As I have become more interested in the world of art journaling, I have started more journals. After all, once you get the paint out, you can only do one page at a time, then you have to wait until it dries and you’re just sittin’ there–it’s like watching one of those hideous T-ball games that seemed to go on forever when my children were young. So why not use the paint on six or seven journals while you’re already making a mess?
My problem is that I get really interested in the subject of the books I’m using. So one of the books I found for journaling was a nice hardcover called Packing Regulations. Laugh at me if you will, but Mr. Sacharow took his job seriously and he wrote about the world of packing regulations with care. If you really think about it, how food and other items are packaged is really quite an important subject. It’s a sort of unseen until it calls itself out to you, something hidden in plain sight. It’s easy to understand on an esthetic level. Don’t those little orange-shaped Orangina bottles make the drink taste even better? But it’s also important for reasons of safety (it’s not desirable to have harmful chemicals leaching into your food), and even just for mailing things in a way that is economical yet will minimize the chance of squishing your precious Oreos or bottles of wine. It’s also important that food items conform to certain standards.
Still, it was kind of sad to see this young lady working with rows of dead chickens on a line. Yes, please someone, inspect my meat. But for a moment, I look at those corpses and they look like babies to me, plump-tummied, headless babies. So the subject of the book inspired me to make me use the picture. Which is kind of ironic, because that means I used the contents of a book about packaging to discuss contents of a package which is in the book, which means . . .well, you get the idea, it’s a bit like the Land O’ Lake Butter girl, going off into infinity.
Writing Prompt: What is one kind of packaging of a product that you admire?
Okay. You’ve all seen the picture of an atom. It looks like the sun with a planet running around it in a neat, circular orbit. That’s not really how it works. But thank you Ernest Rutherford for at least coming up with that idea in 1911. Atoms are actually more complicated than that. A real scientist could give you more details but right now you’ve got me, so here goes.
An atom is made of three parts. In the center is the nucleus. It is made of protons and neutrons. That is, except for hydrogen, which is the most widespread atom in the universe, the original bad boy who helped to started the whole matter thing when the earth began 13.8 billion years ago. Hydrogen has only a proton for a nucleus.
A proton has a positive charge. Hence the name “Pro.” Guess what a neutron has? You guessed it. NO charge. So what holds this odd couple together? What is the secret of their successful relationship? I mean, you split the neutron from the proton and you have yourself a nuclear reaction. The secret is called the Strong Force. (There are four main forces—The strong force, the weak force, the electromagnetic force, and gravity—more about that later). All you need to know for now is that the strong force is incredibly powerful.
Electrons bounce around the nucleus. These tiny, tiny little particles (each proton has about 1,800 times the mass of an electron) have a negative charge. Because of their complex magnetic relationship they do not orbit around the nucleus in a neat circle. They are more like crazy clouds of flies. Where they are at any moment is not random. There are certain bands circling where electrons are more likely to hang out. These bands are called shells. When an atom is in a state of low energy (as it is in solids), electrons hang out close to the protons. When they are excited, the electrons are more likely to move outward from the center.
The more protons an atom has, the higher its atomic number is. You’ve seen the periodic table, right? The number of each element corresponds to an atom. Hydrogen (H), is 1, because it has 1 proton. Carbon (C ), has 6 protons. Silver (AG) has 47. An atom is the smallest unit of an element.
Writing prompt: Because there’s always a writing prompt! What attracts and repels YOU?
“Do you ever read your old journals?” people often ask me. That’s because I have a LOT of journals. More than 135, but I have lost count of the last handful or so. I’ve been keeping journals since I was 14 years old, and that was let’s say more than 10 years ago. A lot more. I have boxes of journals in my attic, but I also keep some in m bedroom, in the living room, etc. The are so familiar around here that I feel about 90 percent sure that nobody in my family is interested in reading them. Besides, my favorite, favorite thing is quotes and memories of my children growing up, and I regularly tell them stories about themselves when they were small. Example:
April 17, 2000: My kids sure know how to fight over nothing. Yesterday they fought over the piece of cotton in the vitamin bottle. This morning they fought over two spoons. No, of course they couldn’t each take one. They both had to clutch two spoons and rabbit kick each other.
Other times, it’s something even more ridiculous, like what they called each other. J accused M. of using the Z word (“zippidy Dippidy”)
I guess it’s karmic payback for the fights I had with my sister about whether or not making a ticking noise outside the door constitutes sibling abuse.
But sometimes when I hear the crashing, the screaming in the other room, the “He kicked me in the EYE.” I think, I must be working off my karmic debt pretty fast. In fact, I may even be owed some.
There are other reasons I like to reread my old journals, which I will explore in other posts. But what I really hope to do is inspire at least one person reading this to pick up a notebook and a pen, and write at least a few sentences today. Write a memory. About the cup of tea you’re drinking. A letter to someone you’ll never forgive. Start. Or continue the old travel journal that’s been three-quarters empty. There are so many good reasons to keep a journal. It is my goal (or, as they say, “I am setting an intention”) to write one writing prompt a day on Facebook for the rest of the month. And to write more about journals and journaling on this blog as well. Okay, here goes:
Prompt 1: Where are you and what are you doing? Describe the sights, sounds, and smells, what you overhear, what emotions you feel in your body.