Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Note to Self

By Samara O’Shea
Collins Living
Reviewed by Iliana

“I have watched my thoughts – some mundane, others vibrant and strange – make their way to paper countless times and in a variety of ways. My journal has been the looking glass I’ve held up to myself on numerous occasions; some days I like the reflection and other days I am certain that a more hideous, uninteresting ogre has never existed. “

How many times have you started a journal only to write in it a couple of times and then let it sit on the bottom of your nightstand? Perhaps you’ve bought a pretty new book to start journaling but once you see the blank pages you don’t know how to start. While many of us like the idea of journaling for a lot of us it is hard to know what to put to paper or how to keep going. Will it sound ridiculous? Will it be boring? What if someone reads this (or not)?

In this engaging book on journaling, author Samara O’Shea unlocks her own journals to show us the benefits of keeping a journal. She’ll share snippets of journal entries questioning her faith, being heartbroken and many of the other moments in her life where she has turned to her journal to keep herself in check. There is a lot of raw honesty here and likewise she encourages the reader to strive for the same.

Journal writers are encouraged to write with no holds barred, because yes, even in our journals there is a resistance to telling the truth. Keeping a journal is a tool to getting to know your self better. Whether you re-read your entries or not, what is important is letting go in your writing.

Unlike many other books on journaling which give you exercises or prompts (this one has some but that isn’t the focus), this book is not about “how-to” journal but “why-to” journal. It is a book designed to show the reader the greater introspection one can achieve when journaling.

And as if Ms. O’Shea’s own experiences with journaling aren’t enough, she also shows entries from well known diarists such as Anais Nin, Sylvia Plath, and Lewis Carroll to name a few.

The chapters in this book are divided on topics such as writing about everyday life, finding your spiritual path, dream journaling, blogging and even detailing the intimate life. She’ll show you what the benefits are when writing on any of those topics and guide you on how to approach writing about them as well.

Whether you are new to journaling or want to see how you can go further in your own writing, I encourage you to give this book a chance. With her witty style Ms. O’Shea will have you smiling, and I bet you, you’ll even be reaching for your own journal.


Leatherdykeuk said...

That sounds useful!

J.S. Peyton said...

I used to be a chronic collector of journals. I even collected them years after I'd stopped keeping one. (Half-way through college I just found that, after a long day and a grueling week, I didn't have the energy to write.)

I'd love to get back in the habit though, because I find that when I did, I did get to know myself better and engaged in more introspection than I do now. This sounds like the perfect book to jumpstart my jouraling!

N.Vasillis said...

I have this book on hold at my local library. I can't wait to read it.