Monday, January 23, 2012

Super Smash Journals

I should be asleep but you know what? I am being a rebel and staying up after my totally artificial, self-imposed bedtime.
And why, you ask? (or don't, I'm sure some of you don't care, but hey, you're here so let's be thorough) Because I want to talk about something. Something that has been bugging me.
The house? Oh yeah. I moved in. We have blue walls in one part. It's awesome. I'll talk about that later, probably in a post talking about how my life used to suck and how now it totally DOES NOT.
Smash Journals.
For anybody not familiar with them, a video. I'll wait. This is important to understand before we continue.

Okay, now this was produced by the company that decided to make smash journals a "thing". It's cheesy, but it explains it well enough. It's the paper equivalent of your junk drawer, or the bottom of your purse, or that shoebox with all the crap in it you swore you'd remember forever, then look at 5 years later unable to remember why you have 3 ticket stubs to Oingo Boingo.
Now, I have ALWAYS been a fan of journaling, but I have always had a few rules with mine... first off, fuck ruled journals. I hate them. They make you write a certain size when you might be upset or happy and so your letters are a bit loopier than normal, or more crunched than normal... and ruled pages don't allow you to see that. They don't allow for that text-tilting-toward-the-right-hand-corner thing. They also interrupt things that would be awesome like random oddly-staged poems and sketches, or anything else where you might not want to write in the usual oddly imposed 12 pt. font, perfectly aligned.
I personally think the more your writing wanders around, the more enriched your brain. That whole thing about building new pathways by discovering a means to do something differently than before, extra wrinkles in the brain, the whole nine yard. But I have utterly no science to back that up, just some stuff I read in high school.
Let's set the scene here. I was walking through AC Moore to get yarn because, yes as you all know I am a fiend for the knitting and the crocheting and the making of the arts with the fibers. Actually, it was to get purple and pink yarn to crochet a sweater for my cat who just went through surgery and is now shaved nearly bare in order to keep him warm. Those colors are supposed to make him look like the Cheshire cat, a most excellent suggestion from a friend of mine. BUT.... I digress. So I'm walking through AC Moore headed for the yarn section when I see an entire display of these Smash Journals. Or rather... SMASH* journals, as they are branded.
It was basically a standard 4-sided display with hooks and baskets for the goodies. I smirked as I picked up the different branded ones, "Doodle" journals, "Retro" journals, "style" journals, "Eco" journals.... in my haze of smug superiority I thought to myself "Shit, just go buy a blank journal and decide what you want, you don't have to have a pre-made book for this stuff..."
But what was fascinating to me was the accessories surrounding these special journals. Things like pre-made pockets you could glue on (I guess cuz a regular piece of paper wouldn't do?). Special paperclips (Bitch, please, I have penguin-shaped paperclips from Japan. I have the market cornered on funky damn office supplies!) and smaller things to mark stuff, basically post it notes and page markets specially created for these journals. All stuff I had, in SPADES, because I LOVE PAPER THINGS.
And then I blinked. and I stared at the stuff before me. And I realized.... shit, I had been doing stuff this way all along, because I am horribly disorganized and why the hell shouldn't I stick recipes in to my moleskine next to a to-do list and another list of things I'd like to cook some day? It was all just a brain-dump to me, really. And it went beyond scrap-booking to just be a place to store EVERYTHING I wanted to remember, in no particular order.
So yeah. For once I was actually ahead of a trend, and it was entirely unintentional. Not only that, this "creative processing" that they were advocating? Yeah. They're trying to teach regular brains how to process the way an ADD brain does... that is to say ALL THE THINGS. ALL THE TIME.
It was fascinating to me to see this. That the idea was to give a pedestrian method to journal, that wasn't an "art" journal, that wasn't some fancy thing scripted with a fountain pen (guilty) or needed to be filled with terribly wonderful things a la Jane Austen.... that the average everyday person could just put their crap down in there, and if someone were to go back through it you could get a fair approximation of that person's life and thought process. I enjoyed the idea. That although maybe you went to shows like everybody else, and you paid bills and showered and packed a lunch like everybody else.But in between was the uniqueness, like going to see only 40's Jazz shows, and making your sandwiches with Vegemite. The stuff that made you YOU could be folded in to the pages and glued and stapled and whatnot, and you could be content that it didn't have to be special, or fancy, or artsy. Just being John or Jane Doe is enough for this thing. And as someone who has seen what elitism can do to the flow of energy among people, I embrace that concept STRONGLY.
The world lives and dies by the flow of ideas, and of love. Love, you say? Just watch when a meme or video or product gets popular. The flow of energy, the tides of people, are what will make everything go from now on. And while we may really resent the fact that people who can't spell migrated off of AOL to the rest of the internet, it also meant they brought their energy and their enthusiasm with them. People are a powerful tidal wave, and don't even really recognize it yet.
Yes, very deep thoughts coming from a simple display of yuppie paper products. And while yes, it is entirely a dollar grab, the concept behind it, the original thought that made it attractive to even want to produce a line of Smash journals, introducing the idea to the main populace, is in there.
I just wish there was a way to tell people look, you didn't need to buy this special journal. A blank book from B&N would've done you, and some regular post its, and a few sharpies.... you don't need all this specialty stuff. But then if that's how they come in to it and it benefits them, awesome. Maybe they'll discover later that they can just screw around with scrap paper and regular paper clips.
I do find it amusing that the idea of pure chaos breeding creativity and excellent ideas is becoming so mainstream these days... that regimented rituals inhibit instead of accelerate. Lined paper, for instance. Or scrap booking kits.
By the way, for the record.... I hate scrapbooking. I have often found it to be the refuge sport of bored housewives, and I'm really glad they've moved on to cupcakes. Maybe we can get them in to Polaroid photography next and provide impetus for more and cheaper sources of Polaroid film!! Yay!
Or not.
And as I've mentioned, I truly love this idea. I love that finally it is acceptable to just throw anything and everything under a cover and slam it shut and boom, you're done. I have a poetry collection that looks like it's about to burst its seams that follows this sort of thing, full of stickers and post cards and images and done entirely in gel pens. I'm really proud of it. And when I remember that, well....
Okay, I bought my own Smash journal too. I am mildly ashamed. But isn't it pretty?

