Write it down, draw a picture of it, don’t ever let it go

Sandra Rios Balderrama shared this story on Facebook this week, so I decided to write about my own journals.




I love my journal/sketchbooks. They’re like old friends and I visit them often.

I write notes for stories in them. I draw pictures in them of things I see, or things I only imagine. I like to show them to people, but sometimes I write things that are private and I don’t want people to read it. In that case.

I just write backwards, right to left, bottom to top. I figure most people won’t take the time to decipher, and if it looks like they might, well, I’m right there to take the book back. Go ahead and try to read this.

This one doesn’t have a date, but it’s pretty old. Ferris, Katsu, and Frosty are in the picture, but they are no longer with us.. We got Ferris in 1993, and Frosty some time this century. We just lost Katsu this year. He was just about to turn 19. There is no Lily in this picture, but I can hear her snoring behind me.

I love to look through them and see ideas I’ve had: some that worked and became something; some that just weren’t usable at all; and some that came to naught back then – but, Oh look, if I do this or that it would work!

My friend Lyn Meredith likes all of her sketchbooks to be the same. She numbers them. I think the last one I saw her with was #71 or 72.

I buy whatever takes my fancy.

The one on the right is from 1984, my first trip to Ireland.
These are all journals and sketchbooks

Here are some pages from various journals. Some of them are mostly pictures, some are mostly words. Most are a combination. A lot of the older ones are still in boxes, so most of these are from this century. Except for this one:

This page is from my first week in Ireland in May 1984. I spent three days wandering around Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands.

These two are from my first time I went to Camp Fresno. 2009, I think. The crows were fun to watch. And I had never seen snow flowers before.

Waiting time is a good time to draw. This is from the very hot (HOT!) day that Ms. Turtle decided to stop working in front of Tarpey Elementary, during afternoon dismissal. I was waiting for the tow truck, the driver of which was very hot and grumpy.

Sometimes I feel like this. Sometimes I feel like nothing is worth doing….

But most times there’s not enough time to do everything that I WANT to do.

I make to-to lists. And not-to-do lists.


I make notes and draw pictures about whatever I happen to be working on.

I write about what I’m reading…


…and what I’m dreaming.


This is the sculpture outside the cafeteria at Saint Agnes. I drew it shortly after I started working there.

 Sometimes I let the kids draw in my sketchbook.


And sometimes I just doodle while I’m talking on the phone.

If you thought this was interesting, let me know and I’ll share some of my older sketchbooks when I dig them out.

If you didn’t find this interesting, just remember what our mothers said: If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.