warn you, I'm about to get my brag on.

Does anyone remember when this book came out in 2002? Well, it says a lot about my life at the time that I never finished this book but that I think of it as one of those initial stepping stones down the path that has led me here.

Recently a friend recommended this book and I feel they offer nice bookends to what I'm reflecting about this week. Both books discuss using a journal to record your creative impulses, thoughts, observations, and what all. There are numerous benefits to keeping a journal but let me contain my thoughts to one quote by Joan Wink (2011), "I write so that someone will respond to my thoughts, and/or so that I can further develop my thoughts."

My finishing my 14th journal is no small accomplishment. It is the result of NINE YEARS of work - trial and error - analysis and implementation - and it hasn't always been pretty. I have discovered I have a tendecy to "throw everything out" when I am frustrated and disappointed, and I can vividly remember a time, years ago, where I almost threw out the few journals I had done for that very reason. They didn't look like how I wanted them to, my reflections and writings were still angry and rambling rants that made me feel worse about myself. But instead I decided to add an element that changed the process and helped me advance in my journal keeping.

There are my babies. And it's strange but as you pick them up and flip their pages, memories and sensations fill the room like a fragrance. Oh, yeah, my journals today make me feel like a poet. But this kind of accomplishment is the result of time. And time management in terms of goal setting is something I want to reflect on today.

I think this last picture really says a lot about momentum. Yes, that first journal took two years, and every journal after that, for better or worse, took about a year. But in 2015 I started to pick up momentum, I started to find my rhythm, I started to experience flow with my journals.

I find one of the disadvantages to traditional education is the lack of long term observations. Every year we start over, begin again. My journals provide a powerful visual to students about longevity and sticking with something. It also shows development and growth. Each journal is different then the last.

But it doesn't just happen. On Sunday when I finished writing in my journal I had to take some time to prep the next one. For me the ritual and routine of setting up the next journal is a kind of meditation used to set my intentions.

I have had students tell me they hate my journal and that's OKAY! Because the way I do it is not the way you HAVE to do it. The readings for class this week really reflect the scope expression and the possibilities of the 21st century give us. What I want to inspire in a student is that if they start in the 12th grade developing and searching for their style, they will be rocking it when they are 22 years old.

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