I Am Here . . . Even When I’m Not

I’d always heard that the older you get, the faster time flies.

It’s true.

2014 was the year I wanted days filled with making (stitching); marking (writing); moving (walking), and laughing (enough said). I assigned each a color: orange for making; aqua for marking; red for moving; and purple for laughing. I kept my journal in a big 8.5 x 11 sketchbook, one for each quarter. The paper was most excellent – no bleed through at all – but it was big and it was heavy.

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My haptic and visual tracker for 2014, a cloth called Evidence, is not yet finished. It’s big and bulky, and I’m using my sewing machine for a change. Maybe one day soon I’ll be home long enough to finish it. Fingers crossed.

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Last week, I came across a 1959 desk diary. Unused. Because it’s for the food industry, the first 50-100 pages are shiny, glossy pages filled with recipes. I love the look of this book – filled with possibilities. Love the pebbly texture of the red cover. Love the quote at the bottom of each page. Love wondering about the person who owned it . . . and didn’t use it after the first 3 days. I wonder if I could fit my do’s and done’s on just one wide-ruled page.

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Then I spied this little jewel, a 1955 diary from Westinghouse Electric Supply. It’s possible my father-in-law was given one of these, seeing as how he was an electrical contractor. I wish us all a life that’s far bigger than this space allows for documentation.


I seem almost obsessed with creating a tangible legacy, with leaving some track of my existence. The more I am away from writing and stitching, the smaller and more insignificant I feel. The more time I spend tending to others, the more I disappear. I dread dying and having my tombstone say “She helped a lot of people”, leaving my kids to wonder who I really was. And then again, maybe I overestimate their interest in me. I keep a journal – be it digital, written, or stitched – to prove to myself I’m here. You can just call me Kilroy.


  1. Nancy

    I love your attempt at organizing the tracking of life. I could easily have these same thoughts, but I never follow through for long. And your ‘finds’ could have been mine!! Crazy the stuff that gets kept and how we reflect on what others may care to know of us.

    • whollyjeanne

      i wish i was a big enough person to say Pfffft to whether people will remember me or not, but i just am not. especially when it comes to my children. i worry about what stories they’ll tell – if they’ll tell any at all. sounds like i don’t have nearly enough to do, doesn’t it????

  2. judy martin

    she gave herself away

    that was something I clipped from some magazine and glued on a collage…but I didn’t and neither are you. Things will land in your lap one day…and you will have time. There will be time.

    and by the way – that fabric journal – record keeping cloth – is brilliant. xx

    • whollyjeanne

      from your lips, sugar. please keep reminding me. i feel like the pea buried under this ginormous stack of heavy (commercially-manufactured) blankets when i’m away from my writing and stitching this long. it’s as though i cease to exist. and i get panicky hearing the clock ticking. i love working on Evidence, but i do not like using my sewing machine. love the machine, (hugely) prefer hand stitching.

  3. Luna 's light

    I don’t want to mark my days with all the times I put myself last. I don’t want to be ordering and arranging my own funeral flowers, I want to be thought of with love, and I want someone to find the things I have made and wonder, ‘who put so much love into making this?’

    • whollyjeanne

      Thank you, Sugar. You always calm me down and open me up. Always. x

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