Thursday, August 07, 2008

My 500th POST-Amateur Book Review - Note to Self: On Keeping A Journal and Other Dangerous Pursuits

Happy 500th post, happy 500th post, happy 500th pooooo-oooooo-ssssstttttt. Happy 500th post! And Many more!!!!

I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death! And that’s why I’m so grateful to God for having given me this gift, which I can use to develop myself and to express all that’s inside me!—Anne Frank, April 5, 1944

I was fortunate enough to receive a beautifully written book by Samara O'Shea called NOTE TO SELF: ON KEEPING A JOURNAL AND OTHER DANGEROUS PURSUITS - Don't be put off by the obscure title. When I first opened the package I thought that the book looked adorable but what is this book about? I couldn't tell by the title. Reading the book I realized that it was a book about keeping a journal.

In the first chapter she references Anne Frank. What girl who loved reading and writing didn't fall in love with the idea of writing a journal? The journal/diary industry has been helping people keeping memories alive for those who come after or just to remember specific moments for oneself.

As a young girl I received my first diary when I was 9. I still have it and wish I had written more. There were too many days between entries to really get a feel of what I was thinking then. The diary I received the year that my mom was sick, my eleventh year is just as empty. Sometimes I wonder if this is really a bad thing. To have the ability to relive such a devastating time in my life in black and white may have been too much for me at certain times in my life.

Back to Samara O'Shea's NOTE TO SELF: ON KEEPING A JOURNAL AND OTHER DANGEROUS PURSUITS. This is a great read for everyone. Not just people who love writing but others who want to document their lives or need a reason to take pen to paper. I dare you to not want to run out and buy yourself a new journal after reading this.

Some journal writing guidelines from the book:

* Write in a stream of consciousness: Forget everything you ever learned about writing and just write. Let it all out: the good, bad, mad, angry, boring, and ugly.

* Ask yourself questions: What do I want to change about myself? What would I never change about myself? (The book gives some to get you started).

* Copy quotes: Other people's words can help you figure out where you are in life, or where you'd like to be. (Something I have just started doing).

* It takes time: Don't lose faith if you don't immediately feel better after writing in your journal. Think of each entry as part of a collection that will eventually reveal its meaning to you.

Another thing that Samara does that I have not seen before is show the difference in writing as we mature. She was an avid writer and has journals/diary's from her youngest years until now and shares them.
I believe I will keep going back to this book for many years to come for guidance, almost like my bible for journaling.

Unlike Samara I loved the thought of a new book and feel that same feeling even now when I open a brand new journal with clean pages that I know will house my thoughts and memories. I love the idea of all the possibilities that will fill it as I run my hand over the pages like Vanna White. Samara, upon starting a book, felt a sense of pressure to fill that first page with something profound setting a precedence for the rest of the book.

What I loved more than anything I read is that as a blogaholic I have given up actually writing in the many books that I have.

-A Gratitude Journal where I was naming 5 things I was grateful for each day.

-Love Letter Journals to each of my kids that were started in the hospital and written in every birthday or holiday or when an important, profound milestone, profound met.

-A Personal Journal where I wrote something everyday no matter how significant or insignificant.

Reading Samara's entries were like getting to be a fly on the wall in someone's home. Some were deep, profound, funny, emotional and very private. I have read journals by others that I have found at garage sales, antique sales, or estate sales and seeing her journal entries were so much more easier and interesting to read.

To learn more about this stunning writer head over to her LetterLover site where you will also find information about her MySpace Page and Facebook Page.
Looking for a gift for a gift to give along with a new journal or diary? This is the one.

Important Note:
Samara, although I love her personality that shines through in the pages; has a very no nonsense approach and does have entries that may not be suitable to younger writers. She does talk about substance abuse and cheating on her comedian boyfriend (who by the way, I have seen and uses the cheating story in his act). So use your discretion when purchasing for a teen.

I will be running out to get her first book For the Love of Letters.


  1. What a great idea. I'm going over to that site to check it out. Thanks! :)

  2. Happy 500th post...I hope to be there one day...great blog post saw you on allmed


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