The Evolution of Journaling...My Story

When I began scrapping more than 10 years ago, I placed a lot of emphasis on my scrapbook journaling. My scrapbook 'teacher' at that time insisted that my journaling would be the MOST important legacy I would leave behind - as unlike me, my children (and their children, and so on) would be able to readily identify people and places in my albums --- but only if I journaled. And in a way....she was right. So jumping ahead to present day - okay, I'll admit it...in my present day scrapbooking I don't journal on every page. (GASP!) Not because I don't feel that journaling is important, but because quite honestly, I don't feel that it is entirely necessary to journal on every page. Think about it....in an album dedicated to my son or daughter - is it really necessary to say "This is James. He is 4 years old" etc. on every page? I think not. Really....we have to give the eventual album reader at least a little credit here. If the album is All About James, then likely most of the photographs will be of James, and likely pages will focus on facets of James' life, his milestones, his personality, his friends, his family and so on. Even though I did not label every photo, I am fairly certain that the reader will be able to figure it out and for the most part, follow the story. Now, don't get me wrong, I still feel that journaling is important, and I still journal in my scrapbooks, but rather than forcing myself to journal the five "W's" on every page - I pick and choose when and where to add it to my layouts. In a way, my journaling focus has evolved. Now, when I add journaling, I am journaling not only about the pictures themselves, but about my emotions - how the photo makes me feel or how I feel specifically about the photo subject. My thinking is that by journaling on a more personal level, the legacy I leave behind will be even more meaningful for generations to come (and it's actually somewhat therapeutic as you're going through the process of writing it). Let's look at an example...I hold in my hand photos of Christmas 2002 - typical family snapshots. Yes, I could scrap them and simply identify, the Who, What, Where, Why and How and that would be great, but instead when I look at these photos, I recall and 'feel' so much more. I recall that this was the first Christmas without my Nana...the family matriarch. I recall how difficult it was for everyone that she wasn't with us. I recall that we spoke of her often that day, and shared memories of her from years past. And this is all important stuff! Her absence truly set the mood and/or tone of the event. Now don't get me wrong, it was not a somber occassion by any means, but her absence did cause us all to reflect and realize that we need to enjoy family while we still can. In this example, what was more important was not the people who were present in the photographs, but the person who was not. Had I simply journaled the five W's, this message would have been lost. So think about your journaling, and don't feel you need to journal on every page of your album - because after all, often times the pictures can and do stand alone. On the other hand, there are cases that the pictures can't possibly tell the 'whole' story - and these are the times when you need to be sure to write it down. Your children (and their children) will be glad you did! ================= There is a great article on A Cherry on Top entitled "Sometimes it IS just about the pictures" and I highly recommend it as a must read. The author explores through example two different points of view (her own and her mom's) regarding the importance/unimportance of journaling in your scrapbook. I do agree with her wholeheartedly that sometimes it IS just about the pictures. But I also believe that often times what is NOT in the pictures is more important yet.