My Cabinet of Curiosities by V. Mary Abraham

Credit: V. Mary Abraham is an author, consultant, facilitator, and fountain penthusiast. You can find her on Instagram at @vmaryabraham.

My Cabinet of Curiosities

Sometimes you seek a journal for a specific purpose: bullet journaling, memory keeping, creative writing, note taking. You know what you need from the journal and you have a pretty good idea of the kind of journal that will satisfy your needs. Once in a while, however, a special journal finds you. This starts a voyage of discovery as you uncover what that journal can elicit from you and what you can create together.When I first heard about the Onion Skin Journal, I was intrigued. But I honestly did not know what I would do with it. Its paper promised a completely different sensorial experience from the well-known Japanese papers coveted by penthusiasts: it absorbed and displayed ink differently, and it felt and sounded very different. It invoked nostalgia. Plus, its translucency gave partial views of other pages -- enabling a mysterious layering over time of words and pictures.Such an unusual journal deserved unusual content. So I decided to record in it any intriguing new ideas I encountered as I went through my days. This is how my Cabinet of Curiosities in a journal was born. Beginning in the 16th century, people of means collected the exotic and esoteric. They then stored and displayed their collection in a room sometimes called a cabinet of curiosities or a wonder room. According to the British Library, these wonder rooms "were small collections of extraordinary objects which, like today's museums, attempted to categorise and tell stories about the wonders and oddities of the natural world." Some collectors focused on objects made or modified by humans, while others collected wonders from nature. It all depended on the story they wanted to tell about the world.When I first opened my Onion Skin Journal, I decided to use it as a tool to help me see life differently. In fact, the first entry is a quote from Jonathan Swift: "Vision is the art of seeing things invisible." I was looking for new ideas and fresh insight.I had no rule except that the journal should contain subjects that piqued my interest. For example, one entry focuses on the power of dopamine in our bodies while another explores our relationship with time. As the pages fill, my journal has become a window into some passing fancies and abiding fascinations. It shows how my questions have changed and how my thinking has grown. This is more than memory keeping for me. It is a rich treasure house of my own making, shaped by my curiosities and filled with the insights of others, which in turn unlock new insights of my own.  My cabinet of curiosities is a captain's log of my voyage of discovery.How do you explore your passing fancies and abiding fascinations? How do you record the results of your explorations? And what does that record say about you?Try creating a cabinet of curiosities in a special journal. I think you'll be delighted by the you it helps uncover.
Copyright 2023 by V. Mary Abraham.  Use only with permission.

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