My Strange Pull: The Original Journal


Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”

— Rumi

My Strange Pull

I have been pulled towards The Original Journal for twenty years. I have been collecting signatures from people for two decades.  If you don’t know this about me, I ask random people I meet to sign my journal. I tell them there are three things they need to know before they sign it:

1. There’s a Front Door – Rated PG13

2. There’s a Back Door – Not Rated

3. There’s no rules!

I guess you could say The Original Journal is a living journal, scrapbook and a yearbook all rolled into one with two ways to enter the book — through the front and the back of the book. Like a house, a front door is for more formal introductions and meetings and a back door is more familiar, uncensored, and messy. The back door usually has a screen door letting in fresh air.

I just can’t let The Original Journal go. It won’t let me go!  I have to see this through to publication.  I am in the process right now of finding a printer.  Each printer I talk to tells me it is a complicated printing job. I will have to find a specialty printer.  I don’t want to give up the tape binding like a typical composition notebook. I want The Original Journal to feel like a composition notebook, but of course it will have special elements to it to induce and provoke creativity, journaling, and musings.  There will a selection of quotes from other original journal signers (there are hundreds of journals with thousands of signatures and many pearls of wisdom from ordinary folks). The first edition will include 50 quotes — 20 Front Door quotes and 20 Back Door quotes, along with 10 of my personal favorites.  I can’t wait to get this journal to press.

Trusting My Gut (Business Instinct)

As I have gone through this process, I have had to be flexible and let go of things I have clutched tightly to for a long time. For example, the black and white marble design that I have been using for the last seven years has been let go. I worked with a talented graphic designer, who is also the sister of my best friend from childhood. Their father is an commercial artist in the Chicago area (where I grew up). “Arch” was also my soccer coach as a kid. He would Ginger and me into the city to create in his industrial size studio where large billboard size canvases stretched across thousands of square feet of creation space. It was so exciting to go into Chicago from the suburbs to paint and explore creatively on weekends.  These excursions planted a seed of creativity and art for me. Arch has worked for Disney and many other companies. I remember the feeling of freedom paired with splats of color and creation. It made me giddy (perhaps it was the paint fumes). I love creating and it is a natural high for me. My best work is done late at night when the house is quiet and night offers her blank canvas.

It was serendipitous that I connected with Julia (my best friend’s older sister). Ginger (best friend fro childhood) and I had many adventures as children and many funny memories. Ginger has the most contagious laugh I have ever heard.

I had to trust my gut (what I have been calling my business instinct) when someone (before I connected with Julia) offered to create a logo for me and it was not working.  I did not feel this person understood my vision for my company logo or The Original Journal. I have to say it was a great thing that I trusted my gut. Now I have a logo and cover design I really like and I think you will too. The logo and cover designs have gone through revisions and adjustments but it is really close to being finished. It’s amazing how many split-the-atom decisions have to be made when designing something. Detail. Detail. Detail.

Kickstarter Video

As you know, if you follow The Original Journal or my other social media channels (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) you know that I have been working with a videographer on a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to print the first edition of The Original Journal. It was very serendipitous how I met Jah-mul. He is from New York City. One of the first interactive original journals I made was The New York Journal that I made for my first trip to NYC. I actually got reprimanded for zoning out at a boring literacy training I was attending as a teacher. I was so excited about my trip and went a little ADHD with the glue stick, markers, scissors, and creative supplies that were on the table, but that is another story and probably another seed of how The Original Journal came to be).

Cover of The New York Journal (Front Door cover). This journal was created in 1998

Cover of The New York Journal (Front Door cover). This journal was created in 1998

No doubt about it - I am a right brained brainiac.

No doubt about it – I am a right brained brainiac.

Jah-mul and I hit it off after a professor at a local college suggested him because of his creativity and talent in videography.  I am really excited to see what the video will look like. I have enjoyed working with Jah-mul and I see a bright future for him as a film maker. I started The Original Journal in college so it is interesting to work with a college student on the Kickstarter video. I will keep you posted when I launch the campaign. I wanted to launch the video on Summer Solstice, but I may have to launch it closer to July or August as I am still searching for the right printer. I am getting my right brain ducks in a row so they form a beautiful left brain formation.

ducks in a row

When Can You Purchase The Original Journal?

I wish I had the answer to this question!  I am hoping the journals will be available for pre-orders by August and Back to School. If they are available for Back to School, it will be closer to the end of August. But in reality, I don’t think I will have them ready until September.  I will keep you posted. It looks like the printing issue will be resolved this summer as I am still researching printers to find the right printer.  It is very exciting to be moving into this next phase of the project as see it go from project to product.  I am also in the process of finding a website designer as I need to set up an e-commerce site. If you know of anyone, please shoot me an email. But please no spam. I take personal recommendations from people I know very seriously and enjoy working with people I have a personal connection to.

Adapting and Letting Go

This process of setting up a small business and taking an idea that has floated in the right brain down to the left brain field has been a discovery process. I have had to let go of certain things. It was hard at first, but I am seeing the bigger picture.


The bigger picture is unlocking doors and unblocking myself from my own issues related to success and failure. I have been ding some soul searching on things that get in my way. And I am one of them. I have an Upper Limit Problem, which I am working on. I have had to let go of perfectionism which is really a way to set up a giant roadblock on the path to success. It would be more of a failure if I didn’t see the publication of this project through. I am prepared to fail and learn from it, but the success lies in getting it done. It’s really scary pursuing the dream that lives in the deepest pocket of your heart, but in the process I have realized that I am creating a product that will help people do exactly that. And I am so excited to tell you about the special parts of the journal that help you focus on your inner heart pocket dream. This exciting component to the journal will be revealed closer to publication. I had an aha moment late one night when I was working through some kinks to the design and it hit me.  It’s the core of the vision for my company and for The Original Journal.

What exciting projects are you working on and what fears are you working through as you go after them? I’d love to hear from you.

Photo taken in Canterbury, England 2014

Sit down and dream a little…                                                    Photo taken in Canterbury, England 2014


"Follow your heart and you will never fail." - Stacey @ Moonstruck from "The Original Journal Project."

“Follow your heart and you will never fail.” – Stacey @ Moonstruck from “The Original Journal Project.”


Carry love in your heart; you will have a lighter load. ~ memomuse

Carry love in your heart; you will have a lighter load. ~ memomuse

You are perfect.

You are perfect.


Megan Oteri © All Rights Reserved memomuse.wordpress.comHope. Wish. Dream. Be.

Megan Oteri © All Rights Reserved
Hope. Wish. Dream. Be.


Grace -- from the Original Journal

Grace — from the Original Journal Project

Kahlil Gibran on Love

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.