Journal done. Finished. (Well, nearly...)
Every morning recently, I've woken up thinking "that's it. I'm going to finish it today!" So near and yet so far, it really did feel like the never-ending journal and I was so ready to be done with it and get it on the shelf.
It's a weighty tome, possibly too full of as many details as I can remember and more ephemera than would be sensible if I could only be more selective.
But good times have to be saved, recorded and kept safe for future reminiscence, regardless of how long it takes or how many pages.
Maps are essential. How else would we know where we'd been? And in seventy years time, who knows if someone will be glad I kept a record?
It's important to include all those small details which provoke a "remember that time when" moment, like when we arrived in Chicago this time and found a woman sitting in the car we'd been told by Avis was ours. Soon sorted, no big deal, but just one small thing which makes this trip different from any other.
Oh, and when I said "a" map is essential, what I really meant was "as many maps as necessary". If they don't fit the page, then I'll just have to practise my Turkish Map Folding. After all, one of my journals wouldn't be the same without at least one Turkish Map Fold, would it?
Sometimes, there's just too much to cram into a single page (or a single museum) and alternative methods need to be put into practice.
Other people are so cute and contribute so much joy to our day that they deserve a page to themselves. It was a small and somewhat insignificant event in a fun packed day but we'll remember Wanda as a highlight of our visit to the Detroit Art Institute.
Most pages are like this; a mish mash of cut out bits and pieces, a story or two and pages of different sizes which make it all a bit haphazard. But a bit of quirk adds personality, doesn't it?
I try hard to make my journal different from my blog and I notice, there are fewer words than there used to be. No point in repeating myself unnecessarily. Anyway, places like the Grand Hotel are such rich sources of ephemera that I can't bear to throw away!
Other places present a different challenge. The Fish Hatchery at Pendills Creek was a fascinating place and we learned a lot from a super-friendly biologist there, but I didn't feel the need to record all the facts and figures. Neither was it a particularly attractive place - just a shed, really - and it was indeed in the middle of nowhere. So I was glad of an appropriate pair of patterned papers and some washi tape to tart up a couple of pictures cut from the leaflet I picked up there. Making something out of not very much, then, but most certainly somewhere I wanted to remember.
By now, I was getting to the end of my patience, so quick and easy sets the tone of the last few pages.
Nevertheless, these places need to be included.
The reason why the last few pages took me so long, though, were small features like this one. Pictures in my mind which I'd scribbled in my notebook at the time but hadn't done much about. When we saw a rather chubby chappy riding a small motor bike down a wide road in Green Bay, wearing what we thought was a clown outfit (but later discovered to be a game bib) it fixed a clear picture in my mind. Trouble was, could I draw it? Well, I had a go - but it took time. And actually, it was a proper motor bike he was riding rather than the mobility scooter I seem to have drawn! (Though he did have little round John Lennon style sunglasses on, really....)
So much for quick and easy pages, eh?
Imagine my pleasure then, to find a good summing up page there, ready to go. At the American Writers Museum were a few typewriters on which to begin our masterpieces. Needless to say, we couldn't resist the challenge - though I hardly imagined that I'd be glad to include it here. Jack Kerouac can sleep easy.
A page of boarding passes and suchlike and it's complete. Well, nearly...
I now have the challenge of fitting it into the largest coil binding I have and it's going to be a squeeze. Not only that, but I know that, the minute I close that spine and put it on the shelf, I'm going to find the page I put on one side and forgot about...