This is our first official challenge of the NYS Personal History Initiative. We're kicking it off with Signs of Summer! What makes you excited about summer? What are you looking forward to? Do you do anything special for the Summer months? Keep cool with some ice cream? Look for fun air-conditioned activities? Or maybe you love the heat and sit out by the community pool? We'd love to hear from you and learn what Summer means to New Yorkers!
After the start of NY Pause, when we all realized that our immediate futures included a lot of time at home, a lot of us began to search for ways to keep ourselves busy and pass the time. Some of us started to bake and share our triumphs (and failures) on social media. Some of us tried our hands at a new craft like knitting or embroidery. Some may have even used the time spent home to finally get to those home improvement projects we may have let slide.
Art journaling is a way to creatively express yourself using a combination of art and words. It doesn’t need to be complicated or perfect. You don’t need to be an artist to art journal. Spending just fifteen minutes a day jotting down thoughts and drawing, doodling, painting, or however else you’d like to express yourself is a great way to ease into the creative process.
Some ideas to try with art journaling:
A collaboration between the NYSL COVID-19 Personal History Initiative (PHI) and Summer Reading 2020 came together when State Library colleagues recognized the strong connection between young people documenting their personal history during the pandemic and the 2020 Summer Reading theme of folklore and fairy tales and telling your own story.
Creating a list is a quick way to organize your thoughts and fill a blank page. Lists may be finite or you can continue adding to them as you think of new things. You could fill an entire journal with lists or you may use lists to springboard into other, longer journal entries.
Some ideas for lists include
A common journaling exercise is to write a letter to yourself. It allows you a moment to think about where you are in your life, how you’ve gotten there and where you hope to be. If you find that you’re facing a blank page and aren’t sure what to write, consider composing a letter to yourself.
Some people may find it daunting to record their thoughts in long prose but poetry can offer a creative outlet to express thoughts and experiences.
Poetry as a way of recording historical moments has a long tradition. Some examples include “Million Man March Poem” by Maya Angelou and “Will V-Day Be Me-Day Too?” by Langston Hughes. Both poems highlight a moment in time and the authors’ thoughts about what that moment means to them as well as what those moments mean in a larger context.
This month as New York starts to re-open many of us are heading back to our offices and workspaces after two or three months of telecommuting or being furloughed. Most of us are encountering new safety measures, reduced staffing, and desks that seem like time capsules from the last time we saw them.
As we start this phase of re-opening some things you may wish to document in your journal are:
For future historians to know and understand this time in history it is vital that every voice possible is included. This is especially true for historically unheard voices. Your perspective is needed, your voice is important, your experiences will show a fuller picture of life in New York at this time.