I am not the first person to ask people to sign my journal. And I will not be the last. But I have a unique project that I’ve been working on for the past decade and a half. I have been asking people to sign my journal since I was a senior in college. 1996 is when I was a senior at Providence College. A friend gave me a multi-pack of journals with sunflowers on them. The pocket-size journal of that pack became the first journal of The Original Journal Project.
When someone would say something funny or wise or obscene, I’d say, “Write that sh*t down.” And so began the journal.
After I graduated, I carried my journal everywhere I went. In 1996, I made a pact with myself to take out my journal and begin writing wherever I was if muse came a-knockin’. So wherever I was, there was the journal, out on the coffee table, bar, sidewalk, street, bus, airport — you get the point.
I, then began asking random people to sign my journal. I am a writer and I see stories everywhere, especially in people. I would tell them there are three rules:
1. There is a Front Door, which is Rated PG-13 (you enter the Front Door in the front of the journal).
2. There is a Back Door, which is Not Yet Rated (you enter the Back Door by flipping the book around and going in the back of the journal).
3. There are no rules.
(The images in the slideshow are part of The Original Journal Project, which includes signatures from many of the hundreds of journals.)
People write all kinds of stuff.
I ask people in train stations, bus depots, airports, en route traveling, cafes, bars, pubs, taverns, friends, business associates, students, teachers, my dentist, you name it, people from all different journeys – walking, running, tripping, skipping, singing their own song of life, to sign the journal and I am still collecting signatures.
Some people politely decline. Some enthusiastically accept, and some simply don’t get it, but what matters most, are those that do. Most people accept the invitation and leave their unique stamp. Some journal signings are big thoughts; some are medium thoughts; some are deep thoughts; some are naughty thoughts; some are nice thoughts and some are tiny thoughts. But one thing that is unique about all the journal signings and the people who sign them, is they are all original.
I wrote a book proposal for this in 2007. It took a really long time to export the creative idea into a well-written, expository frame. I polished it and mailed it to a major publisher in January of 2008. It made it all the way to the acquisition meeting. I remember the day I mailed it out as it was the day Obama was inaugurated. And there was a blizzard in Eastern North Carolina.
The journal has traveled some of the world (me with it). It has been to half of the United States, Holland, and the UK. It has traveled and been signed on airplanes, Greyhound buses, cabs, cars, on foot, in parked cars, and many other forms of traveling. The journal is still traveling, just a little bit slower, as I am a mom now to a toddler.
There is a New York Journal, Greyhound Journal, Holland Journal, Boston Journal, California Journal, and now most recently, the UK Journal. There are many others. You will meet the people that signed the journal through this website. You will also have the opportunity to participate, as The Original Journal is an on-going project.
There have been similar book projects that have been created, organized, and published. I get so frustrated when I see a book project similar to mine out there on book shelves. Mainly because I just can’t get myself left brain organized to publish it myself. I call this crossing the left brained rickety bridge. I have pitched the book to four literary agents and they all say it is a great, unique idea, but it needs some more time. Dude, I have been working on this for almost 20 years. The dude that invented the printing press went broke and had to hand it over to someone else (I learned this recently at the British Library.) I believe in this project and it is my calling to create journals for other people that will get you started Journaling Your Journey. My tagline for this project is Journal Your Journey.
I really believe this book project will get published someday. And it will have many different journals, as a result of The Original Journal (here is link to Facebook page) getting published. Someday it will get published, even if I have to self-publish it.
So, I am going to start this website and see where it goes. I thought I could just have the facebook page at first, but I am learning that a webpage can reach more people. This website is my fight against the left brain (my rage against the machine), but also a celebration of the right brain, which created this unique idea of asking people to sign my journal and be uncensored.
The Original Journal is a celebration of people and their story. I want this project to ultimately be published as a journal with quotes to get someone started on their story.
So, stayed tuned and check in every once in a while.
A couple things:
1. If you want to participate, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or write a comment. You can participate by scanning your hand written signature and emailing me. You don’t have to hand write it, but I am trying to re-create a person to person journal signing, your hand writing is illegible, please provide a typed translation, but do include the scanned handwritten version. Signatures can be anonymous too.
2. This website is a work in progress and eventually I am going to have a website developer create a website that is interactive. But for now, as a stay-at-home mom, who does what she can here and there, between naps and toddler meltdowns, it is pretty rough to start.
3. Please pass the word along to anyone you know who is a journaler, a scrapbooker, a creative, someone who you think has a story to tell, or just anyone who you think would find this interesting. I believe in grassroots and word of mouth advertising.
4. Eventually there will be some homemade, handmade journals available to purchase on Etsy or somewhere. I have to consult my left brain and work that out.