Strange Times

These are strange times we are currently living in, and that is okay. There have been strange times for each generation before us and there will be strange times after us. A lot of people are laid off right now and worried about where the next paycheck is coming from. Hugs, my friends, help is on the way, I hope. Either government aid, warm weather or the virus losing its hold, or maybe a mix of all. Some are working from home, bless you, my children (dogs) are driving me nuts and I am still going to work. And some are hard at work, my trucking and marine shipping friends, the healthcare workers, the folks working to keep our world functioning. I salute you and applaud your efforts.

Eastern North Carolina has been fairly lucky, we have a few cases. Being in a less populous rural area, it is less of an issue than the metro areas of Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham and the Triad area. My thoughts and prayers and speedy recoveries to the families suffering.

A friend of mine posted about the importance of keeping a journal, a blog, or a way to remember this moment of strange times. I keep both a journal and this blog, I mention it fairly frequently. But if you don’t normally keep a journal or a blog, perhaps you might consider it. Records are left behind from every civilization. Historians worry our electronic records won’t leave a trace for future historians. That we need written records, journals, photo journals, art journals, stories, notebooks, etc. more than ever.

When was the last time you wrote an actual letter with a pen and piece of paper?

Personally I think generations from now will be seeing 4 or 5 times great grandparents photos or videos. Things pretty much live on the internet, but what if they are right?

Wouldn’t you love to leave a legacy behind for your future generations to know how it was during your strange times?

Cheers and be safe my friends, james


New Journal

I recently finished my journal that came with my cover. So excitedly I went new journal hunting. I found out that the refills I used to use in my old journal cover will fit the new cover. They are produced for Barnes & Noble in Italy and come in the 6×8 size.

The pages are a smooth cream color and resist fountain pen ink bleed through admirally. The lines are the right distance apart, neither too wide or too narrow. That was one complaint I had about the notebook received with my cover. The line widths were huge, in my humble opinon. And I have lots more pages for writing. My previous notebook was 200 pages. This monster is, I believe, 240 pages with a ribbon page marker. Which makes the cover look stuffed, but that is okay, leather is forgiving and will adjust. (I hope)

Why Do We Journal?

I just saw a Facebook post by Soho Spark Journals. (Linked to it here) About why we choose a physical dialog method over a tech method.

I responded that it is a journey. You begin with an empty blank page and then you fill that page in with ink. In the filling you see there is a life that has been lived within that space. A journal is a time capsule that captures snippets of time. If you look at the journals of a single person, you will see how they lived, how they grew, how they changed to become the person in the last journal. Frankenstein is written in journal format. Mary Shelby knew the impact of seeing the changes over the course of the book would affect her audience.

A few years ago in one of my journaling groups, a lady posted a picture of a journal written by a guardsmen from the 1600s. I couldn’t read the language, I believe it was German or Austrian. I don’t know what a guardsman from the 1600s wrote about. What is important to me is that he wrote and that his journal survived to 2019. 400 years his words have survived. Let that sink in 400 years. The US wasn’t born yet and wouldn’t be for another 176 years. I would say that for someone who could read it, that journal would have been a time machine. The tech hasn’t been invented yet (I apologize in advance if I am wrong) that can last even a fraction of that time. So pen and paper are my go to journaling tools.

Okay enough ranting, I am hopping down from my soapbox. Moral of the story is journaling matters, regardless of form. However a physical book and a pen will connect you to the page. The page will connect you to the past, present and future and any reader of your journal.

Cheers, james


My Le Vent journal and Peter Paupier Press Dragon pin with my green Wing Sung 3008 fine nib fountain pen.

I am still journaling even if I haven’t been writing much lately. I am excited by this particular journal cover by Le Vent. I found it on Amazon and the dragon pin came from Barnes and Noble. The cover is leather and well made. I am almost finished with the journal that came with it. It is a standard A5 7×5 so refills should be affordable. Le Vent has refills available at 100 pages, lined and unlined. However I like a thicker book and would rather have 200 pages at least.

If you journal, show them off. If you are looking at starting a journal it is not the tools but the heart put into them that makes them worthwhile.

Journaling Tips

-Good paper, loose leaf, or bound. Just have a way to keep your entries together.

-Good pen. I love using a fountain pen because I have less cramping issues. I have journaled with sort of object imaginable. From burnt sticks to fountain pens.

-Set aside a few minutes to put down your thoughts. I prefer to journal at night before bed to get the junk of the day off my chest. I am not a morning person, so might be some bias.

-Make your journal a haven. I hate using “safe space” but be secure in whatever you put in your journal is for you and you only. Now I am not suggesting writing how you think your boss is a flamin cat turd and then leaving it where the boss can read it. But when I lived at home I tucked my journal in the corner of my mattress. When I moved out on my own it lived on my nightstand. Now that I am married it hangs out where ever I happen to be. The back of the couch, the nightstand, the headboard etc. I have no problem with my husband reading my journal but he also knows that its my ranting spot. Reader beware. If it makes you feel better put a book curse or warning on it. (Google Victorian Book curses, you won’t be sorry)

-Enjoy the process. I am a stationary/pen whore and my hubby knows and accepts this. Days I am down or in a bad mood he takes me to Staples, and bookstores. (I know I got a keeper) Do you, if decorating the cover and pages makes you happy go for it. Just black felt tip sharpie is what you crave. By all means.

