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Hi, Welcome. This is the second episode of Bird Bohannon and the Uncanny Familiars of Fern Hill. Today’s episode is a read through of the Journal Stew Zine.1.2020. The name indicates that it’s the first of the Journal Stew zines and that it was published in 2020. It’s available at my website at birdbohannon.com or at my ko-fi website, ko-fi.com/fern for short, and I’ll put those links in the show notes as well.

Hope you have a great episode! Thanks for joining…

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This is the audio version of Journal Stew.1.2020 made last year. It’s currently the end of January 2021, and I am Rachael Bird Bohannon and this is my work.

About: Journal stew is a guide to accessing reality, to learning ways to notice what you notice. It is personal care for the good of the collective. A method by which to practice radical honesty and self love.

I hope for you to experience enhanced efficiency and heightened clarity of purpose through daily journaling practices. The advice in this zine is from my experience as an artist and student.

Radical Self Love. Humble service to your body’s experience of reality is the goal, stoicism is the key to a sustainable insightful blank book habit.

This is do it yourself art therapy, this is an act of self love and an adventure in teaching yourself that you are both more sensitive and more beautifully strong than you could know.

It is not a question of how your doodles or fine art fit into the continuum of that which has come before, this is a pursuit of your own deep personal motivations.

Please: Be patient with yourself, use that ultimate ape power of courageous curiosity to listen to your small voice. You beautiful star dust being.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional or certified art therapist. The blank book habits I describe are journaling and as such are DIY art therapy. Through these practices, trauma may be revealed by opening portals into your subconscious and through reliving memories or stories you have been told. You may need to seek true professional medical guidance to be able to do this work safely. That is okay, get help. :)

What forms of resistance will you encounter? Intrusive thoughts, “I can’t, It has already been done”, are the voices from within which wear the masks of others and negative self talk.

The hierarchy of needs, negative thought patterns are stirred more easily when basic needs are neglected. Food and hydration and elimination always come first.

Stretching and inhabiting your body are among these more basic functions that must be attended before journaling, so if something aches for a gentle stretch, attend to that call first.

Each drawing offer opportunity to reconstruct and retrain your mental landscape.

There is so much value in private practice, in maintaining boundaries for this specific deep exploration. You don’t need to explain yourself, you may not yet understand the true nature of symbols that begin to arise in your blank book practice.

Making space, to confront the resistance that arises when faced with pen and blank page and limited external stimulus, is an act of bravery in this mad world.

Likely, the vacuuming can wait five or ten minutes.

Daily diary doodle, focus on the work at hand. A practice of self love. As intrusive thoughts and distractions of other obligations arise, you can choose to avoid negativity. The dishes and e-mails certainly can be put on hold momentarily.

Radical personal responsibility. Love yourself, beyond your socialized fiction.

While deep concentration and elimination of external stimulation during a creative session is ideal, meet yourself where you are now, draw while watching tv, draw while listening to podcasts and music.

So often we modern humans swim through life in abstraction, aware of only the map, and blind to the rich reality it represents.

One aspect of entering the journaling mindset is that it will necessarily trigger awareness of other areas of your being to which you should pay attention.

The type of healing offered within a daily blank book habit is deeply necessary, for everyone, in my opinion. It offers a safe and private place to analyze thoughts and to work to dismantle negative impulses.

In practicing radical kindness for ourselves in a safe and semi-structured way, we may become more accepting of others, and by extension, reality as a whole.

Absolute truth, scribbles as seismometer, record of focused energy.

We must forego martyrdom and ego, this is not just a possibility, it is a responsibility, to survive the change that is now and will concur ever more rapidly.

Releasing trauma through motion and expression with non erasable media.

Intrusive thoughts can so easily flash by unnoticed, and yet still be felt in the meat of your body, acted upon subconsciously to cause continued patterns of bad habit which cry out ot be unpacked, to be known.

As objects, drawings can serve as talking pieces with a counselor or trusted friend, if desired.

As evidence of internal thought processes, your journal should help organize your mental dialogue.

Review at a later time, whether ten minutes after, five days, or three years, can serve in a similar manner as discussion with a separate person, as time offers new perspectives.

Distance allows insight.

Your work is evidence of private internal investigation.

Process by itself is a valid pursuit. To attempt a task that may result in embarrassment is to practice courage.

Drawing directly in ink on paper is an immediate way to actively meditate, to focus your attention on a single intention.

As the mind wonders, you can practice self love and nix intrusive thoughts by staying present. Make space to allow apparent failures to teach through surprise revelations.

Question: Which supplies to use?

Answer: Whatever is readily available

Seeking out the best supplies is only a proxy for making art. Only actual confrontation of the blank page will stir the feelings within you that most need attention.

Those itchy feelings of insecurity, anticipation, mixed unnamed emotions.

Pick up the nearest pen, the closest sheet of paper available for making marks upon, and do so.

Simple efforts can be profound.

If your anxiety is high, lower your expectations.

Ways to do this are to use your non-dominant hand, or to draw an object from observation without looking at your paper.

Lower expectations for what your blank paper will look like after your effort, and make room for curiosity, and be brave enough to love yourself even when you think bad thoughts - this is a process of naming yourself as the valid star dust artist that you already are, that you were made to be, as a human being.

One aspect of the fear that can arise with the blank page is the irrational notion that whatever goes onto the page will be the single definition of your totality, the one artifact which will forever be your entire definition.

This is one power of blank books, over an individual page. When the effort is not only to draw on one page, but to fill an entire blank book over time, the process shows itself for the adventure it truly is.

The sequence becomes the proof of effort, rather than any singular exhibition, the whole of an effort over time becomes the base unit.

How does this look?

Approach self assessment with curiosity, and be brave enough to love whatever happens. Consider not judging at all. The goal is to build a sustainable practice, to start small and cultivate an open and nurturing energy.

As far as sharing art is concerned, I encourage folks to keep very new work private, or within a safe social sphere, as precious new feelings, and keep them away from pride and fear, which are certain to meddle in your deep journey.

Even if you choose to direct your energy toward an art practice beyond a daily doodle diary, this deeply basic effort will always be available to recharge, to make fresh, to get you unstuck from stagnant patterns, to serve as a spine from which to grow limbs.

About the author:

Rachael Bird Bohannon is process-oriented, motivated by empathy and lateral problem solving: dyslexia at its best. Her main goal in life is to harness the radical insight of her twelve-year-old self. Through my art facilitation project “Journal Stew” I aim to empower fellow earthlings to be fiercely curious, and to remind us that everything carries deep wisdom of its own sort, ourselves included.

Born and raised in a rural town with a small school, somewhere in a muddy part of Virginia, USA. Lucky enough to earn a bfa in Craft/Material Studies from VCU in Richmond, the little brick city on the Falls.

This has been Journal Stew Zine.1.2020 Recorded January 27th, 2021.

Thank you, Go Draw!

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