“I want to unfold.
Let nothing in me hold itself closed.
For where I am closed, I am false.
I want to be clear in your sight.”
— Rainer Maria Rilke said that
Whether found in a novel, book of poems, a film or a lecture, when we come across a quote that gives us pause, it’s a good idea to document it in some way. This is a great reason to keep a blank notebook handy, but a stack of index cards will do, as I’ll share in a moment.
Sometimes we are aware why a particular phrase has resonance for us.
Sometimes we are captivated and don’t know exactly why.
Sometimes we are at once attracted to an idea and a little frightened of it. That’s OK. This is our imagination at work.
I often refer to visual journaling or keeping a creative sketchbook as dreaming on paper.
When we take the time to record ideas in our own hand, in our own private books, an alchemical process begins to happen.
When we add color or imagery to the words and ideas, the creative cauldron is stirred even more. Most of it happening at a subconscious level.
Which is nice, because so much of creativity is about exploring the unknown.
In our sketchbook or visual journal, we are accessing our imagination, our intuition, the parts of ourselves that know in different ways than our conscious, logical, rational mind knows.
Keep a stack of index cards with your books. When you read, use the index cards to write out quotes that grab your attention.
If you are reading on a device, cut and past into a text document. If you keep a document called ‘quotes’, it will be easy to find later. You can transfer these onto index cards or print out pages to keep with your sketchbook. Then they are ready to use during your next visual journaling session.
Try an online search by entering key words, such as inspiration or creativity or courage, plus the word poems or quotes. See what you find. Other great sources of quotes are on visual social media sites and blogs that document inspirational quotes.
Write the quote down in your own handwriting, either directly on the pages, or on some decorative paper to glue or tape in to your sketchbook.
Add imagery. This example in this article shows collaged images with my own drawing and painting. But you absolutely don’t have to know how to draw or paint to do this.
Keep it simple and use whatever supplies you have on hand. Remember, you’re not making art. You’re dreaming on paper.