Thursday, December 30, 2004

Scrapbooking Haibun

Scrapbooking is highly visual type of journaling. And somewhere between the visual scrapbook and the literal journal lies the artist's journal -- which goes back to Leonardo da Vinci.

Haibun is a Japanese form of journaling popular with poets from Basho to Jack Kerouac. Each journal entry is followed by a 5-7-5 haiku poem, which summarizes or crystalizes the moment.

Haibun can also be applied to scrapbooks. I created a scrapbook for my son's high school senior prom. Besides photos from before, during and after the prom, I included ticket stubs, names of friends who rode in the 20-person limo they all pitched in to rent, and a matchbook from the hotel where the prom was held.

My son had the usual adolescent stops and starts while planning for the prom. He looked dashing when he tried on his tuxedo rental, but the sleeves hovered two inches above his wrists. Within a day the tailor lengthened them and all seemed well, when my son received a call that his date had taken ill and couldn't go to the prom. He nearly resigned himself to attending "stag," when our pretty next door neighbor girl agreed -- the night before prom -- to be my son's date. She was a sophomore from another high school, but her mother was pleased to let her go if I would pick up the couple right after the prom. The girl had school the next day! She already owned a gorgeous blue semi-formal dress which just so happened to match the blue-ribboned corsage my son had ordered for the one at home with a fever. If his former date could only see how lovely the neighbor girl looked next to my son, her temperature would really boil!

Photos in place, I wrote this haiku in the corner of the last page of the prom scrapbook:
Girl next door said yes,
She wore blue in the limo,
You both danced all night.


Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Dialogue with Societies

As the holidays approach, we're surrounded by a whirl of activity, but more important and if we're lucky, we find ourselves warmly surrounded by friends and family. But perhaps, the holidays might instead open old wounds and unhealed hurts we've experienced with other people, making it awkward to be together. Perhaps the holidays are a time we renew our faith or, on the other hand, wonder how others can be so fervent. What better time to take a look at "that part of myself that is there before I am." Ira Progoff, author of the precedent-setting "Intensive Journal Workshop" made that statement in regard to his Dialogue with Societies concept.

Dialogue with Societies is one of Ira Progoff's six main variations of dialogue a person can experience with a journal. Using Dialogue with Societies means choosing your race, tribe, religion, ethnic group, socio-economic class, neighborhood or extended family as dialogue partner and musing, discussing, arguing or debating how these larger-than-self influences affect you and what role you play in their midst.

As with all dialogues, you take turns on paper. You write -- and the society writes back. What role do you play in a society and how does a particular society embrace or not embrace you. Do you fit in? Do you want to fit in? What type of dreams do you have that involve numbers of people? Can you be part of a society without being part of a crowd? How has a society changed over the years? Is it for the better or for the worse? Can you feel deep faith and be part of a religion without attending a church? Or can you be an active member of a church and feel cut off from your religion? Are the roots of your society in another part of the world, in another decade, or even in another century? These are all questions that can be applied to your journaling exploration of societies.