For A River of Stones
To name a thing
is not to own or possess it.
Naming it is only meant
to define it.
Elizabeth Crawford 1/24/11
Journal Writing Prompt #14
In keeping with the stone I wrote this morning, this week’s prompt is about giving your Journal or Personal Writing a name, a title. There are many examples of this: Ann Frank addressed her journal entries to someone she thought of as a friend. Her entries were framed in letter form, so she addressed them to an imaginary friend eager to share her feelings and thoughts. May Sarton titled her grief journal, A Journal of Solitude.
Online blogs, at one point, were aimed at doing online journaling and blogs are given names in order to identify them, one from another. This blog is named 1sojournal. Sojourney is an old name, and is the combination of two words: Soul (or Sole) and Journey. A Journal is writing the details of ones journey. Making those experiences noteworthy. When I was teaching, I taught Personal Growth Classes Based in Writing. My intent, when I began this blog was to expand on what I had been teaching, so I named the blog, defined it, with its intended purpose.
But, I also knew I wanted to write about writing. For me, writing, whether prose, poetry, or personal, is always a journey of the soul. I could have just as well called this space What I Am Doing, Thinking, Feeling While I Am Getting To Wherever It Is I Am Going. A bit unwieldy, but no less true for all the words. I did, however, want to pack as much meaning as possible into the name, therefore definition, as I could.
My original plan was to title it Sojournal. That name, however, was already taken, so I simply added the number one before the name and that name now follows me wherever I go. And I rather like that. When I visit on your blog, or anyone else’s, that is the name that is most often automatically the one that defines my person. Not a bad accident.
I call it an accident, because being so new at this, I had no idea that I would eventually end up with four blogs on Word Press, and that the original name would cover all four of them. What’s more, each of those other blogs, are simply finer definitions of that original name. The poetic aspect of my person, as well as the prose of another site, are all linked back to here and actually constitute my public journey.
I do keep a personal journal, writing out my thoughts, feelings, and explorations of interest on a daily basis. That is named My Journal. I have a tendency to want to keep things simple, but direct. But, there is another way of looking at the naming of things. In ancient times, knowing the name of another, meant entering into an obligatory relationship with that individual. In other words, having a relationship that obligated one to another. Meaning the ability to ask and expect to receive what was requested, but also the obligation to reciprocate in like manner.
My journal is my best friend, and contains the exploration of my soul and my conversations with that soul. Thus it is also my guide, my mentor, and my source of knowledge concerning me and how I operate, and move through my existence. Its pages contain not only my story, but how I came to be me in this present moment, my dreams and my personal pain and struggles. It is sacred ground and not meant to be shared with anyone lightly. Thus, I could just as easily name it My Secret Sacred Garden, and that is actually how I do reference it in my own mind. It is my soul, as close as one can get to that in this physical realm.
Today’s prompt is to give a name to this thing you are doing here. How do you think, feel, and see this activity? What is its meaning and purpose to and for you? I’ve used myself as an example of several ways you might approach such an activity. You may have others. That would be good as well as interesting.
Should you choose to share your thought processes while doing so, feel free to use the comments section below, or simply leave your URL so that we might visit and read what you have written. It is always your choice to do so. This is first of all, personal writing and you may keep it as private as you feel necessary. Whatever you choose, I hope you enjoy the process.
I love your stone this morning, and the very learned piece that expands on it. Great writing, Elizabeth. You journey well:)
Thank you Sherry, naming things, giving them definition is the task of the Magician. All writers engage in that archetypal energy.
Yes, of course we were taught “he named it, he said it, he did it.” I suspect all that we learned was not so? Thanks for the post.
And because he did all of those things, he must own it as well? That’s the problem. Knowing something does not mean fully understanding it. We must each find and use our own definitions until the full understanding comes. Thanks Annell,