01 February 2011

Do you carry a notebook in your pocket?

My dad used to tell my brother that a man wasn't dressed unless he had a belt on. What would some of the saggy bottoms of today say to that? "huh?" My dad has also always carried a handkerchief and a pocket knife, especially handy to his mother when she needed such an item. It seems in days gone by, a pocket notebook was carried by men of nearly every occupation.

Have you ever come across such a little notebook in your grandfather's or great-grandfather's things?

This comment from Brett & Kate McKay in ‘The Manly Tradition of the Pocket Notebook’ shows some of the good old-fashioned values of the blog as a whole:

Carrying a pocket notebook . . . It’s a manly tradition that ought to be continued today. Along with a pocket knife and handkerchief, a notebook should reside in the pocket of every man.

The repositories of eminent men’s personal effects nearly always includes a pocket notebook full of their ideas and musings.

A friend of mine recently showed me her husband's ancestor's notebook which is now carefully wrapped in tissue paper and handled with great care. It was of great value in writing the family history, listing dates and costs and names, much as Ernest Hemmingway did. “I belong to this notebook and this pencil,” he declared. Post-it notes and 3x5 cards just don't measure up next to such a treasure.

Of Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks, Jessica Palmer of bioEphemera wrote: "Leonardo’s notebooks always give me the impression of a vast, benevolent curiosity. This man was into absolutely everything, [...]"

In the post Pocket Notebooks of 20 Famous Men by Brett & Kate McKay, "Beethoven used his notebooks to write down personal thoughts, maxims, and passages from literature and poetry he wished to remember. But their key use were as musical sketchbooks, where he would compose the beginnings of symphonies and then tinker with them in page after page. He believed that writing stimulated his imagination and even at home he kept a small table by his piano where he would hash out his creations on paper.

His notes and sketches were indecipherable to his associates. Wilhelm Von Lenz wrote in 1855, “When Beethoven was enjoying a beer he might suddenly pull out his notebook and write something in it. ‘Something just occurred to me,’ he would say, sticking it back into his pocket. The ideas that he tossed off separately, with only a few lines and points and without barlines, are hieroglyphics that no one can decipher. Thus in these tiny notebooks he concealed a treasure of ideas.”

If my brother were to carry a notebook today it would list the things he'd want to remember; the part number for the truck my nephew is rebuilding, the date of my niece's wedding and my other nephew's address. He'd want to remember the things he'd need to buy for his bow, his granddaughter's birthday and maybe the coordinates to the deer hide. Think how those things would reconstruct his life for those who follow and what they would say of the man.

Where do your ideas go?

Do they get lost because you have no safe place to tuck them in? Are your ideas captured digitally into your phone or computer? Will they be accessible to future generations?

Last log book entry of legendary yachtsman Sir Peter Blake:

"To win, you have to believe you can do it. You have to be passionate about it. You have to really "want" the result - even if this means years of work. The hardest part of any big project is to begin. We have begun - we are underway - we have a passion. We want to make a difference."


Other Uses of a Pocket Notebook: Ever think about keeping a food diary to see what you are eating? Just like with budgeting or trying to see how many miles to the gallon, you must have information to make informed decisions.

From a previous post on Conversations@Intersections

1 comment:

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