For stationary addicts, perfection can be confused with an empty planner. The pristine page – symbolising a whole, untouched year – is so daunting that you hesitate to put a blot on it, because what if you ruin it?
Well. I propose another way to look at perfection. And obviously I’m operating from the assumption that there is such a thing as perfection, even though I know that can be debated. But we’ve all experienced something we felt was perfect – a day, a movie, a piece of music – but that perfection isn’t universal, or valid for everyone. It’s not an objective fact – it’s a subjective fact.
Which, you know… aren’t they all?
But let’s not go down that rabbit hole today. I’m just here to propose, on the third day of the western new year and the cusp of breaking all those resolutions, that perfection isn’t a new beginning. It’s what comes at the end of a messy process full of dead ends and mistakes. You don’t put pen to pristine paper and produce perfection from scratch. Nothing grows out of perfection – it’s perfection that does the growing: it’s the end product, and it literally needs some shit to give it life.
Take a flowering apple tree: it didn’t spring into existence from a perfect void. It grew from dead leaves and dirt.
So why do some of us view the emptiness of infinite promise as perfect, rather than the end product? Because we haven’t put our (imperfect) stamp on it. We haven’t ruined the thing with our less-than-stellar Stuff. We haven’t yet revealed our new 2019 life for what it is – “a mingled yarn, good and ill together” (All’s Well). Perhaps it feels messy and wrong to fill a pretty book with pain and confusion side by side with euphoria and hope.
Is that the problem? That the book only seems pretty until you fill it with your ugly handwriting and your slightly non-noble thoughts? That the year looks promising until you’re a few days in and you realise you’re the same person you were in 2018, with the same insecurities and baggage?
Well, you can’t fix a shitty self image in a day. But maybe you can get somewhere in a year? Maybe it’s not in January we should judge ourselves, but in December? At the end of the year, when the planner is all filled out, maybe that’s when you’ll see the beauty of it. Maybe your ugly handwriting improves in hindsight, when every page is covered in the same illegible scrawls, making the whole thing a kind of abstract pattern.
And maybe a string of bad days can take on a new and beautiful meaning as you look back on them and realise that holy fuck, you actually survived that!
This new journal hobby of mine is quickly spiralling out of control. I’m now branching out into junk journalling, which is when you recycle scraps of paper and other materials to make notebooks. Many of the stunning work I’ve seen on YouTube and Instagram are very romantic and as far from minimalistic as you can get. Count me in!
My latest haul from the thrift store! 🙂
Which I’m now ripping apart…
… and staining with tea and coffee to make the paper look old.
The stained paper will soon join forces with postcards, flowers, silk ribbons, and lace to form new books!
And if this horrifies you, remember that these books I’m destroying would probably never have been sold anyway, so in the end they would have been burnt. I mean, come on: a booklet about the history of banks? At least I’m giving them a second life. 🙂
Okay, reeeeally long story short, I’m ditching my current journal and starting a new one where I’m dividing it into sections for different themes – like work, home, creativity, weeklies, trackers and memories, and so on. This is against the spirit of bullet journalling, but let’s face it: this is no longer a bullet journal, but a slowly junkifying art journal.
That rose is not one of mine, by the way. I cut it from a gardening magazine.
I’ve been kind of a coward with my journal so far, just trying to keep within some kind of imaginary parametres, but last weeked I was hit by inspiration (=YouTube videos) and started remaking my journal into a more flamboyant, whimsical thing with Random Stuff, because I like Random Stuff.
Like pink tissue!
Isn’t it more inspiring to be met by this rather than a blank page? I don’t have much lettering skills (or rather, the patience to apply them) so the frame becomes all the more important.
This is the cover page for my tracker/memories section. A quote from a ’60s newspaper, some bookmarks and more tissue paper. Flowers and butterflies: fleeting but possible to capture anyway.
Cover page for March. I’m a bit synesthetic, and March for me is pink. I’m going for a candy wrapper/gift theme. This is a pocket for stuff that happens in March (like tickets and things like that).
In my old journal I had one spread for all my projects. Well, that quickly went downhill. I have so many projects, I need SPACE! So, a section for home projects…
… work projects…
… and time specific stuff, ie weeklies and task lists. I asked my brain what it associated with that section, and it replied “work horse”: the heavy duty part of the journal where things get done rather than dreamed about. So I started drawing a horse, and it was ugly as hell, so I googled ‘horse’ and ended up on a promo site for Westworld, and thereby hangs a tail…
More to come as I delve deeper into the mysteries of art/junk journalling! *happy dance*
You may have noticed that I’m a creature of obsessions. What can I say, it’s my auxiliary Ne that throws these wonderful spanners in the works. 🙂 Anyway, my latest obsession came from nowhere and ripped through my life like a tornado. I’ve mentioned that Facebook targeted me with a relevant ad for once: Little Coffee Fox. I was so inspired by her blog, and if all her tips and tricks and cheering on weren’t enough, she started a watercolour planner at about the time I started following her.
Now, I didn’t think I liked watercolours. I have trouble maneuvering with a brush, and I didn’t like the finality of it: that you need to know what you’re doing before you start. But Little Coffee Fox’s Month in Color showed me that you didn’t really need to know! You could just doodle and add linework and white gel pen highlights and basically do what you liked. So that’s why my November cover page turned out a riot of mixed media!
So I dug out my old watercolour pencils and rediscovered a childhood passion. They’re the perfect compromise: the nib of a pen that gives you some control, and then the water soluble colour that blends and makes beautiful gradients.
And as I continued working with a lot of watercolour on my spreads, I discovered that they were an excellent way of entering diary elements as well – like this little doodle of hubby playing the piano late one night after we watched a movie.
And as if she’s read my mind, Little Coffee Fox has a giveaway this week: a watercolour kit with a Moleskine Watercolor Album, a Finetec gold palette, a set of three Pentel Aquash Water Brush Pens and a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. Wow… I mean, just those metallic colours has me all itching to start a new weekly spread! Or imagine painting a January cover page with silver and black…
Yes, you get it. You need this thing. Follow this link to enter the giveaway too! And while you’re at it, if you like bullet journalling, you need to follow her. 🙂 It’s a veritable rabbit hole, but so prettily decorated that you won’t notice when your life goes up in flames. 😀
Is your life in a state? Enter the bullet journal. To hear a gushy testimony by yours truly, click on the video below. 🙂