My favourite notebook is not a Bullet Journal. There I've said it.
It might be a sun-bleached facsimile of Penguin Books "Man and Superman", with a band that's lost its elasticity over the years. It might be the second of my wee Scottish Alwych journals into which I've been pumping daily notes and recollections since January of this year.
Whilst my Bullet Journal is an indispensable tool, a system to help me navigate my way through the practicalities of life, it doesn't often speak to me in the way that these scruffy little notebooks above do. Because, you see, these are the ones I take the time to speak to. The ones I write in when I'm camping, or sat watching my son at his swimming lessons, drinking coffee, learning to draw, mooching about on the allotment or recollecting a day that has passed during the quiet of the evening.
And when I speak to my notebooks, they speak back. Not straight away, but days, weeks or months later. And the more I learn from them, the more I want to continue filling them with thoughts and memories.
So, I think I'm going to start to formalise the things my notebooks say to me in a new section of this blog. Notebookerie is where I'll be digging into the past to uncover little nuggets of wisdom, humour or just observation and sharing them.
To kick things off, here's what I mean...
A good few years back, I took these little notes from my annual camping trip to the Hay Festival. My son was a lot younger, still learning to speak and working out word sounds. He decided that the answer to "What would you like for desert after your pizza?" was,
"Manilla ice cream!!"
Later on I was thinking about a quote I'd heard Merlin Mann give about distraction and the nasty hook of social media, apps and similar.
"What does it say about your sense of self worth if you allow anyone to steal your attention anytime they want?"
And again, even later on, whilst reading from Marcus Aurelius' Meditations I noted the following quotes to help me through some of life's challenges, which would later make it into my commonplace book.
"Choose not to be harmed and you won't feel harmed. Don't feel harmed and you haven't been"
"When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love."
These disjointed, random, messy little notes are useful to me and bring me joy and happy memories. They are not tracking me or suggesting other things to read. They are not interested in selling me anything. They don't require batteries, software or anyone else's permission to exist. They are of me, mine, in my little paper notebook written in my scrawly pencil handwriting.
I like peering into the actual handwritten pages of notebooks, seeing all of the marks, smudges, doodles and context. I think that sometimes, maybe, they are more interesting, and valuable, than the finished articles they inspire.