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.