My April spreads were inspired by Kristin Kowalski Ferragut’s blog post, Ten Bedrock Poems. I found new poems, and rediscovered Mary Oliver’s A Summer Day.

The last two lines of this poem are often quoted, and ask a question I periodically examine: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” It’s so great to be reminded that our lives are wild and precious. That we have choices to make. And it’s a perfect question for bullet journalers, isn’t it? What we plan to do is in our bujos!

But as someone who’s already lived at least half a life, I find myself drawn to one of the questions that precedes these lines. The poet describes spending a day in nature, then says,

“which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?”

Mary Oliver, The Summer Day

I love the defiance in the question. Unspoken questions whisper from behind the poetic one: Are you going to judge me for what I’ve done? Are my choices not meeting your expectations?

Who’s asking the whispered questions? My defiant, defensive, insecure self probably. Throwing them at a world that sometimes feels hypercritical. But it’s not the world, really that I’m defending from. It’s the world’s voice in my head. The inner critic who has adopted every mean comment and snide remark collected over decades of living.

This month I am writing in bold letters and marking with bright colors in defiance of that inner critic. I’m too old for this, mean one. Go examine your own motives.


As I’ve been doing all year, I added a foldout cover for April. This time I glued in a piece of pale purple cardstock, which I folded in half. The outside is my cover, and is lettered with three lines of Mary Oliver’s poem.

cover spread with purple foldout


My reflection page uses the same format I’ve been using all year. A monthly log on the left records the most important thing (good or bad) that happens each day. The rest of the page will be filled out at the end of the month when I reflect on April’s experiences.

I used an old typewriter to type out many of the headers. They are neutral and small compared with the bold lettering I used for the poem. I like the balance of these two letter styles.

Projects and Trackers

The opened foldout contains my projects and habit trackers. They answer the question lettered across the top: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do”. The following line of the poems travels across the bottom of the spread.

Next to my project lists, I’ve included a writing tracker on the white portion of the page.

projects spread with trackers


Pretty simple, typical format for me with vertical weeks. I scattered circles throughout to mark the days. In the purple area to the right, I copied a longer excerpt from the same poem. It gives me a chance to reflect more deeply on the quotes if I want to.

April calendar

Weeklies and Dailies

Most of my weekly layouts are pretty simple, but I got a little carried away with this one, and I love it. It captures the spirit I’m carrying into April. My dailies are a simple play off the lettering and colorful circles. A neutral line provides a grounding base for each day.

my favorite weekly setup
running dailies—I go as long as I need to each day

Coming Up

Next week is spring break and Easter and my birthday, so I’m giving myself the week off from blogging. Hope you all have a wonderful two weeks. Keeping my fingers crossed for warming temperatures and greening trees.


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Kristin Ferragut
Kristin Ferragut
2 years ago

Oh, this is Beautiful, Mabel! Thanks for the shout-out! And I love that you pulled this quote, “which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?” out of Mary Oliver’s Poem. I often only think of that poem’s last 2 lines, but Yes! This is poignant. Happy Birthday Month!!

Thoughts on the creative process

Doses of everyday wonder

Mabel Ferragut self-portrait
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