Left: The logo for International Fake Journal Month shown at the left in this post (and at the top of the right-hand column of this blog.
It's time to start gearing up for the 2014 celebration of International Fake Journal Month.
Of course that means a new logo and a new motto.
The motto for IFJM 2014 is: NO Explanations.
That's right, no explanations.
I've deliberately been a little fuzzy in the logo because I either have a massive migraine or think that this helps communicate the non-communication.
First some sad news. This year there will be no commemorative buttons. The project has simply grown too large for me to send out all the buttons. (The buttons are still affordable it's just the darn postage and the special padded envelopes that are pricey.) But not having buttons doesn't stop us from having fun. You can always printout this image and glue it to foamcore board, trim it and attach a pin back! Bingo, a button.
Now some good news. So many folks are participating it isn't feasible to send out buttons.
And some additional good news. When I selected the motto for 2014 I had in mind setting you all an additional task.
Don't gasp. You can still participate in the way you usually do—whatever has been working for you. But if you want to add another dimension to your participation I'm setting some additional parameters for you—actually in a way they've always been set, I just want you to pay particular attention: No explanations.
That's right. This year when you keep your fake journal I want you to pay particular attention to the "reality" of what your character would or wouldn't know, what he or she would or wouldn't write in his or her journal. I'm encouraging you to take the verisimilitude of your project up a notch.
So for instance if your character is meeting someone or experiencing something for the first time he (or "she" understood for the rest of the post or I'll get bogged down in double typing) would probably note something down about that person or thing. But what exactly would he note down?
He might complain about his job, but would he really go into hyper detail about little indignities he can't forget? Might he not just gloss over such things? Or would he keep a detailed list because he's obsessed with "justice" (and maybe just a little scary).
You'll have to decide how thorough your character is. Some might just note a name of a new person they meet, others might write a phone number and address, or a line or two of text describing the person or the thing they are observing.
That's one level to this: how observant and diligent is your character?
Another level to all this is that I'm encouraging you to have no explanations. JUST DIVE IN and whenever possible check yourself before you explain. Is it that important to your character that he explain something or is it important to YOU. If the latter, then leave it out.
This is another way of distancing yourself from your character. It is also a way of changing your character's mode of interaction with the journal.
And if you can distance yourself from your character, then those of you who like to participate in this event in order to set greater distance between yourself and your internal critic will immediately find a greater safety cushion of distance.
It may feel more uncomfortable because your normal mode of journaling is to explain everything. But for this project's duration stick with it and give it a try and see what benefits you can derive. You may end up with a greater respect for your own ability to detail your life when you're done. Or you may come away freed from the restraints or "work" of explaining everything all the time.
One of the goals of IFJM is to help the participants explore new ways to interact with their journals when the project ends. By setting very specific goals and parameters on your fake journal, that are different from your usual behavior, you'll be able to maximize those results.
Now if this sounds all too complicated or uncomfortable to you, or if you find it goes against your plan (good for you for already having a plan for 2014) for your fake journal, DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT.
Go ahead with your original plan. Just keep your character in mind.
The most important thing is that you participate and explore different ways to interact with your journal.
For some IFJM Participants you've already been exploring the no explanations approach by being extra vigilant about what your character writes down. You've already analyzed you're own journaling process and found yourself hyperdetailed or very non-explaining already. You know your character would never stop in the middle of his fake journal and write introductory paragraphs about his mother because he knows his mother. Nope, not in the journal you're creating. So if he had the need (for whatever reason) to introduce information about his mother you found some sly and realistic way to get it in. Fantastic.
This is something I want you all to think about as April arrives.
I do believe it is important that we all look at how we normally journal, and then distance ourselves from that normal journaling through not only the choice of character (perhaps a different sex, age, city of habitation, occupation, etc.) but in the methods employed by that character to journal. Things that make up that character's voice. His response to his world.
Explore that response; set yourself up to be able to do that. Then sit down every day in April and have some fun.
For now, take some time to select a journal to work in, and spend a little pre-event time with your character so you know what materials he might use in his journal. I'll have more to say about this in March.
I look forward to seeing your fake journals.
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