Tuesday, 11 December 2018

my 2018 journal

A couple of years ago I wrote about how I journal. The journal I have filled this year is my personal journal where I write about my life, generate ideas and make collages. How you document in your own journal is entirely down to you. You can do whatever you want with it. It can be a place for all your private thoughts and dreams, and creative freedom stems from that. In previous years I have tried to make my journals cohesive or have them stick to a theme, but 2018 has been a bit all over the place for me and my journal reflects that. 

The first half of the year is pretty scattered and there are a lot of half-attempted CBT exercises and gratitude lists. There are drawings, doodles, and collages. I write down my ideas for blog posts, short stories and articles. The second half, from summer onwards, includes more visuals as I create collages to try to figure my way through graduate life. 

I have read a couple of journals by writers I admire this year: Allen Ginsberg and Sylvia Plath. I was disappointed with Ginsberg’s. It was all over the place. We get it, you do drugs. However, Plath’s was much more enlightening, and I envy how her writing flows so gracefully even in her private journals. It took me a long time to read, but I would definitely recommend it to any aspiring writers/Sylvia Plath fans.


My 2018 journal started halfway through January this year when I was working on assignments for my final year at uni. I was listening to the entire Velvet Underground discography on Spotify, including the 7-hour-long anniversary edition of Loaded, writing an essay on Andy Warhol and eating a lot of subpar egg cress sandwiches from the library cafe. 


In 2018, I really tried to dedicate more time to self-care. Here are some snippets from my journal:

"Breathe. Keep working at the pace you are going at and you will be fine.

I am trying to practice acceptance; to change what I can but recognise that sometimes all the meditation/exercise/fresh air in the world won't change my mood immediately. It's about habit and routine but not punishing yourself when things don't go as planned.

Be proud of yourself for wanting to take care of yourself.

I feel ready to look after myself: do yoga, have a bath, put on a face mask, read magazines, buy some new clothes. I need to rebuild my inner world."


The Florida Project was the first film I saw at the cinema in 2018. I saw it at my favourite cinema in Sheffield, Showroom. I used to go there all the time at uni, and I miss it a lot. The Florida Project was incredibly moving. Brooklynn Prince was excellent as Moonee and the last scene sticks in my mind all these months later. It’s at the top of my list of films I need to rewatch in 2019.

I saw Loving Vincent with my mum when she came to visit me in Sheffield. Aesthetically, it was a great achievement, as the entire film is made from an oil painted animation. However, I felt uncomfortable about its representation of Van Gogh. It is the same uneasy feeling I had reading Sylvia Plath's journals. When artists kill themselves, critics and the public turn them into these tortured souls to fit into our own societal understanding of suicide, but both saw so much beauty in the world and were too multifaceted to be reduced to their sadness. Here’s what I wrote about Loving Vincent in my journal:

The animation was incredible, and it was a very moving film. The plot could have been better though. I had hoped that in 2017/18 writers would be more capable of writing about depression. Though the attitudes reflect the lack of understanding in Van Gogh’s time, they do not sit well. ‘Melancholia’, the contemporary word for depression, is only mentioned once towards the end of the film by a doctor who explains how it is certainly possible for a person to go from calm to suicidal in a matter of hours, but the point just hangs in the air. For the rest of the film, Van Gogh’s death is investigated like a murder mystery. The Van Gogh tortured artist myth is romanticised so much as it is. The doctor accuses the other characters of focusing too much on his death rather than his life, which is something the whole film is guilty of. I’m sure Van Gogh wouldn’t want to be remembered for his sadness, but for his vision, his talent, his hope- even if in his final days it turned to hopelessness.

Call Me By Your Name was without a doubt the best film I watched this year. I have watched it 5 or 6 times since February and I read the book for the first time over summer. Most of the soundtrack is on my top Spotify songs for this year. It is such a perfect representation of the highs and lows of first love; the intensity of our formative experiences of romance. I often put it on even if I do not have time to watch the whole film, just to slip back into Elio and Oliver's endless Italian summer for a while.

One of my favourite scenes and my favourite quote from the book is when Elio's father tells him not to close himself off from love in order to get over it faster. When I went through my first serious breakup later in the year, I wrote this quote in my journal as a reminder to myself when getting over someone: "We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything- what a waste!" 

