Have a Great Year Ahead


It was great getting to know you today. I hope you have a greatcyear ahead. Also, get lots of writing done. — Diane


Mother Blessing

Today I hosted a baby shower for a dear friend. She is a scientist.  So we made her a science themed mother blessing. It was my idea to put the element Carbon on the cake. The baby shower (we called it a mother blessing to make it more about her than the baby — this is her third). I also made her an Original Journal, complete with the same photo we used on the cake.  Of course, the journal had a Back Door for all those honest, raw thoughts that motherhood muses.


DSC_0751 DSC_0753 DSC_0755 DSC_0775 DSC_0783

The Baby Shower (Mother Blessing) got me thinking about my own journey of motherhood. So I grabbed an Original Journal for a blog post and I pulled out my son’s journal coincidentally.

So this is the post I want to share from my personal motherhood journal. I kept a journal while I was pregnant with my son. The journal is called Ben’s Journal: Letters to My Son.


…Awareness is joy. Joy is in the moment. Calm. Breath. My morning yoga of thought.

I am nervous about becoming a mother. Will I show my boy beauty or stress? Will I show him love towards humanity or my own prejudices, hates, and crimes of heart? Will I even know what to do?

Anyway, I am excited to be a mom, finally. After 4 years of trying. It is happening. That is something to be joyous about.

I also like the third paragraph on the left page written in blue ink:

I need to get to a place everyday where I accept that teaching does not define me. I am destined for other things.

What are you destined for? Thanks for following The Original Journal. You’re an original.

Dark Night of the Soul


Journal Your Journey, no matter how painful. In fact, the darker the night — the more light you’ll let in. You may not see the light until actual sunshine pokes holes through the pages, but the ink will rise. It will release the toxins and tears. Journals don’t judge, they only hear.

A BFF without an ego and only ears. I love journals.

The Life of a Journal

Photo of Dan from England signing the Greyhound Journal at a layover in Nebraska.
Photo of Dan from England signing the Greyhound Journal at a layover in Nebraska.

This is a then and now post. I scanned in the photo of Dan from England signing the exact page you see in scan. You can see the black page in the photo that is on the right. I wrote that in white chalk, “Love heals hate.”

Dan from England wrote:

Dan from England…

This bus trip is possibly the most insipid, nightmarishly boring journey I’ve ever encountered.

I feel that journals are so important as they allow us to take notes on our lives. It is a snapshot and time capsule into the past. I am looking at this journal 15 years after this Greyhound Bus trip and can connect through simple handwriting the emotions and circumstances of that instant.

I’ll continue with a post tomorrow about the green page that is poking through, behind the black page. The green page is a pocket page and inside the pocket is loose-leaf paper which has other signatures on it, but also some journal entries from me. One of which reads:

I’m sitting behind a spoiled snotty, 18 year old. He keeps moving the seat back-n-forth. He throws a silent tantrum if anything is near him. Clearly, he annoys me.

I usually write in cursive in my journals, but the above is written in slanted print, showing the frustrated emotion of the moment — one moment of many in late August of 2000 when I found myself traveling from Boston to Wyoming, bound for home. I had no money and had spent what I earned as a camp counselor at a summer camp in Vermont. I was so lost, without any hope for the future, but traveling home, where I needed to be. Traveling is such an interesting exercise in humility. I had no idea what I needed to do next. I had a college degree, four years of teaching experience under my belt, yet — I did not know where or what I needed to do next. So I went home.

Somehow, without any money in my pocket and barely enough money on my credit card, I was able to buy a bus ticket — one way from Boston to Cheyenne, Wyoming. When I got home, my father picked me up. He didn’t waste anytime in telling me my mom was sick. Soon I would learn she had brain tumors that were diagnosed in September.

I was one of many traveling West on that bus from Boston. So many stories and layers, shared in moments written on a page in a young girl’s journal. The Greyhound Journal is one of my favorite Original Journals. I passed it around the bus, tapping on the shoulder of the annoying boy who sat in front of me with a note written on the front cover that said:

To: Fellow Greyhound Travelers.

I need you to help me. I am a writer writing a book about Greyhound, buses, modes of transportation, the road, etc. But I would like to know your story.”

Front Cover of Greyhound Journal (Boston to Cheyenne)

Front Cover of Greyhound Journal (Boston to Cheyenne)

I wonder where the 18 year old who threw silent tantrums signed the journal and what he said. I believe he scoffed at me though and added a dramatic sigh and passed it forward.

To be continued…

My Secret, Now Yours


Rachel from Raleigh

 For about 4 years I’ve been dealing with depression. No one knows because I hide it well with my personality. It’s an ongoing struggle but I know there has to be some kind of end. If not an end, a way to live with it but not let it overcome me.

My secret, now yours

— Rachel

Holy Thursday: Leap

Leap Journal -- Back Door Cover
Leap Journal — Back Door Cover

The Leap Journal is one of my favorite journals. It has so many interesting original journal signatures in it.  So many words of faith from others and reflections on faith. This journal was in use when I was making a huge decision and I had to leap. It took faith.  I trusted my Higher Power to guide me and guide me S(He) did.

The definition of faith (source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/faith) is:

a :  allegiance to duty or a person :  loyalty

 b (1) :  fidelity to one’s promises (2) :  sincerity of intentions
a (1) :  belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) :  belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion

 b (1) :  firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) :  complete trust
:  something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially :  a system of religious beliefs <the Protestant faith>
on faith

:  without question <took everything he said on faith>

I Think I’ll Use the Front Door


I think I’ll use the front door today & maybe backdoor tomorrow.
Write Everyday.

Conquer It. Just Do It. Mistakes Only Make Your Stronger.

A page in the Original Journal
A page in the Original Journal. This journal is from the North Carolina Original Journal. And yes, that is an original autograph and signature of the one and only Anne Lamott. I went to her book signing and reading at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC.  

Here is some background info on this page in the Original Journal.

1. It is the current Original Journal (I am carrying this one around with me now in North Carolina).

2. Emery Smith was an administrator that I worked for (as a teacher). He is also a redhead.

3. Anne Lamott is one of my all time favorite authors.

4. Emins or Emily Ashley is a random person — have no idea who she is. She is obviously an Original Journal signer.  I love what she says and I also love that it is on the same page as Anne Lamott’s Original Journal signing.

5. That is red ink that bled onto my notebook at the top. I am not one to put caps back on pens and of course, the journal travels with me everywhere I go.

Hope. Wish. Dream. Be.

Journal Your Journey

Back Door Collage

Back Door Collage
Back Door Collage

A collage of a page in the Back Door of the current Original Journal.

The 411 on The Original Journal

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:

Front Door

1.  There is a Front Door, which is Rated PG-13 (you enter the Front Door in the front of the journal).

Back Door

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.

I met Dan from England on the Greyhound Bus.  He was bored and not a big fan of Greyhound.
I met Dan from England on the Greyhound Bus. He was bored and not a big fan of Greyhound.

fire hydrant

NYC Journal circa 1998
NYC Journal circa 1998

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 — theoriginaljournal@gmail.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.

4.  Thank you for taking the time to visit The Original Journal.  Please “like” it on Facebook and/or follow this blog. Find The Original Journal on Twitter and Tumblr.