Habits | Poetry | Writing

The Magic of Single Line Journaling

“find beauty in each day
a small beauty works fine

bask in it
then let it go

other beauty awaits you”
– Kat Lehmann, Stones from the River

Last night I finished my fourth book in four days. That sounds like I’m reading a book a day, which is inaccurate. No, I’m merely whittling down the stack of books read throughout this year at around the same time. But I’m pleased to close them each out. When I read on the Kindle app I then go back and review the highlights once again, just to understand the salient points to make sense of the whole. No great surprise to anyone: some of those highlighted passages end up in this blog.

If you take the micro poem by Lehmann and insert the word “book” where “day” is, well, you get an entirely different micro poem, and yet very much the same. Or insert “journey” or “conversation” or “decision” where “day” currently resides and… you get the point. There’s magic in words, and our choice of words.

But to stay with the original word just a bit longer, I established this habit of writing down a summary of each day in one line in a journal. Sometimes this isn’t easy when all you did in a day was write a blog post, work and eat a pizza for dinner. But other entries offer more emphatic moments of consequence. I start/stopped this habit early in the year, and then it became an every day thing in June. I’d say six months officially makes it a habit.

This micro poem sums up the exercise quite well. Find something notable or beautifully commonplace that occurred in a day and write it down in one line. And like a micro poem there’s joy in its simplicity. You only have one line. Write small if you will, but get right to the point. What happened? What did you do? What was the beauty you found in this day? One line.

As with re-reading the highlights in a Kindle book I look back on months of single line entries and I see moments come alive again. Celebrations, mountains climbed, loved ones lost, friendships rekindled, and yes, an occasional pizza. I’m grateful for having written it all down. One line, for one day, at a time. For there’s magic in those words.

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