It’s a Summer Experience

Well, so much for blogging through the summer; and what a summer it’s been. Since June I’ve traveled to

Four leading journalers at the 2008 Power of Writing Conference

Colorado and Vermont. In Colorado, at the Journal Conference 2008: Power of Writing, it was indeed an informative and pleasurable experience to listen to the four leading authors in journaling–Tristine Rainer, Christina Baldwin, James Pennebaker and Kay Adams–talk about the why journal-keepers, teachers, poets, and therapists find solace and refuge in a journal or diary. The four-day conference, with 350 diarist from four generations, was the first journal conference I’ve attended in my 14-year writing career. And the gathering was powerful, fun, affirming and rejuvenating. What I took away from the conference I am not the only diarist collecting and collaging pictures and words and images into my journal. I am not the only journalist mapping my life’s story from private writing to public reading. I am not the only journal-keeper studying the lives of other journal-keepers. Who touched me most was Christine Baldwin. At the end of a panel discussion, she took the time to form a circle of women to answer the unanswered question: “What happens when your journal has been invaded?” My heart leaped with joy as 25 women came to the circle and shared their story. One diarist said, her journal was invaded when she was 10-year-old and not able to keep a steady journal since then.

“Nurture the 10-year-old and began journaling again, let the hurt go,” Christine said.

Another acknowledge that she had read her daughter’s journal. I affirmed her invasion, saying that when our children’s lives seem to come undone and signs of danger lurk we as parents must read their journals to help with solutions. However, to snoop and pry that is off limits.

And this quote is for all to place in or on the cover of their journals:

If you read this, be aware–details have been changed to through off busybodies, and half of it is wishful thinking and fiction. Question is, which half?

In July, I headed off to a carefree girls weekend with the Sapphires. Our ninth year, in a place where we relax, talk about our lives as women writers and wives, and as Sarah Bracey White says “Eat lots of chocolate.” This year we took business with us, in a quaint coffee shop we gave a reading at the Hraefnwood Café in Bellows Falls and were invited back for the Third Friday Art Walk on July 17, 2009. If you’re in the area stop by; lattes and chi delicious.

Did I mention that I also met former Essence editor Susan L. Taylor, in person, at a book signing sponsored by Harlem Arts Salon. What an inspiring and humble person. She talked about her life, briefly, read from her book “All About Love,” and with love and care Susan encouraged the audience to get involved with her new project youth mentoring as we remember that “Life gives us what we need to grow.”

So, blossom where you are and pen your story in a notebook, journal or diary.