This is the second day's entry in my 2012 fake journal, April 2. A transcript of the text follows. The journal is a 7 x 10 inch handmade journal containing Nideggen paper. The pen used is a Preppy fountain pen. The pencil used in the drawing is a Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watersoluble Colored Pencil and the sky is rendered with gouache.
April 2, 2012 4:30 p.
Pauly just left. I've been nauseated all day. Samantha Burglund showed up today. It has been awhile. "Just checking in." We did a little dance around the elephant in the room. She's already decided on what she wants so any contributions I make are beside the point. It seems a backwards way of doing business. It's not a result of long years in the governmental sector—my father had lots of friends among government officials and none were quite like her. It's a personality trait reinforced by life experiences. I tried to comply and listen. But mostly it seems I'm just watching her dig a deeper and deeper hole for herself as she talks. I don't roll my eyes. I keep my face neutral—knowing that will make the meeting shorter. As if responding to some unseen, but triggered panic button Pauly shows up, all smiles and hardly a hint of formality. Samantha cut short her visit. Pauly has no news, just good cheer and some Sebastian Joe's chocolate chip ice cream. I haven't had it in so long I didn't even know they still made it! He left without wanting to share any. I'll save it for dinner.
[Image caption] April 2, 2012 12:20 p. window #3 Cement patches handled better yesterday…but today some clouds. Too bright to look out any of the windows on the south side.
Narrative Thread?The other day I was talking with an artist friend about IFJM. I explained quickly how being out on a bike ride had helped me clear my mind about my character. I knew where things were going, how things would end up.
"Is it always then about a narrative for you?" She asked.
"Yes, in some way, though I don't know all the points of the narrative until each day unfolds. But there is some sort of over arching flow to the entire thing."
Even when I write as someone who can't talk any longer (as I did in 2010) there is a narrative thread of which I am conscious. It's part of the full game that I allow myself to play during the month. In a way it also helps parcel out the tidbits of information each day, because otherwise I would simply sit down and fill the book up in two days. (That sort of defeats the purpose of the project after all.)
Do you have to approach this as a narrative? And as a narrative does it have to have a beginning (even if you begin in the middle as I suggest), middle, and end? Does there have to be meaning to any of this?
No, there just has to be you, sitting down and putting on the mindset of the character who is keeping the journal; writing and drawing in his or her voice; in that moment in which you sit down, on that day.
What you can ask yourself, as your project goes along, is how important is narrative flow to you? And as your project develops you can ask yourself whether or not some narrative thread has snuck into your process.
The point of IFJM is to learn something about yourself. What matters to you will show up on your pages—you can count on it. Sometimes its very absence is the screaming presence you can't ignore. The great thing about a little self-reflection towards your fake journal is that you can take action in your real life.