The Art of Journaling by Lori Earl
I’ve been reflecting on the difference between writing in a journal or diary, and posting thoughts on a blog or vlog. They all have to do with words. I’d venture to suggest that all of these choices meet the need for self-awareness, helping us get in touch with who we are. They are both inwardly therapeutic, yet an outward expression of our creativity.
My thoughts comparing the art of journaling and blogging came as I was reflecting on This Star Won’t Go Out, published this past week by Penguin Books. It is the story of our daughter, Esther Grace Earl, told mostly through her own words, and supplemented by writings from friends, and blogs that her dad and I wrote.
Our CaringBridge blog was started to find a way to keep family and friends updated on Esther’s illness, after her diagnosis with metastasized papillary thyroid cancer at age 12. In the midst of routine doctor visits, occasional ER trips, school, work, and all the busyness of a family with five children, answering well-intended questions about how Esther was doing became impossible to respond to. The beauty of one internet blog, where we as parents (with the occasional comment by Esther!) could craft the telling of our daily adventures was a huge boon. Writing down her story through daily or weekly updates became a historical timeline; but it was also a way to face our fears, and a less-invasive way to interact with those who loved us and wanted to let us know we were in their hearts and prayers. But our sentences are clearly designed for the audience we imagined were tuning in.
Esther’s words in her journals were written for herself. At times they are records of memorable experiences; sometimes it is clear they were written to help her find her way through the impossible mysteries of life and death. Reading her words are like peeking inside the cupboard doors of her life, seeing glimpses of her heart and soul. Journaling gave her a tool to handle her days. In one of her last videos blogs, she urges her listeners to express their feelings:
“If you are, like, a person with feelings, I kind of urge you to like, write this, write in your diary or your blog post or a video or on a Post-it, like your feelings, because it feels good to just like, kind of see what they are…” – Esther Earl, “Feelings” video
I think her advice is good. Find a way to use your words to find yourself. You won’t regret it.
This Star Won’t Go Out is both the title of the book released last week and a foundation that is making a difference in the lives of children with cancer, one family at a time. By providing funds to help pay for travel, a mortgage or rent check, and other cost of living expenses, TSWGO frees up families to focus on their child who is in treatment. A gift of money is really a gift towards quality time as a family—and that’s a gift that is beyond value. Learn more about the book by watching the trailer below or visiting tswgobook.tumblr.com and learn more about the foundation by visiting www.tswgo.org.