I was honored when Sue invited me to appear on her web site. And, as a journal writing instructor myself, I was interested in Sue’s own journaling practice and work with others.
So, now it’s my pleasure to share Sue’s perspective on her work.
When did you begin journaling?
Journaling became a serious hobby for me in high school. Life was turbulent in the late 60s. The Viet Nam war, civil rights, the women’s movement, and East meets West consciousness influenced American culture in a Renaissance way.
We had Motown, jazz, rhythm and blues, and the beat poets. I fell in love with the arts and culture. Journal writing was my way of coping with coming of age and making sense of the world.
Did the practice afford you any useful insights into your own circumstances?
Yes. Journaling is a way to deal with events. My mother had a stroke when I was ten, so our small family had to adjust quickly. Mom survived but had challenges. I was a sensitive intuitive, but at that time I didn’t know what to do with the knowledge I was receiving.
Journaling is practical. Daily writing in a log shows us our issues (and talents) without judging them. After writing about something–like a problem, for example–long enough, we recognize a theme, then we decide to deal with it, and hopefully, solve it.
Journaling is a survival tool. The Diary of Anne Frank, and A Stolen Life; A Memoir, by Jaycee Dugard, are examples of how writing helped women to survive captivity. The three young women held hostage in Cleveland are now releasing the information that they kept journals.
Is there a relationship between your journaling and your art?
Definitely. I’m always connecting images with words. When words fail we can rely on our sense impressions–sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. A good writer involves the reader with the world of sensation.
What reasons would you have for encouraging others to journal?
It’s therapeutic. You create a confidante. There’s no worry about grammar or talent.
Journaling helps people connect their emotions to events and to organize their thoughts. I also teach students to use the diary to record other people’s stories and keep track of historical events. It works as a reference tool.
Experts are now showing that journaling helps improve the immune system and blood pressure, and can be used in conjunction with traditional therapy for treating depression and anxiety.
What is your work with those who write journals?
I’ve been facilitating journaling and art groups with seniors, teenagers, and children in formal settings such as community centers, schools, and orphanages in California and Arizona. I’m affiliated with Kathleen Adam’s Center for Journal Therapy.
I’m an advocate for those who want help in finding a voice. When you write or draw, sing or play an instrument, you can only do what you are doing in the “now” moment. Any expressive activity is a healing modality. There’s always room for another story, song, or drawing.
Susan E. Rowland is an intuitive artist, writer, and poet with a psychology degree. Among her passions is journaling. She’s a certified instructor of Journal to the Self® and Angel Therapy Practitioner® She does oracle readings and can be reached at [email protected]. See her work at Journal with Sue.
Sue lives near Cave Creek, Arizona, with her artist husband, Jesse. She’s currently blogging, working on a memoir, and enjoying being a grandmother. She loves to communicate and will respond to emails and inquiries. See her blog for upcoming events and workshops.