Covers of my diaries, 2017-2018. (Related: Paper monuments to human effort.)
From a writeup of a talk by John Muir Laws on nature journaling:
For each thing you record, note these three things:
Awareness: “I see…”: You notice something, draw a picture of it, make notes about it
Creativity: “It reminds me of…” (or more simply “IRMO”): You consciously seek out analogies to what you’ve seen and make notes about those
Curiosity: “I wonder…”: You ask questions or create hypotheses about what you’ve seen.
I received an email this morning with the subject line: “Austin, you’re invited to re-live the mid-90s.” In 1996 I was 13, living in the middle of a cornfield in Ohio, and my parents were getting a divorce, so as crummy as everything is now, HARD PASS. (Above: my middle school notebook, circa ’96.)
My notebook vs. my father-in-law’s, left out on the kitchen table.
Seeing the two side-by-side reminded me of a few months ago when I was visiting my dad and he pulled out a logbook — I had no idea he kept a notebook:
One thing I love about working on paper is that you literally end up with these gigantic piles of your effort. (Evidence of your days.) At some point, I started collecting photos of other people’s paper output.
It strikes me how much these paper stacks look like buildings or skyscrapers… paper monuments to human effort…
The art of contextomy: you cut some words off a pizza box, tape them to the cover of your diary, and they become an imperative. A commandment!
Speaking of diaries, the 5-year-old’s diary is becoming way cooler than mine:
A follower on Instagram asked me how they should get their kid to keep a diary. I think in most situations, the most important thing is to model for your kids what you’d like them to do, first. Owen sees me cutting things up and glueing them into my diary every morning, and he always wants to look at my notebook, so one day I (as casually as possible) asked him if he’d like his own special notebook to keep a diary in. That’s how he got started. So: model, see if there’s interest, and then offer up the time, space, and materials.
More inspiration came this morning, courtesy of my 5-year-old’s diary. (Everything on that page after the words “as usual” is invented.)
See also: Diary of a 5-year-old.
I was searching for some earbuds and found this notebook in my walking fleece that I haven’t used for months now, sadly, as we have entered the hell season in Texas.
It was my “scratch” notebook, the one I carry around all day, scribbling notes that I then either copy into my logbook or my diary, so it wasn’t that great of a catastrophe.
One interesting thing: I used two different pens and a pencil for these notes, and the water washed out all the felt-tip Flair pen (I didn’t realize they use water-based ink!), but the Pilot G2 ink and the Blackwing pencil remained mostly intact. So now I have this weird object in which some things are erased, some things survive.
Usually with notebooks what survives is the quality of the idea — in this case, it was about the quality of writing tool!
One of my favorite little Twitter bots is @year_progress, which tweets every 3.65 days when 1% of the year goes by:
I have my own analog version on the edges of my page-a-day logbook. One of the first things I do at the beginning of the year is make a little index system for the months. I like having another visual of how the year is progressing. (Here’s the notebook I use, and a similar index system.)
See also: How much of the year is left?