Keeping Notebooks: Artifacts of the Mind

Kleon’s Notebooks

Austin Kleon shared his year in notebooks, and I find myself inspired yet again.

I’m not as systematic as Kleon. I don’t create daily pages, I don’t have a notebook “system,” but I do have a couple of staples and go-to practices. I have a notebook I began “building” years ago with quotes, ideas, images, drawings, scratching, and lists. I glue in pictures and trinkets and fortune cookies and scraps. I put a lot of stickers on the cover, stuff I’ve collected from places through the years.

And I keep a journal. I’ve started to be a little bit more disciplined in this practice recently. My goal is to make journaling a daily habit. I use my journal primarily to process my emotions, to get what I’m feeling out there. If there is one area of my self that I sometimes keep hidden, it is my emotional life. I’m not always real clear on what I’m feeling, and journaling helps me work through that aspect of my experience.

I tote around a couple of pocket sized notebooks so that I can record ideas and passing thoughts, bit of conversation and quotes, stuff I need to take on later. I also like having my small notebooks handy so that I have something to hand my kids when they say they are bored. “Make me something,” I tell them.

Søren Kierkegaard‘s “authorship,” as he called it, was undertaken with the understanding that his writings would be read by the public, not only his books, sermons, and manuscripts, but even his journals. Portions of his journals were excised and burned in the fire. He discarded portions that were not for public consumption, that were not intended to be read as part of his corpus. His writing, even his journal, was part of his grand vision.

I’m not quite there yet. I don’t think I’ll ever go that far. But I am writing and creating while conscious that family and friends may one day read what I’ve written or look upon what I’ve made, doodles and drawings and sayings, the occasional aphorism, the more-than-occasional rant.

Discern, then Respond

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