Practice: Two-Line Journal

 In Creativity, Writing

As I update my new website, I have been re-reading past posts on my previous blog. One creative practice in particular has stayed with me over the years and I feel to share it with you now.

This practice is based on a writing prompt from writer and coach Mari Messer: the two-line journal. It’s so simple and delightful to do. I wrote the following post in 2011. As I reread the diary entries I can recall some of the memories, the moments. I saw Dolphins at my local beach. I remember waking in bed, yawning into the day. With most of the entries I can’t remember all the details but the words paint a sense, a feeling, touching a distant, soft-focus knowing. They awaken my curiosity, little tales with hidden truths, drawing the reader in.

If you’re looking for a simple way of bringing creative writing into your day, I recommend this practice. Enjoy.

 

First published on May 31st, 2011:

May: a month. A busy month for me. This has called for curtailing, pruning or, rather, selective choosing: just two lines a day.

This idea comes from Mari Messer’s book Pencil Dancing: New Ways to Free Your Creative Spirit. Here’s Mari on The Two-Line Journal:

This is my favourite. I’ve been keeping one for over seven years […] While it takes just a few minutes to write your thought, you search all day long for that one thing that deserves saving in your journal. It keeps your creative antennae tuned […]  You can use the two-line journal to hold:

  • brilliant ideas you’d otherwise forget
  • short quotes and observations
  • thumbnail sketches
  • happenings of the day
  • a short rhyme […]
  • a crisp descriptive phrase or two
[…] Knowing you’ll need a line or two at the end of the day makes you more observant. Limited space makes you more succinct.*

This project has been a lot of fun. Very simple. Here’s my month of May, two lines at a time:

1st

I travel back to shiny times and wish upon the stars there,

pick up the path, and from the heart, I ask the stars: Where?

2nd

Centre, better. Sea, re-see.

3rd

Arms reach up, break the surface of the day

How strange it is to move between two worlds

4th

I called up Love today.

And love made all the difference.

5th

Each day a journey to the end that is the start

Without within begins.

6th

Concrete. Walk among daisies.

7th

Coming home to yoga

Sleep sleep sleep

8th

Bitter ginger on the tongue

Overheard: And I shall say to Mary, ‘Why dunt she talk t’us?’

9th

Meditation:

The power of Creation is in the act of creating.

10th

Sellotape, Sellotape, Sellotape,

Are these really my last words?

11th

Cakes for mistake

After, empty case, all I have is my word.

12th

Dealing out smiles

And we all play Snap!

13th

Mermaid tale: tin foil scales

siren singing to chip-fingers

14th

Cough cough cardigan time,

Throat is more honest than mouth.

15th

Bathtime reminds: embryonic state

global yolk: universal union

16th

Green Bug, Eight Legs,

so small with much to do.

Thank you for taking time to come and visit me.

17th

Candles throw shadows

but I would ride my Story Horse

18th

Dolphins! Amazing!

19th

The Dance of Drowsy Woozyness,

Loose-limbed we spin and flop.

20th

Spellingis thair to be plaid wiθ

21st

Today.

Hard to encapsulate.

22nd

Grateful: I am not comatose and

I can feel my toes.

23rd

All bedecked, a ribboned room

alive with what will come.

24th

Light plays on the ceiling,

inviting imagination to join in.

25th

26th

I forgot last night, but it remembered

to turn into today

Silliness is best shared

27th

Chipfritter

Familytimes

28th

The metaphorical overflows into simile like wine at a wedding

 

29th

Eye of pine

all-seeing tree,

we squirrel away

our memories.

30th

Dolphin Boy – the human spirit:

delicately indestructible.

31st

This time, next month, yesterday.

*Messer, Mari, pp. 29-30, Pencil Dancing: New Ways to Free Your Creative Spirit, Walking Stick Press: 2001.

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