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International Fake Journal Month

March 29, 2009

Makingit-upFlat
Left:
Buster, as the poster dog for IFJM. This is button art I put together for the event. I had hoped to post eight 3-inch button variations at Cafe Press for people, who like me, enjoy t-shirts and buttons to announce events. Unfortunately it was not clear to me when I set up at Cafe Press that only one item could be posted at a time, without upgrading to a “paid” shop status. That’s a bit overkill for this project. Consequently the Buster button and one or two other designs will rotate through the month so that I can purchase them. If you want one you know where to go. (Buster is a short-haired dachshund of my acquaintance.)

NOTE: My post on IFJM is about to fall off my “recent posts” list as I make this page. I want people to be able to find information about IFJM and creating a page that will always appear in the “page” listings seems the easiest way to do this. I will update this page with links to other posts about this event. Please scroll to the bottom of this post to read those updated links.

What Is International Fake Journal Month?
Basically
it’s a free pass to put anything in a journal that you might not
otherwise put in. At least that’s one way to see it. From April first
to April 30, you are encouraged to keep a fake journal different from,
or outside of your regular visual journal.

Take on a new persona,
alter ego, or be the same person you are now, except in an alternate
universe. Maybe you are a cat person and always draw cats, well for
April you’ll start a fake journal and just draw birds, with a passion,
as if they were the most important animal on the planet. (You can of
course continue drawing cats in your real journal, if it suits you.) The
only catch is that you need to date your entries in present time, as
you complete them, i.e., April 1, 2009, 8 p.m., April 3, 2009, 4 a.m.,
and so on. Oh, and it has to be a self-contained journal, not your
regular journal (that’s two catches).

Maybe you want to live somewhere else? Well make a daily journal as
if you are already there. It may mean that you’ll need to draw from
your imagination a lot because things won’t be in front of you, but
there are ways around that. Go to an antiques store or thrift shop and
draw those items incorporated in a new reality. Or draw them as your
daily drawing activity and make up stories about them.

Perhaps
you are always working in pencil. Now is the time to become that artist
who always works in pen, just go for it. Or if you are always image
heavy in your journal, spend some time writing, pages and pages.

Why?
because it’s fun, that’s why. And how often in life to you get a free,
no guilt, no shame, just go for it pass on making things up (after the
age of 3 of course)?

How Did International Fake Journal Month Get Started?
I founded International Fake Journal Month in 2001. It went sort of like this:

In
2000 I kept two journals. My regular journal and the journal I was
keeping as part of the Minnesota Journal Project 2000. It made me think
a lot about journals in general and my journals in particular. (Created
a little bit of a crisis actually, keeping two journals.) I spent a lot
of time (more than at any other time in my life) with other folks who
kept journals. It was actually rather odd! I went from being the only
person in the room with a journal to being one of many dozen (depending
on the event) drawing away in my journal. (There were 46 participants
in the journal project, but they were rarely together all at one time.)

Well, my thoughts led to other thoughts and I decided that it
would be interesting to keep a fake journal. My good friend Linda
humored my lunacy in 2001 by designing official pins for me. (They are
still great conversation starters.)

Every year since then I’ve
let other people know, nudged them into mendacity. Some past students
have taken up the call in various years, but it’s still a small
movement. I figure now that I have a blog I can push a little harder,
reach a few more people.

Why Participate in International Fake Journal Month?
If
you have to ask why then maybe it isn’t for you. Maybe you haven’t ever
wondered what your life would have been if you had entered the Peace
Corps or become White House Press Secretary like you planned? Maybe you
don’t want to explore the day to day thoughts of the inventor of
Never-fade Flavor-packed Chewing Resin (patent pending).

But if like me you are always wondering, “what if?” then it makes perfect sense.

Where
else can you have so much fun for only the cost of a journal and a few
art supplies? (Well OK, you can have that much fun simply keeping your
regular journal, but this is different!)

What Are the Costs and Benefits of Participating in International Fake Journal Month?
The
costs are minimal: some sort of journal and some art supplies. You
don’t have to go to the place your persona lives, you don’t have to
live his life, you just have to jot it down. Buy the cheapest over-
the-counter journal you can find (you only have to live with it for a
month) and a pencil and you’re all set. Or get a hardbound book with
sewn signatures and make an altered book journal for the month. (See an
example of an altered book journal here.)

