Wreck This Journal: Week 9 – The Finale

Wreck This Journal – Final Week from Jennifer Lee on Vimeo.

I couldn’t resist one more video to bring the Wreck This Journal Next Chapter Book Club adventure to a close.


Drawing with glitter glue at this week’s intuitive painting class.  I didn’t wait for the glue to completely dry before I shut the book, so the pages got stuck together!  Ah, the unintentional wrecking!


My left-handed doodle from my hammock on my self-care Friday.


Last weekend, I went to SARK’s Juicy Pens Thirsty Paper workshop and did a bit of journal wrecking there.  SARK hand writes all of the nametags with words that she intuitively channels and we randomly get handed them as we walk in the door.  My nametag said “Feisty” and I thought that would make a good sign.  One of the pages I’d been avoiding was the hang the journal in a public place and invite people to draw on it page.  Well, donning my “Feisty” tag, I raised my hand before break and invited my fellow workshop participants to join in the wrecking fun and draw on the page.


People had a lot of fun participating and several were inspired to get Wreck This Journal to kickstart their own creative juices.


Some people even went on to the next page. Of course I had grand visions for what the “trace your hand” page was going to be, but I had to let it go.  Another lesson courtesy of WTJ, some times things don’t go as planned and that’s okay!


The SARK workshop was a blast.  I took my notes in the form of the “document time passing” page.  Every minute was filled with juicy learning!


My internal “dialogue” before going to bed one night this week.  This reminds me of an exercise I did dialoging with my Inside Team.


A couple of weeks ago I did the “other ways to wreck this journal” page.  One of them was to draw a face and put make-up on it, so that’s what I did here.


When I reflect on what I get angry about, it usually has to do with some of my core values not being met.  Here I journaled about two things that have been bugging me.  The process underscored for me that my values of creativity/uniqueness/self-expression and meaningful relationships/friendship and authenticity/integrity/wholeness were not being fully honored in these two situations.


I did my own take on the “write backward” page.  I took Japanese in college and it was difficult to learn because everything is backwards compared to the English language.  You have to write vertically from right to left.  Even the grammar seems backward with the verb coming at the very end of the sentence.  Here was my poor attempt at writing, “Hello my name is Jennifer.  I studied Japanese (or the backwards order of ‘I Japanese studied’). How are you? I’m fine thank you.”  The calligraphy on the lefthand page is from a gocco print I made out of my Grandpa Fukuda‘s shodo practice sheets.


I enjoyed connecting with fellow wreckers on the Wrecking Ball call with Jamie on Friday.  Given that I had challenged someone on the call to do a page she’d been avoiding, I challenged myself to do one, too.  My favorite page, the fruit sticker page, is going to Jennifer Moore of Pink Heels.  The cool thing is we’re swapping fruit sticker pages because that was a page she’d been avoiding, too.  So it all works out in the end 🙂

I discovered so many gems on the WTJ journal and relearned a few good lessons, too:

  • Mistakes, failure and unintended wrecking often lead to wonderful creative surprises beyond what I could’ve planned or imagined.
  • Inviting creative cohorts to play not only enlivens me and the creative process, but also gives the other people permission to giggle, wreck and have fun (and they might not have even realized that they were yearning for just that!).
  • Having a supportive community makes stepping out of my comfort zone a whole lot easier.
  • Responding to a structure or prompt actually spurs my creative process.  I can take the suggestion and run with it or I can say no and make it my own.  Either way, I’m moving forward.
  • I like having variety and challenge in my creative process.
  • Wreckage can be ugly and uncomfortable AND it can also be cute and beautiful – there’s room for a whole range of experience and expression.

And I listed some other lessons in an earlier post here.

What have you learned through the wreckage?  I’d love to hear!  See you at the next Next Chapter book club for The Joy Diet by Martha Beck.  It sounds yummy!

Wreck This Journal: Week 8 – Yoga Style

I can’t believe there’s only one more week of the Wreck This Journal journey.  This week’s wrecking revolved mostly around the theme of yoga.  The fabulous Connie, who is also a yogini and artist, inspired me to dabble in producing my own little video this week.  I call it “Wreck This Journal-asana.”

