POTTERING THROUGH MY NOTEBOOKS


I’m a great potter-er. Sunday is a good day to potter around my house, doing minor tasks, playing with my Stuff. Even after my recent purge (see my recent post about The Guys and the Grand Purge) I still have plenty of Stuff left to play with. Believe me.

I was paging through my  old notebooks, dating back to the early 1990s.  Regrettably I have a weakness for notebooks. I can’t resist them. And don’t let me find a sale offering bargain price notebooks, because we all know what will happen.  A quirky cover? Cute Cats? Gold and sparkly ?  Ka-ching. Ka-ching.

So there I was, reminiscing with my notebooks when I was struck by a thought: what will happen to my notebooks when I die? Will the family be sufficiently interested to read them? Always assuming, of course, that they can read them. My handwriting varies from the semi-legible to a jerky scrawl …

Added to which I have developed a  series of abbreviations over the years, which enables me  to write quickly, and the chances of anybody else working out what I  intended, are not good. I spent years slaving behind a typewriter, and latterly a keyboard, which means I can type much, much faster than I can write. I can type at the speed of my thoughts. Very satisfactory, and also legible. But obviously notebooks are handwritten, in a variety of places – coffee shops, aeroplanes, retreat centres, other people’s spare bedrooms – anywhere and everywhere, and the  notes are not always legible.  Even to my eye.

The notebooks contain ideas for future  blog posts, draft poems, notes to self, articles, writing exercises, outpourings of angst, lists, titles of books and authors and  must-reads. And so on. Let’s face it: because I’m not a famous writer, nor a noted social diarist, it’s doubtful that anybody else will be remotely interested in my scribbling.

On the topic of noted social diarists, some very famous people e.g. Winston Churchill, or famous  writers e.g. Noel Coward  kept detailed – and regular – diaries. I own a copy of a fascinating compilation of diary entries, arranged by date and kicking off around the era of  the mid 1660’s (Samuel Pepys)  up to the late 20th century  (Alec Guinness, Brian Eno, Andy Warhol), titled The Assassin’s Cloak,  edited by Irene & Alan Taylor.   Of course, the social diarists entries are a delightful  mix of gossip, innuendo and scandal, whilst the politicians are dealing with weighty matters of state, or declaring war and so forth.  A far cry from my notebooks.

Thinking it over, I should probably tear out the written pages, burn them, and donate the remaining unused notebook to a charitable scheme collecting stationery for  disadvantaged school kids.  That’s what I should do . I probably won’t get around to it, and my family will stare in dismay at the pile of notebooks and say : “What the hell are we going to do with these?” Good question.

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9 Comments

Filed under HUMOUR, WRITING

9 responses to “POTTERING THROUGH MY NOTEBOOKS

  1. You are dead right Alison, upon your demise those notebooks will all go into the big black bags .. Be strong, woman, and toss them out NOW!

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  2. If it were me, and I were you, I would certainly NOT get rid of these notebooks. Just like when we die, our physical atoms revert back to the universe from which we come, so your notebooks will revert back. But let your family make what they will of them first; your notes reflect your feelings, your joys and sadnesses, and doing so will add to the richness of their memories of you.

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  3. Do something with them like writing them up in legible. My friend Julian assembled prose from his notebooks into a travel diary and beat Paul Theroux to a travel book of the year award.

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  4. I have a lot of admiration for people who can keep a journal. It’s not a habit I have ever got into – I did try doing this at the start of the year but kept forgetting about it and then finding I didn’t really know what to write

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  5. Absolutely superb blog! It’s one of those things that we journal keepers share, is what will happen when we pop our clogs? My diarys/journals tend to be very useful if you can’t remember which month cousin Lucy got married, but sadly not much about travel or poetry. I have culled but kept the last ten years. It’s a start. Keep on inspiring us!

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