Cheers, james

52 Questions in 52 Weeks

My first exposure to the 52 Questions in 52 weeks came via the Innovative Journaling Facebook group. (If you journal and like pens of any type I recomend this group. They are a hoot.) One of the members was starting the challenge and asked if anyone else was doing it. Several folks likewise asked what it was. 

There are 52 queations relating to your life, family history and other interesting tidbits. It provides a really good starting place for folks that are interested in writing down their family history. Questions range from earliest memories, things you enjoyed from your childhood, advice for future generations, how you met your spouse and other stuff. Anyway you pick a question you want to answer and take a week to write the answer. As little or as much as you like. This isn’t all inclusive just a starting point. 

I have later found several blog posts about and each one has a similar backstory. The person wanted to record the family history before it was lost through death or disease. One IJ-er took a journal and the sole purpose of that journal is for the challenge. I am in this same boat. Three of my grandparents have passed and my remaining grandmother is lost in Alzheimer’s fog. As I have watched her and my nieces and nephews, I realized they don’t know her pre-Alzheimer. By recording my memories it may give them a glimpse of her when she was healthy. 

I admit I keep reading over the questions and yet I haven’t put pen to paper. I get all twisted and tongue tied when I start to write down even the simplest question; Where does your name come from? 

Well I know Mom told me that my great grandfather didn’t like my name and said he would have named me Pamela, if he had known my parents didn’t have a proper name for me. According to Dad my first name came from the daughter of a man whose horse farm he worked on while in the military. I have never really asked my Mom where my first name come from. My middle name was supposed to be a mix of Linda and Jeanette ie Lynnette. But as the story goes when the nurse asked Mom she was half asleep and gave Lynn. So those are the stories I have heard related to my name. I was almost a Pamela Lynnette and I mean no disrepect to the Pamela Lynnettes of the world, but that isn’t me. In my mind’s eye, a Pamela Lynnette is a strong, willowy blonde or red headed lady, graceful and at home in her own skin. Me, I’m a short round lil brunette that lives in her head more than she should. Exrovert vs introvert. 

Well look a there I guess I just answered the first question. One down 51 to go. Cheers on this post Harvest Moon Friday, james


I have been spending more and less time with my journals lately. My commonplace/everything journal is almost empty. I get an idea and it doesn’t seem to make it into my journal. On the other hand my personal journal is getting more attention. Dreams, thoughts and life take up its creamy pages. 

On the other hand my blogging ideas seem to have dried up. I have started at least four posts over the last six months and abandoned them. I have been battling Stress for the last few months and it has taken a toll on this blog, my writing and me. Putting these words down, I can feel something shift inside my head. Maybe I can finally pull myself from this hole and get back into regular schedule and writing. 

Cheers, james


My creative writing has stalled, however I have been writing in my journal. Dreams, thoughts on our crazy election, hopes, daily events, anything that crossed my mind crossed my page. I have found when I journal my creative writing dies down. In fact I think I’ve blogged about this in the past. This is may or may not be a common thing with a lot of writers. I don’t know. This is the first year in a while where I have filled a journal and started a new one before the year was up. A new thing I started writing on the front and back of my pages. Using the fountain pens has increased my desire to write and the thicker journal paper is well suited to the fountain pen ink. 

I have a new journal I got for my birthday and I had thought about using it for bullet journaling. However the notebook I am currently using still has plently of space left so it isn’t an immediate need. And of course my first thought is new story. Except I have 4 stories already in progress. Sheesh I remember when I struggled to hold an idea past a couple of pages. Now I can’t seem to stick with one long enough to write the darn thing. That is another post for another day. 

Another thought I had is use it for a catch all story notes, plots, ideas, anything that catches my attention. Only problem with that is EVERY notebook I have serves this function to some degree or another. I did not mean for this to become a whine session. My aplogies. 

Cheers on this chilly evening and I will return to my normal blogging schedule on Thursday. james

Mid Year Ponderings

Today is Friday June 3rd, the year is at the half way mark. What? Where did it go? I was flipping through my old posts, thinking didn’t I just post that. But no it was way back some time ago.

The old folks say the older you get, the faster time moves. If its moving this fast at 34, a year when I’m 74 might feel like a slow blink. I looked at my unfinished NaNo project, haven’t touched it since the end of February. Tonight I changed that, two pages written and I still have the flow going. I just took a quick minute to finish this post.

So I am still writing, still blogging, journaling, although a wee bit slower than before. Cheers on this stormy evening, james

In like a lion, out like a lamb

March has been a strange mixed bag of weather this year. It has also been a strange month for me writingly speaking. I have been writing more in my journal, and less on my WIPs and this blog. Part of this is coming from joining the IJ FB group and being more aware than I usually am. Not that this is bad, my journal has been the place I turn to when something excites, bugs, or frightens me. However the more time I spend journaling, the less creative writing I do. I haven’t found the correlation between the two, but that is how I’ve been since I can rember.

So as March closes and April sweeps in, I want to consciously renew my connection with my WIPs, while maintaining my renewed zeal for journaling. I want to keep my newfound passion for fountain pens going. Getting more familar and improving my pennmanship as well as a slower more conscious way of writing will influence my writing and my way of thinking. Sometimes I write fast caught up in the moment only to run head first into a wall. Then it seems to take twice as long to find a way around, over or through the wall than if I’d been a hair slower in my writing and a tad faster looking ahead.

Cheers on this cool, moody, Thursday evening, james