Notebooks. Journals. Sketchbooks. Moleskines.
I love them. Something about the cool outside designs, and the unlimited possibility, gets me excited, so over my life I have taken to collecting blank books.
Note that I didn’t say using, or writing in blank books, just collecting them. Sure, I’ve tried to keep a personal journal a time or two. It trickles off badly, and inevitably I find it a few years later, try to read past-me with disgust, and either remove the used pages or throw the whole thing out.
So now almost all of my blank books stay blank.
Big, small. Colorful, monochrome. Lined, unlined. Fancy, simple. Every one has a draw, a world of potential.
Most of them stay blank, as I’ve said. But there have been two exceptions that I am still trying to use. One is older – it’s my Tardis blue box book (like the one River Song has) with false distressing. I tried to turn this one into a collection of quotes and tidbits of interests and tiny pieces of me, without letting it be a classic “daily journal”. It’s mostly unused, but there are a few things in there that I can turn to when I need a pick-up. But I think I may return to it, someday. And it doesn’t have to be a daily thing, so that’s okay. It can go years until something moves me to record it. That freedom takes much of the pressure off me. That lack of pressure makes it valuable enough to keep, instead of getting embarrassed and tearing out the old pages.
The other is one of the journals I acquired at work. It has my company logo, but more importantly it has an elastic band to keep it shut, which works as a place to attach a pen. This I have used to track my meds since I got out of the hospital, as well as my pain levels and notes about my health that I’m afraid I won’t retain later. Mostly, a list of taken medicine. The front has important info like my name, my emergency contact, my blood thinner, my insurance ID, etc. This stays with me at all times, in case of emergency and I can’t communicate. So now I have a traveling record of what I’m on, what is wrong with me, and a helper to let me know when I last took a pain killer or a med in case I can’t keep track, which was common during those first high-pain days. It may not have a lot of value as I recover, but it was so critical to me that I want to keep it up and use it to track that recovery all the way.
A blank book is a world of potential, but a record in that book is a life documented. Sometimes it’s the boring aspects of life, like my meds. Other times it’s the tidbits that make me who I am. My journals are on the far ends of the spectrum – one clinical and methodical, one creative and non-sequitur, and I think I like it that way.