I have kept these journals for years—as I wandered the dusty streets and marketplaces of Central America, as I travelled across Siberia. I wrote in them when I lived in Paris and when I was under house arrest in Havana. On the inside cover I always write “Reward,” but I have never lost one, though once in Spain a young man raced off a train to give a journal back to me and I kissed his hand. And on the Vltava in Prague a boat vendor accepted one as collateral so my daughter and I could rent a pedalboat.
Mainly these are working journals, but inside of them I also keep a diary and paint. I cut and paste boarding passes, snapshots, local flora. What happens around me, what is said. The bizarre, the inane, the weather, the everyday. I write it all down here. I jot in the margins and paint the pages in the colors of my moods. I almost never keep them at home, but when I am on the road I am working in them nonstop.
From Mary Morris, The River Queen: A Memoir (2007).