Take your journal with you today. On an errand. Out to lunch. To the grocery store. To the Dentist’s Waiting Room. To the park. Wherever you are going, take your journal!
Following is an example of a journal entry I made while having lunch at a Thai restaurant.
I drove to a favorite Thai restaurant.
Only two other women are having lunch
so I get immediate service.
This sinus condition–
spicy Thai food is often the cure.
I sip my medium hot red curry
as the restaurant suddenly bulges
with the late lunch crowd.
Two older men,
looking somewhat beaten by life,
sit at the table in front of me.
Urgh. It’s not the view I want
while eating lunch.
I avert my eyes
though they inadvertently rivet
I rearrange the water carafe, teapot
and a bottle of soy sauce,
to occlude this less than desirable view
of pants that sit well-below a man’s hefty waist
exposing the infamous butt crack.
I’d change my seat however the
restaurant is suddenly full–
a migration of citizens
hungry for Thai food.
I frown and raise the book I brought–
Paul Hawken’s Blessed Unrest–and try to read
about the ideology of isms…
how an ism creates a movement
with its own set of dogma
and gathers followers like a dog attracts fleas
and then, believing it is the ultimate truth,
how this ism proceeds to force
its belief system on others.
And those who are prone to manipulation
who fear thinking for themselves
get on the tram
and point fingers at the others
who are left below on the ground
isolated in their own set of beliefs.
A journal can serve as a storehouse of image details for your fiction (and possibly nonfiction) writing. There is no right way, no one way to keep a written journal.
In this instance, I take an external circumstance and follow my thoughts in reaction and/or response to what is present. I am not concerned with punctuation or correctness of grammar when I write in my journal. I am following closely, like a hound at my own heels, to get things down as they occur to me.
Consider this. What is your style of journaling? How do you use your journal? Do you enjoy keeping a journal? Is it useful to you in the other writing that you do?