Jim Ciletti and the Writer’s Journal

I had a wonderful two days at Author Fest of the Rockies. I learned so much and was able to make some great connections. I’ll be posting on the seminars over the next few weeks so bear with me. Day one I didn’t record anything and I really regret it. Day two, I recorded everything. I’ll try and post some clips when I get out from under some of this homework. At least it is mostly creative writing homework this weekend.

One of the the seminars I went to was by Jim Ciletti, our current Pikes Peak Poet Laureate.  It was called: Sensating Poetry. He led us through an amazing exercise which helped me to write a poem. This is especially good news as I haven’t been writing much poetry.

When he came in, he brought a toolbox with him. Inside were crayons, paper, and other tools. He also laid out his journals. The journals were about 10×10 square (hardcover). Inside, he had written observations, words, snippets of conversation, and poems. He pasted in news clippings and pictures he was writing about. He also had a lot of freehand drawings. He said that he likes to draw things because it helps him make sure he is really looking at it. That might be a bad paraphrase. I recorded the session so I’ll have to listen to it.

I was so inspired that I stopped at Michael’s on my way home (the 20% off coupon didn’t hurt). I couldn’t find the exact size I wanted. I realized that part of the reason I don’t use my fancy journals is that they are too small and I don’t want to wreck them. With large sketchbooks, I can do whatever I want. I was stoked when I found the Artist’s Loft Canvas Sketchpad. The paper is decent quality and it is a nice size. The big plus is the cover is canvas so it can be drawn on, decoupaged, or even painted (after using gesso of course). I can’t wait to decorate it. It reminds me of the cloth binders I used to get when I was a kid. Eventually they’d end up covered in doodles and quotations. Without the coupon it was $9.9 (hint: if you signup for Michael’s email list, you get a 40% off coupon). I suggest investing in one and starting a journal if you haven’t already. I’m hoping my Tombow dual brush markers don’t bleed through the paper. Otherwise, I have a nice set of watercolor pencils (tip, if you are going to use watercolors in a notebook, place a dishtowel or a thick layer of paper towels under the sheet you are working on. This will soak up the extra moisture and help prevent warping).

I have a few other tips to share with you from Jim’s talk but those will come later. In the meantime, start your writer’s journal. Also be sure to check out Jim’s blog and his book of poetry, Sunfire.

Stay tuned for a realization on how a printed book is much better than an e-book (imho).

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