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. 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 below are part of The Original Journal Project, which includes signatures from many of the hundreds of journals.
People write all kinds of stuff in the journal.
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 thought. 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. Some are thoughtless. Some are random. Some aren’t thoughts at all. 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 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 (or Dudette), 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. I believe it’s my calling to create journals for people to journal their journey.
I believe this journal project will get published. There will be more journals, as a result of The Original Journal’s publication.
So, I have started this website and I’ll see where the journey leads.
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 inspire someone (you) started on their (your) story.
So, stayed tuned and check in every once in a while.
A couple things:
1. I’d love to have you participate in the Original Journal Project. Photograph a sign, draw a picture, send up a smoke signal, collect a moment, randomize some thinking, shoot some wisdom out the ole’ cake hole. Capture it. Write it. Upload it. Email it. Don’t sit there. Journal Your Journey. I’m waiting. Ask my husband; I hate to wait. Here, you’ll need this: email address — email@example.com; Twitter — @OriginalJournal; Facebook — The Original Journal Project; Tumblr — The Original Journal Project. <foot tapping>
Go old school. Pick up a pen. Personalize it. Put some passion in it (or not). Participate by scanning or taking a selfie of your signature; tweet, tumblr, facebook, or email your handwritten signature to The Original Journal. You don’t have to handwrite it, but I am trying to re-create a person to person journal signing. If your handwriting is illegible, please provide a typed translation, but do include the scanned handwritten version. Journal Signings (signatures) can be anonymous.
2. Please pass the word along.
3. 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.