Thursday, June 26, 2008

100 Memories Travel Journal

Hilary Liftin from Los Angeles described an interesting travel journaling tradition between her and her husband in the April 2005 issue of Real Simple magazine in an article called "Write It Down -- It's not a list. It's a lifeline." Whenever jetting back from a vacation together, Lifton and her husband pass a paper back and forth between themselves to log 100 memories from the holiday they just experienced.

In order to complete their list before touchdown back home, they have to dig up some obscure images, such as Entry number 12 from a Mojave Desert escapade: "By the pool at 29 Palms Inn, Chris briefly looked like a skinny Elvis." or Entry number 48 from another vacation in Bar Harbor, Maine: "We flew a kite until it fell in the water and a wave snapped it in two."

Liftin finds that making these entries is "a way for us to preserve the random, funny, sweet little moments of our trips that would otherwise be forgotten."Newlywed Liftin also said, "We love the tradition of our memory lists so much that if and when we have kids, we'll undoubtedly force them to participate. I can hear it now, 'Aw, Mom! Do we have to do the memory list?'

In this age of digital cameras, it's nice to put more effort into remembering than the click of a button."Note from me: However, these snippet memories can make the perfect companions scribbled next to photographs from the trip when a scrapbook or photo album is later assembled.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Journal writing experience at Carnegie Library

This past weekend, I drove out to DeKalb, Ill., corn country and visited a pristine little town cut right out of Americana called Sycamore. The 12,000-population town also serves as the county seat. In the town square on Main and State Streets lie the neoclassic DeKalb County courthouse, an imposing post office and one of the most beautiful libraries in which I've ever facilitated a writing workshop.
The Sycamore Public Library was one of the original Carnegie libraries built through funding by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. First built in 1905, the Sycamore Public Library received an extensive addition and renovation in 1997. The new section is fashioned with a hip, modern interior, yet the exterior has kept the integrity of the original design. It makes a stunning statement in architecture and color to any passerby. The library director also suggested I take a drive down Somonauk Street on my way out of town, which is lined with huge well-maintained Victorian mansions of every color and facade. Worth the visit!
I also had the pleasure of visiting another Carnegie Library in Eureka Springs, Ark., in the last couple of years, which I intend on returning to this fall. It is not as large by any means as Sycamore Library, but just as charming.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Mushroom poem on food reporter blog

I had the good fortune to attend a panel and meet ABC7 Chicago food reporter Steve Dolinsky, the "Hungry Hound." I was able to share a few of my food poems with him and he posted the poem "Mushroom Has Landed" on his food blog.

The poem was first inspired by a lecture at the Chicago Green Fest and book "Mycelium Running" by Paul Stamets, the utter guru of the modern uses for mushrooms, including mushrooms' powers to eat up and eliminate toxic waste.


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Let Wabi-Sabi Happen in Your Journal

Wabi-sabi, the quintessential Japanese aesthetic, can be applied to journaling and is, in fact, an integral part of true journaling, whether we realize it or not. Wabi-sabi is the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest, humble and unconventional.

Published writing is usually rewritten, edited and polished writing, set in symmetrical fonts and printed in uniform order and quality. Journaling, most often, is composed of our raw thoughts or emotions, scribbled down in an unsteady hand on a commuter train or a dimly-lit kitchen. Perhaps the pages are occasionally smudged with ink or stained by drops of coffee. Entries may be heartfelt and passionate, but can simultaneously be random, incomplete, unconventional and bold, without need to please an audience.

In the long run, the journaling process may add up to a complete picture or an epiphany of revelation, but tracing any single journal's pages, one-by -one, can render a modest journey, the humbleness of following a foggy path with no promise of reaching a clearing.Most distilled, the Wabi-Sabi of journaling embraces a sense of faith -- in yourself, in life, and in the promise of a future.