Harvesting Your Journals:
Writing Tools to Enhance Your Growth and Creativity

by Rosalie Deer Heart and Alison Strickland

Heartlink Publications, San Cristobal NM, 1999. ISBN 0965157628.
Reviewed by Cassandra Jacobs
Posted on 01/08/2001

Nonfiction: Creative Life

Have you ever wondered what to do with those stacks of old journals you've been keeping under your bed or hidden in the back of your closet? Of course, all of us dip into our journals from time to time, pondering our old passions and marveling at our personal ancient history. What we don't do, unfortunately, is to work systematically with our journals. That's what Harvesting Your Journals is all about—a guide to help you "harvest" the experiences, hopes, dreams, and plans you have jotted down over the years, a way to help you map your life changes and gain a clearer sense of who you are. As you review your own journals, this book will help you strengthen your understanding of your own personal history and map the turning points of your journey.

I liked this book for several reasons. The first was the helpful advice the authors offer for "stepping into" our journals and examining our past lives. "You'll be encountering parts of yourself that can then be gathered in to make you more whole," they say, and suggest that we maintain a committed, curious, humorous, and compassionate attitude toward these old selves. They invite us to look to our journals for themes (such as body image, friendships, dreams, aging), questions (What accounts for love? How do I nourish my soul in the midst of life's demands?), and motifs (forgotten dreams, key turning points, times when you broke your silence and spoke your truth). I also like it because it is such a deeply personal book. The authors share not only their journals but also their deep friendship, and as a reader, I felt strengthened by both.

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