I think I’ve come to a crossroads with this blog. At one time I used it sort of as a personal journal, with shorter, more frequent posts. My posts still contain a good bit of day-to-day life, but now it seems to be more of a showcase for my ideas, with curated photography and considerably more research. I’d like to return to journaling, but given what this blog has become, I’m not sure this is the venue.
Pre-blogging I’ve kept other journals. Back in 1987 before I met Laura I spent several weeks in Europe. I kept a travel journal then in an old notebook. When Laura and I moved to Tucson for a year on our first sabbatical away I had a journal that spanned several notebooks. I still refer back to those old hand-written journals.
Several years ago I recognized the need to separate personal journaling from public blogging. One Christmas Laura bought me a beautiful leather-bound journal with a map motif. I was kind of afraid to write in it for fear that I’d mess it up. I had to get past that and “just write in the damn thing!”
I did – for awhile. It became a ritual. I used a fountain pen exclusively, with my own flowing, somewhat illegible handwriting, as opposed to printing. However, I found that it was becoming the “dark side” of my blog. I was writing the things that I wanted to record, but would never be published here. While we were dealing with Laura’s cancer I stopped writing in it completely. I’ve tried to pick it back up, but just haven’t.
While we were in Ireland a couple of years ago I tried keeping a handwritten travel journal. Blogging would be problematic as we weren’t sure of reliable Internet connections and I only had my iPad, no laptop. I ran into the same problem I usually have with these things – life tends to interfere with the documentation thereof. I couldn’t keep up, and once you have gaps the tendency is to drop it completely.
In addition, you can spend so much time with documentation that it interferes with living your life. I’ve caught myself mentally narrating my experiences in real time as it might be written here. That’s crazy. I take a LOT of photos, but I hope that photography never gets to the places where it interferes with the experience.
On the cross-country trip there was so much I wanted to write and describe, but it was such a rushed trip that I never got around to it. I even started a couple of posts to fill in the gaps, but things got crazy here and I never completed those. With that trip now a couple of weeks in the past it seems awkward to do it now, but who knows? I might still write them.
I call it Blogger’s Remorse. Not that I regret what I’ve written, but that I haven’t written about stuff I thought was cool at the time. Once the opportunity passes it seems odd to revisit it, except perhaps as a reference and tie in to some current post. There is a timeliness to blog posts that I tend to observe. I guess I could do flashbacks posts.
But this is where I am now. This blog has become a curated showcase and I’m not sure I want to go back. It will continue in that vein. However, I still want to keep a travel journal for my year out here. I think I finally hit upon a solution.
I think I’m past the romance of keeping a handwritten journal in a leather-bound volume with a quill pen and iron gall ink. Time for an update. For the past several years I’ve been playing around with the Day One app, and now I think it’s time to put to use full time. It’s for Apple stuff only (sorry Windows and Chrome users) and syncs between my Mac, iPhone, and iPad via iCloud. It’s one of the pricier apps, especially the Mac version, but I think it’s been worth it.
I started using the app on my iPhone. I would snap a photo and the Day One entry would add a map link, location, and even the weather at the time of the photo. I would use the speech-to-text function to record a quick note, then use those entries as notes for a longer blog post later. Here’s what it looks like on the iPhone…
…and this is the Mac version:
You can set up multiple journals so that only specific events show up in your Day One timeline. I’ve set up one for this year’s sabbatical.
I don’t mean for this to be free advertising for Day One. There are a few annoying things about it, like their tendency to make things “paid” features that had previously been free. They now have a $2.99 per month subscription service if you want to sync to their online service (but you can still sync for free via iCloud.) There are other journaling apps, and other options, including Google Docs or even just Pages or MS-Word. However, I like the additional information Day One adds to the entries and its simplicity of use. I can also publish directly to RandomConnections from the Day One journal, if I have an entry that I want to share in it’s entirety.
We’ll see if this solution works better than some of my other abortive attempts at journaling. Regardless, the blog will continue. This is just another tool in my arsenal.