GNL number 94

a report of doings at meeting #94, Sunday, May 31, 2015

including liturgical items, major themes, and other odds and ends

Present: Anna Moon and daughter Janay, Ann Adams, Cynthia Wilson, Gail Sondergaard, Sue Spivack, Nancy Sheehan. Before the benediction Sue (filling in for Nancy) welcomed every one and explained our topic for the day was Journaling and we were celebrating the printing and distribution of Anna Moon’s Travel Journal.


Don’t be a tourist. Plan less. Go slowly. I traveled in the most inefficient way possible and it took me exactly where I wanted to go. ~ National Geographic’s Andrew Evans

Journal writing is the most egalitarian of writing modes. What counts is not the who the writer is or what she has achieved, but rather the degree of truthfulness, candor, and perceptiveness she has brought to her writing… ~ A VOICE OF HER OWN, Women and the Journal Writing Journey, Marlene Schiwy


We then took turns reading the Introduction to Anna’s Journal, and talked about how much fun we had transcribing it, a subject we returned to often as we went round our circle describing our personal experiencies with writing or not writing journals/diaries, and the many forms that has taken (written, photos, notations on calendars, business records, etc.).

Ann said she has never been in the habit of writing a journal, except once at age 16 when she went on a camping trip to the Grand Tetons and rediscovering it years later was very happy to re-experience the views and hikes she described there. She said she always starts a gardening journal in May, which she devotedly keeps for a while, then drops—so over the years she has accumulated a good many May gardening journals.

Gail said she does not journal—though she has begun many times and then soon stopped. But she has taken a trip to Alaska with her sister Winnie, who also wrote a journal, and since they both noticed and described different things, she’s thinking they should combine their journals for a complete record of the experience. And she realizes she has many photo albums which are journals of particular travels or times in her life.

Janay says she does not journal with any regularity, but since she began keeping birds (hens/quail/ducks, etc) she has faithfully kept daily records of their care and lives for 2 years. She described quilts she has made for Brianna—one from many years worth of denim jeans and another made from tee-shirts which are another record of Brianna’s days when she wore those pieces of clothing.

Sue talked about writing a journal since she was around 11 or 12—and has a record of a lot of her experience but also many repetitive complaints and rants against loved ones, some of which she’s been removing from the journals and deleting from computer files. But she doesn’t want to just throw them out, because there’s also wonderful stories about her kids growing up and other events, she’d like to save. She showed a journal book she made for Jay of a trip he made to China in 2004 combining his photos and her notes from his daily phone calls.

Cynthia said she is not in the habit of keeping a journal, but she has done so for certain trips—to Arizona, eg, and when the kids were little. She also recalled the daily records she and Gail kept when they were running the health food store, and how they need to go through them. Ann said that sounded like a good CofS project—like we just did for Anna’s journal, but Gail and Cynthia declined the offer.

Nancy said she writes a few lines each evening in her small script, not only to keep a record, but as a way of helping her remember and “register” events, notice more consciously and appreciate the day. So too, a way of learning a deeper perspective, of gratitude. But she also wanted to say that helping to transcribe Anna’s notes had been such a pleasure —hearing the trip story in that Anna voice — N was smiling all the way.

Anna said she took the scooter trip from British Columbia to NYC, planning to continue on to Europe, but somehow once she was back home, she got distracted, and never did make that Europe trip. Janay said Anna began taking photographs on NYC streets 2 years after that, and we agreed those photos are a journal of Anna’s travels through the city’s neighborhoods.

Because she could not make the meeting Vijaya sent this note—which was given to Anna—“Dear Anna! Life in my case has slowed down a lot. Now I deal with One Thing At A Time! I feel bad not being able to join you all in the Celebration in your Honor. You are an Inspiration Anna! I always think of my Friends who inspire me in the time of seeking strength and courage. Thank you for inspiring me and being my inspiration. Celebrate and every day is a Celebration. Enjoy my Love for you and all present in person and in Spirit.” ~Vijaya
The printed Travel Journals were distributed to everyone present—with extras given to Janay for Brianna, Anna’s sister Esther and Paul Lamar.

Our offering was made to The Literate Earth Project which builds libraries in schools in Uganda. This group was founded by Annie Fonda’s son Jeff.


“A good journal entry — like a good song, or sketch, or photograph — ought to break up the habitual and lift away the film that forms over the eye, the finger, the tongue, the heart. A good journal entry ought to be a love letter to the world.” ~ Anthony Doerr, Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World

“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.” ~ Jack Kerouac, On the Road


Sunday, June 21, 2015 (1030) at Louise Maher Johnson’s Sky Hill farm, on the topic “Friends Far and Near”. We’re hoping to have far friend Adair with us this meeting!


From Sue:

“These handwritten words in the pages of my journal confirm that from an early age I have experienced each encounter in my life twice: once in the world, and once again on the page.” ~ Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” ~ Martin Buber

“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.” ~ Christina Baldwin

“When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.” ~ William Least Heat Moon

Indo-European root of the words Journal and Journey: deiw- To shine (sky, heaven, god)—producing these words: Tuesday, deity, divine, jovial, July, Jupiter, Zeus, dial, diary, dismal, journey, journal and psychedelic (from Greek Delos), dial, diary, diet, diurnal, adjourn, circadian, meridian, quotidian, sojourn, variant of deiw- is dies-= Latin for day

from Cynthia

Here is the quote from
Jeannie Thomma – intuitive reader and author “in the capital district” according to her ad in natural awakenings

I journal so that I
may know myself
I journal to celebrate life
I journal because it is the best way that I know to pray

from Virginia

three original poems — the first, another kind of “journaling”:

“Behind The Couch”

What’s in the space behind the couch
Toy trains, left by children long grown
Dust bunnies nibbling dust carrots
A faded picture of a loving family
Friendship bracelets abandoned by time
A tape of songs carefully chosen for someone

“Sea Cows”

The manatee is a gentle creature
With a strange appetite and a face with strange feature
They spend their days munching on seagrass
You might even catch a glimpse of them in a boat with a bottom of glass
They are funny mammals
And you’ll never mistake them for camels


Why must we go on,
Like someone who continues to sing the same old monotone song?
When does the road end,
behind this, or the next, or even the next, bend?
Where is the key
to open the lock that hides the future and what is to be?
What is the meaning of it all,
working so hard, losing so much, rising only to fall?
Who am I,
but a child born to die?

and an addendum from Nancy:

For your consideration, Some Old and New Topic Ideas

  • What You’d Like to Do More Of
  • Things You’veTaken For Granted
  • What Made You Laugh Really Hard
  • Adapting (When, How Have You Done That)
  • Something Most People Don’t Know About You
  • Feedback (Good/ Hard/When Got or Gave)
  • Stuck, in some assumption/ and What Unstuck You
  • Aging, the Pains and Pleasures
  • Talents and Skills
  • What Have You Learned Lately
  • Your Top 10 (50/100…)Glad-Abouts
  • Freedom
  • Courage
  • Living Slower
  • Frustrations
  • Overload
  • What Would You Most Like to Change About Our Culture
  • Little True Stories
  • Graces

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