One of the things I bought from Amazon this week was a Mod Black Smash Book. Every time I’d see Liz Lamoreaux mention her Smash books on her blog, I immediately started coveting… I just hadn’t pulled the trigger on buying one of my own because I was avoiding making extraneous purchases until quite recently.
It’s basically a journal for scrapbookers. Instead of having lined or blank paper like your average journal, it’s got lots of different fancy patterned pages in it, and it comes with a pen that has a glue stick on the other end. Being sort of enamored with the whole art journal idea, I figured that getting one of these might be a good way to stick a baby toe into it. The only way I’ve ever journaled before is in a linear fashion, and I’ve always been all weird about doing things like drawing or writing things in big letters or pasting things in. The Smash book leans itself really well to get out of that liner mindset… Most of the pages are different, so if you want you can just pick a background that speaks to you and work off from there.
So, I was pretty excited to get my hands on this book and start journaling and pasting things into it, and I had big plans! My book was going to be totally as awesome as all of the people who’d submitted to the Smash Stories Blog.
When I finally got it, I found myself flipping through it and looking at all of the pages in awe, and then started feeling a pit of dread in my stomach. Despite the fact that the outside of the book seems to be covered with encouragements to use the book how you like and how there’s no right and no wrong, I found myself seriously intimidated. How was I possibly going to make my book as awesome as the books I’d seen on the Internet? My handwriting sucks. I don’t have a gigantic stash of scrapbooking papers at my disposal. What if I write something stupid? I couldn’t bring myself to do anything with it. If I’d been left to my own devices, it’d probably be left untouched indefinitely while I tried to convince myself that I wasn’t going to ruin it by writing in it.
However, while I was agonizing about these things I also happened to be explaining to James what a Smash book was, and when I got to the part where I admitted that I was afraid to deface it and he just said, “Give me that,” and grabbed a sharpie and started writing in it, and when he finished, he handed it back and was all, “Now, you don’t have to be afraid of starting.”
I looked at what he’d written and a fleeting moment of frustration at how imperfect it looked on the page. His uneven text askew over the top of the page, and another piece written with the book turned upside down… but despite the frustration regarding the imperfection, he was right… I wasn’t afraid of writing in the book anymore because I didn’t have anything to lose anymore. His handwriting might be imperfect and he might choose to write something unevenly on a page differently than I would, but it wasn’t wrong. It just was. So, I picked up my pen and started writing and reassured myself not to be scared.
I’ve made lots of mistakes already with it. I keep spelling things wrong when I write in the book. Most embarrassingly, I spelled something wrong when I was starting to decorate the cover which I didn’t really have room to make a nice recovery with… but, I’ve realized the past few days that this is going to be an exercise in patience and in letting go of perfection. In twenty years from now, I’ll look back on this book and smile… Happy that we took the time to capture some of the memories and I won’t care that our handwriting sucks or that I can’t spell worth a damn.