The yogic spiritual guidelines of the yamas and the niyamas showed up, too.   I practiced the yamas Aparigraha (greedlessness) by giving away some of my pages to friends.  I gave my “scrub this page” to Kate to include in her heartfelt brush + scrub adventures with her honey.  I practiced Ahimsa (nonviolence) by being kinder and gentler to my book this week. And I practiced the niyama of Swadhyaya (self-study) by doing the inner critic and good thoughts pages.


The inner critic thoughts remind me of vrittis (which in Sanskrit means vortex or circular activity with no beginning and no end).  In my yoga teacher training we learned about how these “mental modifications” color our perceptions.


I decorated my good thoughts page with lovely comments from my recent Creative Life interview on the amazing Susannah Conway‘s Ink on my fingers blog.  The collage was my answer to Susannah’s juicy question, “What does happiness look like to you?”  A perfect image to place on my good thoughts page.


I randomly picked a word from a page in the magazine for my “write one word over and over again page.”


Here are typical grocery lists from two of my favorite places to shop.


And finally, in the yogic practice of non-attachment, I dropped my journal into the mail today and left it in the hands of the postal service.  Now that’s an exercise in letting go!


Wreck This Journal: Week 7 – Getting Sticky


While I’ve enjoyed the past several weeks of wrecking, this was the first week that I felt a little stuck around it. Not as inspired to crack my book open. Wanting a bit of a break from all the creation/demolition. During the creative process this can be thought of as the dip or a lull. I’ve noticed that in this pause, I’ve been renenergized around some other projects. I’m thinking that now might be a good time to mail the journal out to myself (one of the activities I’ve been avoiding since I’ve been so attached to it). We could probably use a break from each other for a few days!


I’ve been avoiding the “sticky” page, because well, it’s sticky/yucky. I’m also afraid that ants are going to invade my journal when they smell the honey and maple syrup!


Last week when I visited the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, I picked up an old UC Berkeley newspaper from 1974.  I clipped an article for my “random newspaper”page from it. I used to work at the UCLA Daily Bruin and that’s where Brian and I met, so I had a bit of nostalgia using a college paper.


I had fun practicing some handwritten type with the “four-letter word” page.


Perhaps having more ideas of how to wreck this journal will inspire me next week!

I have to say that the most excitement for me around Wreck This Journal this week came from my hilarious friend Connie. She conducted her own brilliant awards ceremony video – you must check it out. I’m super honored to be the winner of the “Cute as a Cupcake Wreck This Journal Dirty Footprints Studio award” and can’t wait to get my page from this creative chica!  Thanks, Connie!

Wreck This Journal: Week 6 – More Wreckage


The wrecking continues on week 6 of the Next Chapter Wreck This Journal adventure.  When I was at Trader Joe’s this morning, a woman came up to me and asked me if I was a life coach.  She had seen my coaching website the other night and also enjoyed looking at all the wreckage of the Next Chapter bloggers.  Very cool!


Here’s my chewed up page.  It did not taste good.  Yuck.


During the 4th of July holiday weekend, Brian and I took a lovely walk around Lake Temescal in Oakland.  I’m glad I brought my journal with me as the beautiful natural setting inspired some more wreckage.


I spotted a muddy patch on the path around the lake and recklessly rubbed my page with dirt.


Also on our walk, I noticed blackberries starting to spring up along the bank.  I almost fell into the lake trying to pick berries.  Not only did I mess this page, but I also messed up my leg with several pricks from the blackberry thorns!


I don’t drink coffee, so Brian graciously share the last few drops of his Blue Bottle coffee on our walk.


I had a lot of fun with the “sew this page.”  I even created a pocket that contains a secret message – shhhh!


And finally, here’s my “test supplies” page on week four of being my blotting paper at painting class.

Wreck This Journal: Week 5 – Making My Mark


During these past five weeks of the Next Chapter’s Wreck This Journal adventure, I’ve had so much fun making my mark on this book.  I even had to change the title to Wreck Jenn’s Journal!  The cute stickers are from my friend Ana Ottman (thanks Ana!).  Here’s a look at my wreckage for the week.


I drew two disgusting, yucky true stories about my pup Emmett.  Sure he’s cute, but it’s really gross when I accidentally touch his poo or when he barfs on chicken bones.  I thought these were perfect fodder for the “ugly…poo…barf” page.  Click here to see a bigger version.