The only real cost in this fake endeavor is your time. And you have to do something entertaining with that anyway right?

As
for the benefits—they should already be springing to mind. Freedom to
play, experiment, explore (especially if you can’t get away right now
because of work, health, or the “Economy”), and an opportunity to toss
things up.

When we take a moment to take our habits and jostle
them up a bit, what shakes out is self-knowledge. Are we obsessive, are
we happy, what would make us happy? All sorts of insights pop up when
we give our brain the happy little task of fabrication.

Also,
keeping a Fake Journal is non-threatening (and mentally
hypo-allergenic!) because if you don’t like a page, it doesn’t matter,
it isn’t your journal anyway, RIGHT? (It’s about letting go. It will
drive your internal critic crazy!)

Come on folks, make this the
best April ever for International Fake Journal Month! (Sure it starts
on April Fool’s day, but it isn’t an April Fool’s day joke. That’s why
I’m telling you about it now, so you can get ready to go!) A page now and then, in a journal designated for the purpose, just through April. Could anything be more simple?

I’ll
write more about IFJM (International Fake Journal Month) as April moves
along. And the April 9th contest will relate, so check back.

I hope you’ll join me.

Life’s so short, why live only one?

IFJMTypographyPIN
Left: The official IFJM do-it-yourself button. In honor of Linda’s
encouragement I have created a typographic pin image very like the
original IFJM pin from 2001. You have my permission to move the image
at the left to your computer desktop, change the resolution to 300 dpi
and it should size down to 2 x 1 inches. Print it out on your printer,
glue it to some matboard, trim it using the corner crop marks, and
attach a jewelry pin back on it. Then wear it proudly in support of
IFJM! You probably already have matboard around the house, and glue,
and will just need a pin-back. Heck, if you really don’t want to spend
any money just take a safety pin and put it on the back of your “pin”
rectangle. Then place a bit of ribbon or fabric over the pin leaving
the “moving arm” outside of the ribbon. Glue that ribbon in place to
the cardboard. The working arm of the pin will still move freely.
You’ve got a pin. Go for it. (Note: black matboard makes the most
elegant looking pin because the sides are black. If you like bling you
could edge the rectangle with a metallic gold pen!)

[End of the original post]

Additional Posts Relating to International Fake Journal Month

Please visit the Official International Fake Journal Month Blog for image postings throughout April, and into May as the contest wraps up. Posting at that site from June through February will likely be light, until things pick up in March 2010 in preparation for next year’s celebration.

March 23, 2009 Update on Cafe Press Buttons, provides just that.

March 25, 2009 Just in Time for International Fake Journal Month, reviews a field sketchbook with water resistant pages that might interest you as a possible journal for your participation.

March 29, 2009 New Blog for International Fake Journal Month, announces the creation of a new blog to post any contest entries and other related journal work. The new blog link appears at the top of this update list.

April 1, 2009, How to Have a Successful International Fake Journal Month, reminds you of the two “rules” and provides some tips on getting started and getting along.

April 3, 2009, First Page Spread in My International Fake Journal Month Journal, show the first spread of this journal as well as some comments about what materials I’m using. The text from the page spread is typed out at the end of the post in case you can’t read the messy writing, and in that sense you can get a bit of a taste of the person keeping the journal.

April 9, 2009, Celebrating Six Months of Daily Posts: An IFJM Contest, outlines the rules for a contest to celebrate IFJM! The deadline is May 1, 2009, 12 noon Central Standard Time.

  1. Reply

    a wonderful idea!

    here’s mine:
    http://gluttonamb.blogspot.com/

    • Christina Trevino.
    • May 1, 2011
    Reply

    I just read “What Was She Thinking?—Roz’s 2011 Fake Journal Explained” and I think that conk to your head…. better not say.

  2. Reply

    Christina, I’d like to think that it is all due to the conk on the head, but sadly this behavior is all pre-existing! And of long standing! But Wait, there’s more–more to come that is. Even though the fake journal for 2011 is finished the experience for me this year is not yet over! Check back on that blog around the end of May or so.

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