I came to the blog today thinking that I would start talking about this year's International Fake Journal Month and see I have some old business to wrap up.
Last year at the end of IFJM I promised to provide a wrap up of my 2010 experience. It got put off due to other commitments and then sidetracked completely due to a conk on the head and a nasty bout of pneumonia.
But before I move into 2011's celebration I wanted to thank again, all who participated last year, and if you were reading along and waiting for that wrap up I have just a few words.
Often IFJM is an emotional time for me. I try to deal with issues that will hold my interest for a month, take me out of myself, and allow me to experiment with, or wallow in, some sort of art medium I might not normally use. If I can do even a little of any one of those things then I'm set to say that year's effort was successful.
It isn't always obvious to other people who read my fake journals what my characters are going on about. And sometimes it isn't obvious to me until I'm days or even weeks into the journal. For instance in 2009 I didn't set out to deal with my grief over the death of a friend, but in turning to birds for solace and landing in an alternate Twin Cities destroyed by disease it didn't take much of a stretch to see where all that was heading!
Last year was a year of coming to grips with accelerated aging in the people around me—both extended family members and friends. I ended up spending time thinking about my own experience of aging and what was important to me, and also what was my own worst nightmare—which faculty would I miss most. Watching people around me lose touch with their brains or have other failures in communication, put me out of sorts to say the least. And in that mood faces began to appear to me, and a person who couldn't communicate.
Part of the execution of the 2010 fake journal was simple and the drawings are certainly simple. But there is a lot of frustration in that project, which I can see in the pages because I inhabited the mind of the character while creating that journal and she was beyond frustrated.
Later in the summer a falling light fixture conked me on the head and spun my life around in another direction. I am not superstitious (well maybe about the way I eat my "Chocolate, Chocolate, not a typo, Cake," but not about other things surely) and I in no way believe that exploring a lack of communication and connection with brain brought one on for me.
But I do think it is interesting that in my art, my work, my personal life, and my physical well-being last year that seemed to be the theme. And it was a good thing because I was supported by the earlier introspection brought out by the experience of my fake journal for 2010.
I think that's what art does for the people who make it. (Who knows what all it does for the people who view it.) Creating images and text help you to consider things that are perhaps alien to you at first glance, and then companionably familiar upon closer exploration. Or you get to look at things you want to remove or let go of. It's different for everyone.
For me, since process has always been a big part of what I do, 2010 was a year to look at the process I do follow and see where it is tending, how supportable it is, and what types of resources I'll be able to draw on.
So that's the old business. Don't look for me to find a non-verbal character anytime soon. Time brings that to us all too soon. I have other things to explore.
I look forward to a great 2011 IFJM with all of you. I'll have more to say soon about journal selection and other preparations. I'm very excited that it's almost upon us and I hope you're all itching to get started as well!
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