Thursday, May 29, 2014

Shane Couch: Addicted & Not Seeking Treatment

Hello, fellow notebook and journal addicts. My name is Shane Couch and I have been keeping a journal since January 1, 1991. I think the two things that prompted me to start journaling was the start of a new year and the fact that I had a blank notebook lying around. Thus, I wrote the word "journal" on it and began my journey. Here is my collection as of three or so years ago. I have filled 56 journals and do not start a new one until the current one is complete. You can see the notebook that started it all in the upper left hand corner of the pic below, the gold, plain covered one.


Here they all are (well, most of them), in my bedroom. My mom gave me this antique corner bookshelf when I moved out on my own and it makes the perfect home for my journals. 


I mostly write in my journals so I prefer them ruled. I like to record memorable moments, funny and poignant things my kids say, prayers, things I've learned and mistakes I've made, all chronicling my life and leaving my legacy for my kids to read about when I'm gone. The following pics are of some work I did while participating in a cross country journal swap sponsored by Rhodia. Twelve of us were selected to fill six pages of a notebook they sent each of us, and then mail it to the next participant until the original was returned to its owner. It was quite an experience. I just got mine back a year and a half later than planned, but here is some of what I contributed.


I loved making these collages out of old comic books. If you can't tell, I'm a huge super hero fan specifically the 70's and early 80's era. 


Here's a cherished piece of my childhood. 


And another collage including some of the advertisements found in comic books at the time. Can you find O.J. Simpson???


And here's a shot of the books in addition to my collection above that are waiting for me to get my hands on them. I love me a retro superhero journal and Peanuts characters come in a close second. The Peanuts books below I bought online, though they were produced in the late 90's and are now extremely hard to find.  Most people are asking for a pretty penny for them, but with some earnestness and bargaining skills, I acquired! The Pigpen one is my favorite and is the next journal in line once I finish my current one. The Disney Store is also a great source for journals. They put out a lot in a year, usually coordinating with whatever new movie is in theaters. They go on clearance quickly because there's always something new coming out of Disney. Both The Jungle Book and Monsters University journals were bargain priced.


My kids once filled out a questionnaire for Father's Day and one of the questions was, "What would make a good gift for your Dad?" All three of them said, "A journal." 

Shane Couch is a husband, father, and pastoral counselor. He lives in Santa Clara, CA with his wife and three children. He is clearly addicted to journals and currently not seeking any treatment.  You can find more of his writing at If This Couch Could Speak.

In honor of Shane's amazing collection of journals, I will give away this Rhodia pocket web notebook to one commenter on this post.  Please leave your comment by Sunday, June 15 to have your name entered into the drawing.

11 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed this post. First the sheer number of filled journals--wow! Seeing all the different cover designs was great to. I find that a nice looking, well made journal can make writing in it a lot easier (sometimes).

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  2. I really enjoyed what you said about leaving a legacy for your children to remember! I love the topics that you add to your journal ... and, if I was really honest, I may or may not really enjoy Marvel & DC characters myself ;) ... but don't tell anyone! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Be proud of your fondness for superheroes! We all need(ed) heroes in our lives.

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  3. I love that you've made this collection for so long, and kept it! You didn't say, but do you ever go back to re-read some of the passages, maybe transfer some parts you want to re-visit? I love doing that with my older ones. I never thought of going to Disney for a journal, new idea for me? Thanks for sharing your journaling life.

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    1. Linda, I do often go back and read my past journals. I'm thankful I have grown up as I see who I was back in the days. Thankful for growth. It's funny, I can write about some things in great detail, but when I go back and read the account, I can't remember that event happening at all! At least it's documented! If you are a Disney fan and a journal addict, the Disney Store is the place to go. They usually put our journals with a new m ovie release or even something being re-released on DVD. They have a really cool Maleficent one out now if you're a fan.

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  4. Wow, I am impressed that you've been able to keep a journal for sooo long! I am trying but am not having much luck. :-(

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  5. Your collection of journals is impressive! I really like the drawings and artwork. I'm still feeling my way into my journals so I haven't really done anything similar. I hope to start incorporating art into my journals when I'm more comfortable with them. Right now it's all just written word and occasionally taping something onto a page.

    @Architeuthis2013 I've found the trick to keeping a journal is to specifically set aside the time for it. In my case, for example, I usually get to work about a half hour early and use that time to write in my journal, and then just pick it up again during the day when and if I have the time, but the first half hour in the morning is pretty much set in stone. This is one of those things, in my opinion, where you have to make the time and specifically set it aside or it won't get done.

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  6. I'm so impressed that you finish all of your journals! That is my biggest problem i never finish them. Nice collection!

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  7. @Architeuthis2013: I started journaling and keeping idea notebooks on a whim earlier this year after I sworn them off in annoyance of failing the nth attempt. The big secret? Forget all about perfection. It's the biggest roadblocks. Messy handwritings and stray thoughts should be welcomed. Don't even think of organization and such until you're comfortable with the act of writing itself. It takes time, but at last I can sit well with the idea that a good journal is one you fill with edges, smiles, and whims of life instead of the pristine blanks.

    Shane, thank you for sharing this. Ever since I discovered the joy of journaling, I spend time to read about other notebook addicts like the ones featured here and Notebook Stories blog. They help me feel 'normal', stop doubting myself, and let loose in celebrating the wonder of paper and pen. Do your kids journal as well?

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  8. I am always trying to get my friends to do this kind of thing, but they always flake out.

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  9. Lisa, my kids start and stop, off again, on again. I just picked up one of my eldest daughter's notebooks off the living room floor and she was quick to snatch it away from me, so there must be something juicy recorded in there. My son mostly draws in his, but all three of my kids have had multiple journals over the years, and when they discard them, I fish them out of the trash and tuck them away!

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