Thursday, November 8, 2018

Notes from the First Week of a Journaling Course

I'm at the the beginning of an interesting online experience which started on Sunday. It's sort of like a cross between a retreat and a class. The subject matter is journaling, but we're using a book, and we're journaling with markers, not just with words. In fact at this point, from what I can tell from what's being shared, we're journaling only with our markers We're also meeting once a week as a group, but if we can't be there, the session is recorded. There's also a Facebook group that's private--that's where we share our images and thoughts and view the recorded sessions and some art lessons from our organizer.

We are using Joyce Rupp's Open the Door: A Journey to the True Self. It's organized as daily readings and meditations. We were a list of what we would need for the class, which included just 4 colors of Copic Sketch markers. I have sketched so much this week that I ordered refill ink so that I could sketch without worrying about how much ink I was using.

I am surprised by how much I am sketching. Last night I came home with the kind of exhaustion that might have made me collapse in front of the TV for a few hours before going to bed. But I had a vision of a sketch, so I sat down to attempt it. I ended up with 3 sketches--I was still tired at the end, but my exhaustion had morphed into a less onerous fatigue.

I am carrying the Rupp book, my sketchbook (a 24 page, spiral bound, 8 x 6 book), and the markers with me everywhere. That's one of the advantages of a small sketchbook and just a few markers. My whole sketch bag is much heavier because I now have so many markers, and thus, I rarely tote it with me.

I am both frustrated and intrigued by the restriction of just 4 colors. We have a shade of blue, a shade of dusty red (more like a dried out burgundy), a yellow, and a gold. Some of my compatriots are much better at blending than I am. The restriction reminds me a bit of writing poetry in form or in a specific meter. The challenge leads me to places I wouldn't otherwise go.

When I thought about signing up for the class, I thought I would sketch just once or twice a week, to augment the Sunday morning practice I have now. I am pleased that I am doing much more than that.

My poetry is benefiting too, which I didn't anticipate. The sketches give me ideas for a poem. This morning, I wrote a poem that began, "My heart, this homeless shelter . . ." As I was walking, I was thinking about a new poem, one that jumped off of that one: heart as homeless shelter, heart as monastery, heart as harbor. I plan to write that one tomorrow.

It's now time for me to go to work, so I'll leave you with last night's image. What do you see?

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