Journaling is Stupid, Sometimes.
The following is an email transcription modified for print.
Josh: I'll start by saying that I really love this piece; how it encapsulates the efforts of the mind, and we can see the patterns that (unconsciously) appear in our day to day thoughts. Could you tell me a little bit about your process with this piece?
Kendra: Thank ya kindly! I was kinda nervous about how incoherent it is. But my process just stemmed from class settings where professors sometimes assign journaling as an ongoing project in order to produce more material (and how I have a love/hate relationship with the process), yet everyone in the room is always confused about what journaling even is. And of course, the Professors always say, "there isn't one way to journal. Journaling can mean anything," blah blah blah, yet they're grading you on the effectiveness of your journaling.
I always tried to challenge this statement because a part of me always feels like they're looking for something specific, but never knowing what that something is, none of us know so we alter it until it looks presentable, we just know that they really don't want to read our grocery list. So, yea, I keep a couple of journals, and the ones I keep for class always have more thought put into them than my personal one, and the difference is very clear. So I wrote in both and tried to combine the gap and used this opportunity to see what happens when "journaling can mean anything." and that pressure to produce is removed.
Josh: What patterns did you see appear (as they might be different than I what I noticed)?
Kendra: The pattern I noticed was that nothing is really explained fully when I journal. It's basically a lot of romanticized ideologies. And there is no attention paid to format, grammar (nor is there ever), style, sentence structure; it's literally just brain to pen transference.
Josh: Did you actually write at the times/days noted?
Kendra: Oh, all of those time stamps are accurate. All of these journal entries were hand written and I tried to type them up exactly the way they were written.
Josh: That's dope. Journaling, for me, always turned into writing poems haha. I guess you can take that to mean it was effective. It's always been a fickle thing with me. As a kid, I use to journal feverishly (mostly about girls I liked). But I think journaling is good in the sense that it can be a way to get some of the "cliche" or "surface" writing out of the way before actually approaching the page with intent. Which isn't really the case with your entries, but maybe that's part of the whole "journaling can be whatever."
Kendra: Exactly. Journaling definitely has its purpose. The purpose just becomes clouded a little when someone is telling you to do it. But maybe that's just me and my problem with authority.
I agree 100% with journaling being effective in getting the surface writing out of the way and assisting in finding out what you think to begin with, without a doubt. But I never grasped how it's "different" from a diary, because thematically, it's that not different for me. All of it is an outlet for me to ramble.