Journaling Exercise: "I Want"--

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A long time ago, in the era of my life where I was journeying within to figure myself out, I read several books by SARK, a gypsy free-spirit artist who writes books that affirm and empower women. To this day, I credit her writing for much of my foundational creative philosophy.

One of the journaling exercises she spoke of that captured my imagination and became a recurring event in MY journal was the game called "I Want". She says, "I write the things 'I want' and then let wild imaginings make things up." In her sample list, the third thing she listed was "red rubber rain boots". And the moment I read those words, I wanted them too. Years later, I STILL yearn for a pair of red rubber rain boots. And over the years, as I write my "I Want" Lists, this item usually makes it on there, somewhere.

As I have created these lists over the years, I have found interesting things out-- first, if the list is long enough, by the end you are really writing some authentic things. And often, by the end of the list, you realize you don't just want material things. It is an eye-opening exercise.
Th other interesting thing I've come to realize is that these lists don't create an emptiness as I focus on all the things I don't have but want--- but rather, it feels good to be honest, to tell myself the truth about my desires... and in the end, I usually find at least one thing on that list I can go out and GET or achieve, and suddenly, the rest of the wants are okay for a bit longer.

Anyway.... My friend Gen recently wrote an "I Want" list of her own, and it made me smile and I knew it was time for a new list of my own here. I have not thought about this in advance... I'm just gonna free-style it, which is they way you SHOULD do it. If this exercise inspires you, I would love to read any lists you guys create and blog about. Just let me know in the comments where to find you!

I Want:
more time to sew, now that I am getting better at it
a summer house in Italy
all my dear friends to live on the same block so we can hang out easily but still maintain our everyday lives
to meet Pioneer Woman
to never make typos ever again
a small storefront to run my small business out of
turquoise walls
a fastenator
to be 25 pounds lighter. Or more.
to run a cupcake shop with Melanie
to remember how to ski
my farmhouse with the bunkhouse and refurbed barn and a creek and rolling hills
to live in the LOTR movies. Probably Hobbiton.
to be couples friends with Ben and Jennifer Affleck
a nose piercing
pink streaks again
to skinnny dip sometime in my life
more space for my stuff, especially art supplies
a Canon 5D Mark II
to learn how to do Carrie Sandoval's b&w conversion
to go back to Italy with just Joe, for more than one week
to be caught up on photo albums/books
Macaroni Grill salmon
Mary and Beckie back in St. Louis
to scrapbook again, just a little
to go to an art festival or flea market
perfect jeans
heels not to hurt when you wear them too long
to go to a matinee movie today
a great dane
built-in bookshelves
a fairy tea party (I miss that Maggie from long ago)
to be in a musical
to sing in a bluegrass band
my own workshop

....Oh I could go on and on.... But you know what? I am OKAY. I have so much, and I love my little life just as it is. I don't need or want designer clothes or a new car or fame or anything else... I have my little attic apartment, I have my beautiful son, I have my incredible husband..... And I get to be creative. And active. And social. And I try to learn and grow all the time. So.... Anything from the above list would be icing. Just icing. But I already have the whole cake.

Oh, and I did forget to add the last thing:

I Want:

red rubber rain boots.

(Love these lists.)


  1. hey. i'm a friend of Ashley that blog stalks you. I love your down to earth, very real writing style and your photography and creative mastermind. i meant to comment when i saw the museum post with ash and her girls and forgot, then i meant to comment on the sock monkey t-shirts (love these! my son is obsessed with his sock monkey just like that), and didn't.

    so alas i'm forcing myself to say hi.
    because i like when blog stalkers reveal themselves.
    love your list.
    skinny dipping is the bomb. i've done it in lake powell in the dark with the moonlight reflecting off the rocks and water. definitely recommend that one:) now who i did it with? that's my secret

  2. I bet all of us girls on ELW can get you some red rain boots, I mean, it's the least we could do. :)

    And you must skinny dip at some point... it's quite liberating. :)

  3. Judie4:29 PM

    Great list, Em! And one of mine... to finally meet the fabulous you one of these days!

  4. Oooh, YOUR list is better! I love its length and now I want to do another one with little things as well as BIG wants...
    I love great danes. I want one too...and a little dog, for them to be funny together.
    What heaven it would be to all live on your sun-dappled gorgeous street, with little trips to Straub's every so often for ice cream, or dip babies into the fountain on our way to Euclid...
    Also, built-in bookshelves. A MUST for whatever house we find ourselves in. I want to measure all my books so they'll be arranged according to size, then alphabetically by author.
    How I could go on about how similar your list would be to mine! (Except the salmon part.)
    ~aforementioned Gen

  5. P.S.? Laura Bramon just went to London and fell in LURVE with fastenators!

  6. I'll have to think about my "I want" list. I do know that I loved the whole cake and icing analogy. It was a good way of looking at life. The basic fundamentals are the cake, and everything else is just the icing that makes it better.

    Nice job... as usual, you got me thinking!

  7. Jen - Flumom1:11 AM

    Em - That is great, and you have inspired me to write my own. I'll post a link to it later, when I get it done. ;)

  8. You know, I love that you want a farmhouse with a barn and a creek and rolling hills. I remember growing up, I always thought you the more sophisticated type, the kind who would live in a fancy big city in a fancy big apartment and love it (and maybe you would, if that's where life led you), but I love that you prefer a quaint farmhouse in the beautiful countryside (I want that, too...).
    Also, I love the idea of the red rubber rain boots. You know what that reminds me of? Do you remember that story about the little lion names Johnny who longs for rubber rain boots (either red or orange- I forget) so he can play in the rain? And finally his dad comes home and surprises him with the boots he's wished for? I used to love that story...

    Ah...I think I will have to do one of these wish lists myself!

    Happy Easter!

  9. I want....

    to make a list just like the one you made.

    to meet you in person one of these days (Judie too).

    to be as cool as you! LOL

  10. I really want rain boots too.

  11. I don't have anything important to add. Your list just made me want to comment. And that's rare. So here's my comment.

    I am glad to have found you again after all these years.

    I hope you get your rainboots.

  12. I want to go make a list! I love this and am quite inspired at the moment to go make a journal page.....Thank you!

  13. OK, so I just found your blog...and I love it! Your photography is gorgeous. I have to admit, I have some blog-envy--bloggers seem to have so much more fun in life than the rest of us! Even going to get Starbucks seems glamorous, creative and fun when you read it on a blog!

    Love the "I Want" list...and I had forgotten about those fun books by Sark..yay!

    Hope all is well--I'll have to check out your blog from time to time to bring me smiles!

    It was fun to see you, Noah and Joe at the pediatrician's a few weeks ago. Have a great spring!

  14. this is one of the coolest post's i've ever read from you... i love it. a little list of dreams. perfect. beautiful. refreshing.

  15. I made my list. You know where to find it. You're inspiring as always. Love ya!


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