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This is an archived posting from my previous website “Chips Antidotal Wanderings” – a personal blog about family, creative moments, and pain management activities in my life. That blog was active from 2004-2011.

Creativity Between Friends

A Circle Journal (CJ) is a long-running swap. It’s a book that will circle between two or three people for a long time. Sometimes for years. Generally speaking when the last page is written in and signed – whoever the book is delivered to is then the owner of the precious gift shared between the friends. The journal may just contain letters between themselves or doodles and photos. It may contain stamped and sketched images or momentos from trips and special occasions too.

In this blog entry I feature some of the pages from a CJ I share with my friend Liz. I’ve blurred out the journaling part on purpose as these are sometimes rather private thoughts between us. But these examples show you what our doodles, stamping, scrapping, and scripples look like. By clicking on any of the pictures in this set, you can view a larger picture of the pages and get some tips on how to do a CJ for yourself.

I share such circle journals with several friends and one between my mom and myself, one with my sister, and one with several of my daughters too. They are precious journals that I hold close to my heart and they represent personal “diaries” to us.

Journals can be accomplished with rules or without. In the case of my journals, I share only one rule between me and any of my book partners. That is that at least some of the entries must be handwritten. I happen to be the worlds sloppiest writer. I also have extremely pour spelling and sentence structure skills. Nevertheless, the rule remains for the journals I share with others.

The books may stay with one party for several weeks or months even. They may have multiple entries in them by one person before they ever get passed to the other. The pages sometimes include creative artistry and other times it’s just journaling. Sometimes poems, quotes, or just random thoughts about whatever happens to be on our mind when writing in them.

At times it’s a chore to make myself work in a book. Other times it’s easy. There have been occassions when either I or my circle friend won’t get back to the post office with the book and forward it on until long after we recieved it. And that’s okay with our books because we don’t have any any pre-set rules about when they will exchange hands. You may prefer to designate a monthly exchange schedule with a book partner. Personally, I just like them to be an ongoing form of communication between each other.

Fun for Everyone!

I can guarantee you one thing though… no matter what pre-determined rules you come up with and share – The CJs are always fun to receive and usually full of surprises. Each time you get one back you’ll re-visit previous entries again and again. Those that you’ve included as well as those your partner did. Soon you’ll see yourself walking down memory lane and developing an even closer bond with the one you share this experience with!

BTW – this same guarantee holds true for any CJ you may share with someone living in the same household as you! Yes, I share one with my DD that still lives at home. It’s actually a family CJ. Hubby includes entries from time to time as well. So we all get to see and experience the surprises in it each time we stop and open the CJ that sits in a special location on the kitchen shelf. There are so many “Hey you did a good job,” and “I had fun doing that with you,” type entries! Just think of the handwritten memories we’ll be passing to our DD to keep when she flies from the nest.

Family Sharing

I challenge you to start a circle journal with at least one member of your family or a friend sometime in 2006. These journals can reveal so much between family members. They can become pieces of history to be treasured between friends. A Circle Journal is such a fun and enduring way to share in the life of another person.

If you can’t think of anyone to start a journal with – well just holler at me then. I’m open to sharing in another journaling experience. I encourage everyone to create and share in a CJ at least once in their lifetime!

~Cindy

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