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Note to Self: On Keeping a Journal and Other Dangerous Pursuits Hardcover – July 22, 2008
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About the Author
Samara O'Shea is the author of For the Love of Letters: A 21st-Century Guide to the Art of Letter Writing as well as a blogger for The Huffington Post.
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Top Customer Reviews
She does give some questions to help you journal, but there's none of the 'how to pick a journal' stuff here. She assumes you can manage to pick up some paper and pen on your own without sage advice. In fact, she avoids the "Journal Guru" voice throughout the work. Instead of feeling that you're sitting at the Feet of the Master (as many journaling books tend to do), she's more like the good friend you haven't seen in a while dishing, no-holds-barred, about journaling and her life. (The feminist in me applauds the frankness of this little 'sistah-fest').
Because, oh yeah, you get a lot of her life in here. At times it verges more on memoir than journaling, but no one can accuse O'Shea of holding back or being shy. She ruthlessly exposes extracts from her own journals, and not-very-admirable episodes from her own life (including her decision to cheat on a boyfriend). You certainly come away from this book feeling as if you KNOW this woman, and that she learned to know herself through her journals. More, that you see parts of yourself in her.
So, part of the possible appeal of this book is 'whether or not you like Samara O'Shea.' I can only suggest you look at her other book, or browse this in a bookstore, to see if her personality appeals to you. (Or, publisher, *hint hint* put on a 'look inside' thingummy for this book!) Warning: If you're a hothouse flower, the references to drugs and sex might turn you off.Read more ›
Samara explains, "We collectively breathe a sigh of relief when we realize we are not alone in our thoughts, words, or deeds." From the start of the book, the reader feels as if Ms. O'Shea is sitting right across the room from you, sharing knowledge, laughs, and little snippets out of her life -maybe all over a pot of tea! She's not afraid to share with the world what she has learned from it in her time here. And best of all, she is encouraging us to look at our OWN path in life by keeping a journal.
"But I'm not the type to. . . " Okay, there's room for you folks who are not current journallers! Chapter 1 begins with reminding those of us who have bashed ourselves for not journalling the way you *thought* you would in that pie-in-the-sky preconceived notion you may have held at once point about what a journal should look like. Maybe it's at this point you gave up, but Samara is on the sidelines cheering you on to give it another go! There are chapters filled with advice on tapping into your own experiences to find something about which to journal. Samara encourages the reader to find his or her own personal connection to journalling. And hey, she admits, maybe the only connection you will ever get is pleasure in reading other people's journals. Well, pull up a comfy armchair, because Note To Self is chalked full of these . . .Read more ›
Sure, she gives a number of suggestions for possible areas to explore in a journal or diary--some that you might not have thought of, others that might have occurred to you but you dismissed as silly, juvenile, or dangerous. But the pith of the book is the insight on how a journal can illuminate our lives. O'Shea does this with specific examples, some from journals and diaries of famous writers, but mainly providing unexpurgated samples from her own journals throughout her life, along with reflections on how/why she wrote what she did.
At first blush, this might seem like a tactic that could end up producing a book that tells you a lot about O'Shea and why she keeps a journal, but precious little about why you might do the same. That's not the case. For those of us who might like the idea of journaling but haven't been able to get into it, O'Shea shows us that when it comes to journaling, anything goes. There is no right or wrong way. Even starting and stopping, ending up with erratic entries rather than dutifully making a daily record of ones thoughts is fine and dandy. The takeaway (at least for me) is that you can use your journal in any way(s) you want. Perhaps the only sin is to be dishonest with yourself, and O'Shea's numerous personal examples (and her willingness to share them publicly) make you feel much less self conscious about writing about anything in your own journal. Heck, if she can write about doing drugs and cheating on her boyfriend in her journal--and then publish it!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Note to Self has some great ideas for keeping your journal! I've been a struggling journal writer for years, following this book has really helped me stick with it!Published 15 months ago by Dave DeCoursey
I very much enjoyed reading O'Shea's book about journaling. She provides a frank, honest, and sincere approach to using writing to connect with yourself. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Bakari Chavanu
I almost never write reviews, but I had to for this book. I've kept a journal for three years, and I've read multiple books about journals. Read morePublished on December 12, 2012 by Sophia
great book. some of the things she writes and talks about are incredible. she holds nothing back when talking about the most personal and intimate details of her life. i appluad. Read morePublished on March 31, 2011 by John Crist
I always heard that journal writing was good for the body and the soul. People always said that journaling was a great way to deal with the stresses of everyday life. Read morePublished on November 9, 2010 by SW
Samara O'Shea has done it again with yet another fun and candid look at the world of writing. This time she gives us her take on journal writing, an art that sems to be fading away... Read morePublished on September 18, 2010 by Tim Dee J.
This isn't a book to gift unless you know your friend is okay with graphic sexual content and drug references. I did enjoy Ms. Read morePublished on November 9, 2009 by SAlaska
You'll love this book. A "Note to Self" is a beautifully written book that inspired me to start my own journal. Read morePublished on April 20, 2009 by K Book Rose
I have been an avid journaler for ten years, but had started to lose the passion for it. Reading Note to Self, renewed my love of journaling and made me remember why I... Read morePublished on March 30, 2009 by Lisa Lumpkin