Posts are few and far between. New journal pages are even more so. But there is a fair bit happening behind the scenes:
Pocket journal, the sequel
I'm hard at work on Pocket Journal no. 2. All of the prompts, lightning rounds, to-do lists and Big Ticket Items are written and all of the quotes have been found. Just doodling now and drawing in the text. This pocket journal will have four more pages than that last one. The doodling takes me forever and it feels as if it might never be finished, but I know that one day soon, I'll pass beyond that stage and the end will be in sight and I'll wonder why I ever worried at all.
I've also been looking into the research on creativity, spurred on by Jonah Lehrer's book, Imagine: How Creativity Works and also by The Cambridge Handbook of Creativity, which is edited by James C. Kaufman and Robert J. Sternberg. I've become much better at keyword searches of journal databases and I'll definitely have more to say about where I'm headed with this in the coming months.
Teacher and Therapy-related requests
More frequently now, I am receiving requests from teachers asking for permission to use my pages in their classrooms. It used to be that I'd get one or two such requests a week, but more recently they're coming in daily, sometimes several in a day. I've also been receiving more therapy-related requests from group therapy and crisis intervention settings. Which leads me in all sorts of directions, some positive and some anxiety-producing.
Most of the email requests are amazing. They are inspiration itself. This morning I answered an extraordinary email from a lovely teacher who wrote about her goals for her students, including leadership, growth, acceptance, and a love of reading and writing. She wanted to include my journal pages as she works toward those goals and I am so honoured by that.
I love it when teachers write to me and tell me about their classes and their schools and their hometowns. There is one teacher in Arkansas, she knows who she is, who sends me occasional updates about her classes, including photos, which is so awesomely awesome. I almost always give teachers permission to use my pages in their classrooms, with only two stipulations to protect my copyright: that the pages not be changed in any way and that the pages not be used for any commercial purpose.
In fact, I can't remember a time when I haven't given permission.
Even when the email requests are one impersonal line.
Even when the requests are coupled with the complaint that there is no single file to download all pages at once.
Even when it is abundantly clear that the person making the request has come to take the free pages and go. Immediately, if possible.
(And I know that there are some who don't write to ask at all.)
When I answer those emails and as I'm writing this right now, I feel just awful. Like I'm doing this all wrong. Like I am making a serious mistake in giving these pages away.
But then, I'll open another email and it will be full of appreciation and really thoughtful, constructive feedback and I realize that maybe I have created something that reaches people in meaningful ways. Or I'll read your comments, you who still comment after all this time, and I am once again so grateful for you and for this place and I think that maybe I'm not doing it wrong at all. Maybe I just need to be patient and trust that I'm still heading in the right direction. Maybe. I don't know. It's something I'm working on behind the scenes.
It's summer now and my curious, growing girls are summer vacationing all over the place, leaving crumbs and craft glue wherever they go. We are also getting ready to head back to the Bay of Fundy soon for a few weeks spent hiking and eating sticky buns and waking up to the sound of ocean waves.
A new journal page?
Finally, in spite of the insecurities mentioned above, I do think there is a new journal page in our near future. Friday, probably. That might be fun. :)