Do you remember the old-fashioned toy Wolly Willy with the metal filings and magnet wand?  While getting my haircut last Friday, I was inspired to make my own versions for the “create a drawing using a piece of your hair” page.  With journal and glue in hand, I picked up my hair trimmings and decorated my page.  My hairstylist got a kick out of it and even suggested a few of the ‘dos.

Oh, and you’ll see that there’s a blue splotch, too.  The blue soaked through several pages after I swam with my journal.  The absolutely cool thing is, the ink is from the “color outside the lines” page.  Not only did I color outside the lines, I colored in three-dimensions!


This circle page feels so cheery and fresh with all of the bright colors and fruit.  My journal actually smells lemony now because I infused it with some “Lusty Lemon” essential oil.  I got the idea of finding images of circular objects after seeing the Ganesha icon from the wrapper of my Yogitoes skidless mat.  I also added the Ganesha description, “The God of knowledge, wisdom and wealth, Lord of success and destroyer of all obstacles” to the title page.  Perfect!


On Monday, I ran into my dear friend Julie Daley at Bittersweet.  We had a lovely conversation and afterward I invited her to wreck my journal.  She signed her name with decadent chocolate cake!  Yummy.


Here’s the magazine page with my favorite words on it circled.


And here’s the “test art supplies” page on its third week of being my blotting paper at intuitive painting class.  It’s super cool to see it get messier and messier!  It looks even better in person.

I’m really feeling like the freedom to destroy, deface and make my journal my own has enhanced my overall creativity.  I’ve been in a creative flow the past several weeks.  I’m looking forward to more wrecking!

Wreck This Journal: Week 4 – Diving In


During these past few weeks, I’ve grown quite attached to my journal and it now goes with me everywhere.  It’s like having a little creative companion to inspire me throughout my day.  I look over and hear my co-conspirator asking me, “Hmmm, what mischief shall we get into today?”

After surviving a shower with my journal, I ventured into taking it for a swim with me last week.  This was quite a leap considering I seriously contemplated putting my journal into a ziplock bag before bringing it into the shower!

I swam a little on my own first, scoping out the pool.  Being the good rule-follower that I am, I even found myself glancing over to the pool rules sign to make sure there wasn’t any wording about bringing strange, foreign objects into the pool!  I felt self conscious as I brought the book into the water with me, concerned about what others might think.

But in the end, I just took a deep breath and plunged right in, journal in hand.  It was quite exhilarating!  Then we lounged together poolside and worked on our tan.

Here’s a quick video of me checking out the damage ;).


My journal was sopping wet, so my husband suggested wrecking it further with a hairdryer.  I’m amazed at the volumizing effect even without a diffuser or mousse!


Here’s my journal at the beginning of my Intuitive Painting class with Chris Zydel.


And here’s my journal after a good, messy session of painting.  What fun!!

Through all this play and destruction, I’m learning some helpful lessons from creative wreckage that apply to my life in general:

  • Thinking, anticipating, fretting, and plotting about something that stretches me is usually a lot scarier than actually just doing it.
  • By stretching myself, I discover new edges that challenge me and empower me to grow.
  • I feel even more invested in my creative endeavors after I’ve taken a risk (whether it turned out the way I wanted it to or not).
  • I’m capable of way more than I think I am.

What life lessons are you learning from your creative wreckage?  I’d love to hear.

Wreck This Journal: Week 3 – Getting Messy


For week 3 of the Next Chapter‘s Wreck This Journal adventure I played with getting a little more messy.  I dabbled in food stains, dragging the journal and other fun stuff.

My partner in crime, Emmett, helped me drag the journal down the street in the video below.

We didn’t get very far before the string snapped, but the cover certainly got scuffed up. I think it ended up for the best that the journal detached from his leash. I didn’t think through the positioning and he ended up peeing on the string which was really gross.


I warmed up to the food mess by putting a few stains on my stain page.  Who knew that blueberry soy yogurt has such adhesive properties?  The pages were glued together after the yogurt dried.


While savoring a tasty raw food meal from Cafe Gratitude, I figured I’d commemorate the delicious lunch in my journal (even though it says to document your dinner – so rebellious! Haha!).  I smeared on some raw pasta puttanesca zucchini noodles and fake meatballs and garnished with a sprig of watercress from the side salad.


