Thinking about Notebooks, Loss and Life

I like notebooks. I mean I really like notebooks. Ever since I was a child, I have used and maintained paper notebooks for a variety of tasks, observations and record.

My only true regret in life, in regards to the loss of a physical object, has been the discarding of my fuchsia pink spiral bound notebook.

I started to record all the books I read during my 6 – 7th grade years in the pink notebook. My middle school librarian may have encouraged this, but I am not quite certain of the reason.  Any way, I dutifully recorded all the “personal” books I read in one calendar year – all ninety-nine of them in the pink notebook. I recall, sometimes I used pencil, sometimes marker, sometimes pen. I tossed the pink  notebook out when I moved from Connecticut to Missouri because I did not reach my own crucially desired number of 100 books read in one year.

Soon after, I began a green notebook in which I recorded my spending, movies seen, and plays attended from 8th – 12th grade. I still have that green notebook. It is a walk down memory lane to review what I spent my money on, plays attended and places visited. One of the biggest money purchases at the time was buying the board game Risk for my brother’s birthday.

Getting back to the pink notebook;  what I would give to have it back. I would love to see the titles of the books that had taken so much of my attention, given me inspiration and educated me in countless ways. Now I know we should not live on regrets, especially when it comes to physical objects. I believe if we can  recall and summarize, some of the positive things we experienced with that lost physical object, we may then have something even more valuable. For me, the pink notebook showed my ability, interest and tenacity of being a record keeper of my own life’s history. The notebook showed my passions for books, reading and life long learning.

Regardless of your age, make space in your life for a paper notebook.  It can be the record you look back on. Should you lose it,  or when you physically let it go, it may be something you can recall fondly as serving you well.

Here are some resources for notebooks:

Field Notes

Moleskin

Compendium

Quo Vadis

Other Stuff

Facts about Composition Books

Museum of Notebooks. This blog (which currently appears to be on hiatus) has an interesting collection – mostly “blue book style”, and little in the spiral bound collection. But interesting anyway.

Science Notebooks Science Notebooks – Writing About Inquiry by Brian Campbell and Lori Fulton.  Science notebooks are a very specialized type of notebook. This book gives interesting and technical advice, primarily for science educators.

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1 Comment

Filed under Caregiving, Communication, Creativity, Goal Setting, Knowledge, Organizing, Philosophy, Terms, Thinking

One response to “Thinking about Notebooks, Loss and Life

  1. Fred

    I can understand well Terry’s disappointment in losing this notebook. Reading 99 books for a youngster is indeed a fine accomplishment. Maybe Terry could write a book for juveniles (that corresponds to her age then) – NOW – and count that as her 100th book. In that way, losing the fuchsia book will have served a higher purpose.

    I had a list of biographies that I read in elementary school. My first name was Tommy back then so it was “Tommy’s biographies”. I read a whole lot of them, but it wasn’t 100 I believe. Alas, most of my childhood items like this, including stories and creative writing from that era, met an untimely demise when my sister cleaned out the attic after my Dad died and my mother had to move from the family homestead rather quickly.

    I write my 94 year old mother every day. She saves the letters and gives them back to me in a box when I come to visit. In this way, the letters almost serve as a journal. They could even later become a book! My great great grandmother was Emma Hone Hahn, daughter of the rather famous (at least he’s in some encyclopedias) English author and bookseller William Hone, 1780 – 1840, about which there is an autobiography/biography, William Hone and His Times (Hone started his autobiography but only got to age 20. The author, Frederick Hackwood, included this autobiograpy verbatim then wrote a biography from that point. The autobiography is fascinating as Hone describes playing in the streets of London when the French revolution was going on and a friend asked him what a revolution was and how he met John Wesley when he got sick as a child). Emma went off to German Southwest Africa in the mid 1800s, where she met a dashing German Russian missionary named Hugo Hahn. After a 3 week romance, they married. How do I know this? As a British Victorian lady married to a German in Africa, Emma Hone Hahn wrote letters regularly back home to her family in England. Four generations of her family kept these letters without throwing them away. In 1990, they were compiled and published! I got the book (it is out of print and extremely rare) at a hefty price. When I saw the photo of my Great Great Grandmother in that book, I wept. Her eyes were deeply soulful and seemed to sear right through me.

    I think the idea of keeping notebooks is a marvelous one. Terry certainly has given us a whole host of links to wonderful notebooks that we can create for our journals! She has served others even with the loss of her beloved notebook by creating interest in the same!

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