I bought a Moleskine notebook this week after years of wanting one but not justifying the cost (this one is 2.5 x 4.25” and cost $10).
(image from Barnes and Noble dot com) It has a tiny pocket in the back and is smaller than my hand, which means I can actually carry it everywhere I go, unlike my collection of larger notebooks that each have the beginnings scribbled inside that promise to be my portable collector of experiences and observations but end up resting in my bookcase. The carrying of a notebook has brought up contemplations of what should be put in there (allowed in there?) and how it all should be organized. I really don’t think these questions are trivial, especially if I’m to use any of this later. It echoes my considerations/uncertainties of tagging, which I still can’t answer. What’s a good way to catalogue thoughts? And why?
date (time) / setting (school thoughts or walking thoughts or thoughts while cooking – this could mean a lot of notebooks) / theme or concept or classification (much like setting)
And, skipping ahead of the difficulty of actually creating an organizational system, once categories are created, how do I keep up with them?
Talking with my friend, Chelsea, about notebooks the other day, she had the idea of using labels (like the ones in library books) to catalogue her various notebooks. I like her idea. I used to try and keep a table of contents in my notebook before, but I think I’ll try again, hopefully with more diligence/fervor. Instead of trying to guess how many blank pages to leave at the beginning of the notebook, which has been a problem, I think I’m going to glue in additional pages at the front of the notebook. With each entry/day, I’ll have the setting and nature of thinking in brief, kind of like tags…
I’m uncertain if these will be useful, but this has to be an improvement over keeping (or not keeping) six notebooks simultaneously with no distinction aside from date which has little relevance (for the most part) to thinking. Then there’s this thinking here (digital notebook), how does that fit in relation to the (paper) notebook? Better think of categories for my categories.
And then there’s use again, the useful versus the useless (like Jeff Rice’s useless archives or Jenny’s Rice’s pop archives talks at this year’s Conference on College Composition and Communication). What I decide to capture may not even be the useful thing, but it could be, even in its uselessness.