I took my journal with me to intuitive painting class.  Instead of using a paper towel to dab my brushes, I had fun using my test page.  I will continue to use this page for my paintbrushes for the rest of the book club.


My leftover paints made a colorful palatte for my handprints!


And finally after this week’s mess, I cleaned off my journal in the shower! Haha.  Really, I had been avoiding this because I hate water-logged pages.  Oh well!!

I love Jamie’s vlog post about attachment this week.  Great insights, Jamie.

Wreck This Journal: Week 2 – Creative Cohorts


What fun it’s been wrecking this week!  AND seeing all the other creative destroyers participating in the Next Chapter.

Reflecting on this week, I noticed that I stayed more in the realm of “art” making rather than pure destruction.  It was still quite a stretch for me to bend pages, to color with random crayons that I pulled out of a bag without looking/color coordinating (gasp!), and to add three-dimensional objects that make the pages all unwieldy.  For goodness sake, my book won’t even stay closed now – which I guess is a good thing… haha!

I also had fun asking friends to play with me, starting off with my friend Amy.  Amy and I met for the first time in person at lunch today and she was so sweet that she brought me a little present.  I opened it up to find that she gifted me with sparkly gemstone stickers (which was perfect for Wreck This Journal, even though she didn’t even know about it!).  I invited her to stick some stickers on the book.

Here’s my friend Amy “wrecking” my journal – isn’t she adorable?

You’ll see that there was food still on the table, but I wasn’t ready to document my meal yet. 😉  My excuse?  Well it was lunch, not dinner! Haha.


This is one of my favorite pages so far.  Once I started putting fruit stickers on, I had the urge to draw the fruit that went with it.  The Dole sticker just looked like it could easily turn into a banana!  And then I jotted down my random thoughts about the fruit.


Right before going to bed last night, I got inspired to do the office supplies page. So, I rummaged through our stash of post its, staples, paper clips and such.  The most satisfying act was making labels with my P-touch.  I also forgot how toxic White Out smells.  That, mixed with Sharpies might have added to the creative flow!


I decided to sleep with my journal before it got too messy and gross ;).


And today after lunch with Amy, I stopped by my friend Kate‘s house.  I handed her the book and asked her to do something destructive to this page.  She made me hang out in the bathroom with the water running so I couldn’t hear what mischief she was up to.  When she called for me to come out, this rogue seamstress and my Kiss the Paper cohort showed me the cutest sewn awkward heart.  I love it!

Given my resistance, it’s obvious that the next place to venture into is the gross land of food, licking pages and perhaps bringing it in the shower with me (I really, really hate it when my books get wet and water logged!).  Well, as they say, “What’s in the way is the way!”

Wreck This Journal: Week 1 – Playing with Fire


The Next Chapter book club starts up again this week with Keri Smith’s Wreck This Journal.  Thanks, Jamie for a great pick!

As I mentioned in my Juicy Pens and Thirsy Paper post last year, I don’t write in my books.  I don’t dog ear.  If I do for some odd reason need to markup a book, I’ll do it very lightly… in pencil.  It goes without saying that Wreck This Journal poses a challenge for me!  Author and artist Keri Smith urges us to roll up our sleeves and get messy with challenges like take the book in the shower with you (are you kidding me?!) or cut through several layers of the book (yikes!) or lick the page (gross).  Hmm, I may need to ease myself in with more innocuous activities like writing on the grocery list page or tracing my hand.

Fortunately, my intuitive painting classes encourage me to get messy, make ugly art and just be in the creative process.  I’ll definitely be tapping into that as I work my way through Wreck This Journal.

I did give myself a head start by buying a used version. It’s still blank inside, but it’s already a little run down and it’s got a black remainder mark on the edge.  I needed to have it broken in rather than cracking open a pristine copy.  Perhaps that’s cheating a bit, but it’s what worked for me! 😉  I even loved how the envelope it came in has seen better days.


Given that during the 12 Secrets Next Chapter adventure, I shared that I could use more fire in my life, I chose to kick off wrecking my journal by doing the “burn this page” page.  Here’s a video of my first attempt.

After I got the hang of it and wasn’t worried that the whole book would go up in flame, I got bolder and played around more with the burnt edges.  I actually like the effect.


I’m looking forward to meeting other Next Chapter wreckers this summer and playing together!  Here’s to wrecking!