Technically, this post is too late. I should have written about International Fake Journal Month (known as IFJM to its friends and fans) at the beginning of the year, before it began in April. But it didn’t cross my mind, alas, until someone in my art journal group (go here to join us) mentioned it, and then someone else asked about it, and I posted a note about what it is and realized there are a bunch of people who would LOVE to do this, whether they participate in the actual Official Month or just do something similar all by themselves in their own person journal (but you really do need to join Roz next year because she posts on the IFJM blog and shows what she’s doing in her own Fake Journal and just all kinds of cool stuff).
So, the info: IFJM was begun by my friend Roz Stendahl in 2001, just for fun, and the motto (which I absolutely adore) is, “Life’s so short, why live just one?” If you don’t know Roz and haven’t ever take a workshop from her or followed her blog, you really should: she’s funny and brilliant and amazingly talented and has this wonderfully wide-ranging curiosity about, well, about just about everything in life. Did I mention she’s funny? I’ve told her that sometimes her sense of humor doesn’t come across in print unless you know her and have talked to her in person: when we’ve talked on the phone, I have to get out of my desk chair and lie down on the floor and spend most of the conversation wiping tears out of my eyes. Seriously. And that includes when I’m supposed to be interviewing her, which is almost impossible for me.
Anyway, so Roz came up with IFJM and then decided to invite other people to join her, and they do, and they have a ton of fun. Go here to find out everything you need to know. What I think is the coolest about the whole idea is that it encourages you, for at least a month, to not take your journal so seriously. It doesn’t have to record every fact about your days. It doesn’t have to accurately capture your life. It can be, in short, whatever you want it to be. And if you can do it for a month, why not do it for as long as it’s fun for you?
I think a lot of us have gotten caught up in the idea that our journals are going to be around forever and that we have to be “truthful” and accurate so that, 200 years from now, someone can pick them up and read them and know what it was like in 2013. If that’s important to you, well, sure. You can do that. But if, like me, you kind of doubt that’s ever going to happen, and you’re pretty sure researchers aren’t going to rely solely on your spiral notebooks to determine what happened in the beginning decades of the 21st century, then what’s to stop you from having a little fun with it? Make it not about the life that you live every day, but the life you *wish* you lived every day. Or about the life you thought you wanted to live but are now reallyreallyreally glad you’re not living except in your imagination, where huge snakes and man-eating lizards are kind of fun, rather than terrifying. Imagine what your life would have been like if you’d become an astronaut, and write about that. Imagine what would have happened if you’d sailed around the world by yourself, and write about those adventures.
Until next year, while you’re deciding whether or not you want to participate (and you definitely should), go here to check out Roz’s Official International Fake Journal Blog. Really, how much more fun can you have for free?
And if, like me, you need even more of Roz’s fabulousness, here’s her website, and here’s where you start if you want to look at her amazing journals. Go here to listen to Roz talk to Danny Gregory about visual journals. (She’s had several conversations with Danny, so take some time to poke around.) Roz is in several of Danny’s books, including his most recent, An Illustrated Journey: Inspiration from the Private Art Journals of Traveling Artists, Illustrators and Designers.
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