Also, I had a dream the other night that I met Timothée Chalamet and got him to sign this page.

I saw Lady Bird in March. I came out of the cinema into the dark late-winter night feeling a lingering emotional hangover from all that the film had evoked within me. Everything that happened afterwards felt so significant, but at the same time, surreal, like I was in my own coming-of-age film. I went to a friend’s house for a few drinks and tipsily tried to explain how much the film meant to me. One of my friends drank a bottle of vodka because she found out the boy that she liked didn’t like her back. The next day, my mum rang me to tell me that my nan had died that night. 

I saw Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again at the start of summer and spent weeks fantasising about Greece, love and ‘70s clothes. It was the start of the heatwave that swept across the UK and turned all our memories into a hot, happy haze.

Extracts from the Charolastra Manifesto from Y Tu Mama Mambien; one of my favourite summer films.

Do whatever you feel.

Forget morals  and rules!

Truth is cool but unattainable. 


From this blog post on nudity in fashion magazines. 

From this post about recovering from an eating disorder as a fashion lover.


A lot happened in August. I went through a breakup, visited New York for the first time and turned 21. Luckily, there are plenty of songs about getting over someone in New York. This page has lyrics from St. Vincent’s ‘New York’ and The Cranberries’ ‘Twenty One.’ Whenever I am visiting somewhere new, I hold onto all of the tickets and leaflets and stock up on postcards to stick in my journal. I look at these pages and they take me back to those swelteringly hot final days as a 20-year-old, exploring New York.

Before my 18th birthday I made a Rookie Forever themed journal page. As twenty-one is another significant birthday I recreated it, using words from Tavi’s Work in Progress editor’s letter. 

From my first visit to the Met and the Fashion and the Catholic Imagination exhibition.

We spent my birthday at Caffe Reggio in Greenwich Village, where the Beat poets used to give readings. It was probably my favourite place in New York. 


I have journaled more this Autumn than any other time this year. From September I have had various temping jobs to save money for my masters. I'm tired when I get home, but long for a creative outlet, so that is what these pages are. Each remind me of a certain time over the past few months; of secret dreams, fantasies and feelings. Below each picture is some writing from a similar time.

I like the idea of drifting in and out of people's lives, but I wish I didn't always give so much away. It leaves me feeling like I've left a part of myself with them and not everyone deserves that.

But there are moments...that strange magic that makes it worth it.

I spent September exploring art that was about fear in order to come to terms with my anxiety; to try and accept it in my life rather than fight against it. Pulp’s ‘The Fear’ describes a mid-life crisis, but Jarvis Cocker sings, “When you can’t even think what it is that you’re frightened of, this song will be here.” It articulates that uneasy, lost feeling when life feels off-kilter. 

I wrote a lot about fear at this time. It's something I'm still coming to terms with, but I recently read The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer which has helped. Some of the ideas are quite complex and seem impossible to put into practice, but it is an easy enough read and has changed my perspective somewhat. 

Anne Sexton said that books are the people who never leave. I have been thinking a lot about people leaving recently. I listen to 'Fevers and Mirrors' on the way to work most days. It opens with a child reading a book about a dinosaur who is moving away. The theme of loss continues throughout. One year from now nothing will be the same. Each morning when I leave the house I am leaving behind the person I was when I woke up. I've been listening to 'This is the Day' a lot to remind myself that life can change at any moment and I will never go back to being the person I am when I wake up by the time I have started my car.

Being a party girl like that no longer appeals to me. I'm going places now. It doesn't matter if I get lonely sometimes because it IS lonely at the top and the top is where I'm going and I no longer fuck with anyone who tries to hold me back.

Kerouac was really onto something when he said IT'S ALL TOO MUCH AND NOT ENOUGH AT THE SAME TIME.


Lately, I've felt happiest when I'm on my yoga mat before 8am.

With perspective comes hope, new resolutions and contentedness.



I didn't write as much poetry as I would have liked to this year. I chose my dissertation over another creative writing module so had no deadlines to force me to find inspiration. However, I did get published in my university's literary journal which led to my first ever poetry reading in front of other poets. 

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