It’s odd, perhaps, that although I’m obsessed with words, I’ve never had any interest in keeping a journal.
Oh, I’ve made a stab at it from time to time. I have a couple of nicely bound journals filled with life highlights – mostly photos and hand written, short comments. It can take five to ten years for me to complete a journal, so you can imagine it’s not a very complete record of my life.
Some years ago, I did a wonderful goddess program called The Ninth Wave (http://www.thesilverbranch.org/ninthwave/journey.html) with Lunaea Weatherstone. And she introduced me to collage. I’m forever indebted to Lunaea for this revelation. A little later I discovered an intriguing book called Soul Collage: An Intuitive Collage Process for Individuals and Groups, by Seena B. Frost.
These two resources taught me that collage can document your life, from the day you taught your kids new words when a full carton of milk got spilled on the floor to the day you learned a new spiritual insight. Soul Collage also gave me a format: 5×8 inches, small enough that a collage doesn’t take forever, large enough to accommodate many images you find in magazines.
I’ve probably got a hundred and fifty collage cards now – plus a full tarot deck. This is a double card I made for my life as a romance writer.
Collage can be anything you want it to be. You can cut pictures out of magazines in their original squares and stick them on a piece of paper. You can obsessively trim tiny antennae on the picture of a butterfly before sticking it onto another picture of a mountain range. You can add text. You can leave lots of blank space, or you can fill your page completely. You can take your time or finish it all in under an hour. (I tend to be the obsessive, trim-around-the-antennae type of collager.)
The point is that collage is a simple and inexpensive way to journal, if you don’t want to “journal”.
Lately I’ve been doing more electronic collage, using paint.net (which I’ve mentioned before). Once you master layers it’s an easy way to put images together from the web to make your own, personal collages. I took the photo near Victoria, BC, and added John O’Donohue’s perfect words.
Give it a try. Choose one magazine and find a piece of paper or card stock, a pair of scissors, and a glue stick, and you’re good to go.
For me, the good news is that 5×8 inches is one of the standard book cover sizes when you self-publish with Createspace.
So yes, for Seducing Adam I did my own cover. No hero, no heroine, just a house on a hill and some roses. And yes, this breaks the “rules” for romance fiction. But the thing is, when I troll the Amazon website under contemporary romance, it isn’t the hero-and-heroine covers that attract me. Nora Roberts’ Garden Trilogy comes to mind here.
I’d planned on going to a cover designer. I have several strong references from fellow writers. And undoubtedly I will take that route in the future. If you have a look at, for instance the Killion Group website (http://thekilliongroupinc.com/) you’ll see right off the bat that there are lots of effects I could never get with my rudimentary skills. But for now, well, Seducing Adam is a non-gritty, non-erotic romance, and it doesn’t cry out for the bells and whistles.
Collage is fun, anyone can do it, and you’re creating your own, personalized art. Give it a try!