Every year on my birthday I get a new journal. I’ve been doing it as long as I can remember and over the years I’ve had everything from a cute illustrated French scene to a journal with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s handwriting on it (the first page of The Great Gatsby in his own handwriting!), to a Van Gogh art one. Each year there’s something that stands out to me in them. The year I got the Fitzgerald one was a turning point for me with my own writing. The year I went to visit Grand Haven to take pics and research for Next Door to a Star was the year I picked up the one with the girl at the lake with a lighthouse on the cover. And I got a Wonder Woman one the year I turned eighteen. I still have it.
I admit I can be seduced by a pretty cover and pick up one that’s not particularly functional as in the ones that don’t have that “Lay Flat” binding. I used to buy mainly spiral journals until I discovered the whole “Lay Flat” binding actually. I prefer lined paper, but can go without. And I’m not too picky on paper quality.
This year I wasn’t finding anything that spoke to me. I went in thinking I wanted something colorful and/or inspiring. I picked up one that had sections to write down moments of joy in the day. I thought that sounded nice, but wondered if that would confine me in writing other things in it since I write a lot about what’s going on in the world.
Then I saw one that looked just like a hardcover book—more precisely, it looked exactly like a hardcover book my grandmother had on her bookshelves. Grandma often took the dust jackets off hardcovers if the books matched the color scheme of the room. Gold and yellow were her main living room colors and this book was a similar shade of yellow. The feel of the cover wasn’t particularly nice, but the fact that looking at it instantly transported me back into Grandma’s comforting living room was everything.