Yes, it's red. Of COURSE it's red. If it hadn't been that one, it would've been the lime green and I couldn't stand the lime green because it said "eco" on the cover and the only thing inside were a bunch of pictures of leaves and trees. Yeah. I'm sorry, but nature pictures do not an eco journal make.
I've already filled out a few things in there, including a little blurb about how baseball is probably the easiest of the sports to transpose in to coding terminology because every single action within the game relies upon the pitcher's processes..... I should probably flesh it out better in a "regular" journal where I can actually whip up some pseudo code and I'm not dodging their pre-printed crap on the pages.
Which brings me to my single complaint about these (besides putting themselves as "specialized" when it's pretty much artificial). They printed words all over my front page. A giant blurb talking about how hard it is to start a journal, so they would take up the front page. Really? Did I just drop money so you could take up the beautiful promise of my front page? Nuh-uh. I will be covering up the majority of that page in stickers and words that are mine. Because you know what? I know how to rock a chaos journal and damnit that is MY front page! Plus it needs dinosaurs in there.
Actually, my plan is to put dinosaur and unicorn stickers all over any place they have pre-printed words. Cuz I really hate being told what to do and that's my impetuous 3rd grade self coming out.
I'm looking forward to this little experiment, to see what happens now that I've been given "permission" to journal in it with my usual style. It's a mini-experiment along with all the others I'm running in my other blank books.
And if you're still reading, WOW, thank you. This was long winded but I haven't had a good brain dump in a while -as you can probably see. So the smash journal maybe will be two-fold in its creation, which is awesome.
Now if you'll excuse me... I need to go find my dinosaur stickers.

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