“Take Care Of Your Little Notebook”

I’ve started keeping a pocket notebook. It’s not much – a point or a few about the day, usually about the boys or something I read.

I’ve started keeping a pocket notebook. It’s not much – a point or a few about the day, usually about the boys or something I read. Today included a Hemingway quote (or “Hemmingway” as I wrote. Ah well.).

I’m hoping the notebook will help me in a few ways:

  • Reflecting on the day and remembering the good things without having to Tweet or Facebook them
  • Getting back into the habit of writing more often
  • Providing myself a journal during my children’s formative years

I’ve always enjoyed notebooks. I have piles of them with a few pages written in here and there – parts of stories, meeting notes, grocery lists, contact information, dimensions of something. I’ve never been good about keeping up with any one notebook, either falling out of any habit in use or moving on to another shiny new book or for whatever reason.

I’ve been reading Austin Kleon’s blog again lately. It’s an old favorite that always inspires me but then I dismiss my own abilities when it comes to art or penmanship. But also a feeling that I don’t have a lot to say. Which isn’t true. More than a decade of social media use, seventeen (more or less) years of blogging, daily conversations with my wife and children, those are all thoughts and sayings and sharing that have moments worth chronicling in a way a bit more permanent and accessible than digitally.

Charles Simic wrote in The New York Review in 2011 to “Take Care Of Your Little Notebook“:

Inevitably, anyone, including its owner, perusing through one of these notebooks years or even months later, is going to be puzzled or embarrassed by many of the entries, surprised by others he has forgotten (like a glorious meal in a restaurant for which he took the trouble to itemize the dishes and their ingredients), and impressed by an occasional striking passage, which, lacking the quotation marks, he is not sure whether to attribute to himself or to someone far cleverer, funnier and more articulate, whom he happened to be reading at the time.

Same of course is true of a blog or social media postings, but paper just FEELS more lasting.

It’s also something that gets the eyes off the screen (I say as I thumb this out on my phone at 12:10 am – coffee after dinner was a bad idea). It helps commit things to memory a little bit better. And it’s a practice that I hope my boys will pick up because I want to encourage their imagination and reflecting on the world and their day. Which is all the more reason for me to strive harder to be consistent with it.

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