This week, I did something just for me: I signed up for some journaling classes at Strathmore. They’re free, self-paced classes exploring different journaling techniques. I’ve always wanted to be someone who does art journals, but for the life of me, I just can’t seem to get started. Or keep with it.

I don’t take classes very often. I’m a really bad student. You would think that someone who spent nine years in college would be pretty good at being a student, but I spent those years pretty much doing whatever I wanted to do. I am the worst at following along in class, and don’t like following instructions for creative projects. Are you seeing the irony here? I spend most of my life writing out instructions on how to make things, but I can’t really focus on following someone else’s. Be happy you don’t have to eat anything I make from someone else’s recipe…

Anyway, because I get distracted easily, want to play with all the class kit contents, and quietly sit in my little corner making whatever I want while ignoring the teacher completely, I try not to inflict myself on classes to often. I figured I’d be safe with online classes, since I’m way the heck over here where nobody can see me acting like a monkey with finger paints. No such luck. We’re sharing photos of our work, and of course, I read this week’s instructions, took the parts I liked, threw out the rest, and did my own thing. Oh, well. The second lesson was released today, and I discovered that I’ll have to make new backgrounds to move on, rather than working right over my first lesson pages. Again, oh well.

One thing I learned this week is that yes, I still hate the look of my own writing. I’ve always sort of felt this way. I think there was a brief period in college, when I was forced to hand letter both my costume drawings and my blueprints, that I had a sort of truce with my handwriting. It’s been decades since then. My writing looks like it was splattered onto the page rather than lettered. I whined loudly about this on the classroom discussion board, and got a lot of advice, tips, and just general “get over it” messages that cracked me up. I have a pad of lined paper and my favorite pen sitting on the coffee table in front of the television now, and I write lines of dialog from whatever I’m watching to work on developing a better lettering style.

Meanwhile, pages from the classes are posted on their own page, here. They’re sort of sad and lonely, but I’m hoping to add a few more each week as the classes progress.