• A Post with a Foolish Conclusion

    24 September, 2012 • 2 Comments

    Blog posts are pretty disposable things, really. I’m typing this in a simple little input box in the WordPress back-end; it hardly feels permanent. It’s all bits in the end, little ones and zeroes stored on one hard drive or another, ready to be copied and accessed and viewed whenever convenient.

    I feel like this with most things written on a computer, really. It’s disposable, copyable, temporary and flimsy. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I’m sceptical about e-books; they don’t feel real. Sure I can write up a story or other text on a computer, and really should, considering the convenience, but it doesn’t feel real until it’s on actual paper. That’s how it was with my master’s thesis, at any rate.

    Of course, just being on paper isn’t enough to make something feel non-disposable either. I often print out stuff that has a limited use and is then discarded – bit of my thesis, to continue the example, that were very much work-in-progress, used for a time and then crumpled up and recycled.

    I used to carry notebooks around – and really should start doing that again – to jot down ideas and thought and stories while I had them. I scribbled in them with pencils and wore them out by forcing them into pockets they didn’t really fit in. They were cheap little things, flimsy – there’s that word again – and while they weren’t ever discarded, they were definitely a temporary vessel for thoughts. On the whole though, paper, and books in particular, feels more permanent than typing electronically.

    And some books feel very weighty indeed. I’m not talking about printed books here, they’re a thing of their own, I’m talking about notebooks – books for producing text, not consuming it. I recently bought a fancy notebook, to use as a log book for the next part of my study course. Since I knew I was going to keep a log, I decided I wanted a proper book to keep it in, not just another folder of lecture notes. I ended up buying a Paperblank, one of those that imitate the look of old leather binding. I got a hardback one, so it feels solid and looks pretty. It felt so proper that I felt I had to sit down and take some time to write out a title page, with proper letter spacing and as pretty looking letters as my clumsy hand can make. I used pencil sketches I had to erase after using ink and everything!

    Like I said, I bought this to keep a log in; it has a specific purpose, which is why I felt I could buy a fancy book for it. I’ve been burned on this before, you see. I bought a couple of Paperblanks a few years ago, pocket sized ones, and found myself stumped. They looked to neat to just scribble notes in. A book that looked that good, I felt, had to be actually filled with something good as well.

    And that’s Paperblanks, that basically just fake looking good! I am tempted to get something like this, something that legitimately is awesome, just for the sheer coolness of it. The problem, however, would be compounded; what on Earth would I put in it?! It’s the same urge that makes me want one of those hollowed-out books for hiding stuff in, even though I have nothing worth hiding it it! I would like to have bunches of beautiful books in the shelves, but what do I put in them?

    I basically need more intrigue in my life.

    2 Responses to A Post with a Foolish Conclusion

    1. 24 September, 2012 at 10:45

      Hollowed-out books: As you get older, you are bound to end up hoarding stuff that would go there. You could hide rings, watches, and other valuables, that you’d like to keep but won’t wear daily. You could hide personal letters or notes that you don’t wish others to see, but that you’d like to keep close at hand for sentimental and/or easy referencing reasons. You could hide your tax papers there, or you could hide a secret stash of cash for that one unfortunate day where you’ll lose your wallet/max out your credit card/have your bank account hacked/be robbed on the street. Or you could do like I would — keep a mysterious old-looking key in it, and intrigue the heck out of whatever snoop would open it and peek.

      I’m much more sympathetic to the Paperblanks/leather bound awesomeness issue. In fact, I’ve got the same predicament, though apparently unlike you I think things through before I buy stuff, so I’ve never bought anything like this. But I’ve been staring at temptation in shops many times in my life, and this has always been why I never gave in. Don’t have anything worth putting in it. So oh well.

      I have for this reason, though, put some thought into it. So here come my suggestions: I suppose you could get one and use it as Your Versatile Book of Private Notes and Schemes. You could devise a code (should appeal to your conlinguistic tendencies) and then have pages to jolt down collegues who annoy you or insult you, when how who and why, and possible schemes for revenge. You could write down sensitive information about your students for your own reference, without fear other students might open the book at your teacher’s desk one morning and learn private stuff about their classmates. You could keep your favourite family recipes in it, those two or three that your aunt/grandma/greatuncle made that are just too tasty not to keep for generations to come. You set off a separate section towards the end to organise your ideas for things like novels, poems and short stories. I’m not talking about a notebook here, I’m rather talking a Register for your notebooks, with three or four eloquent lines summing up each idea you’ve pondered and judged Worthy to Keep Around, briefly restating the initial idea and then listing where you keep your more detailed notes on this particular thing. And possibly a diary-like paragraph about how and when this idea came to be. Indeed, any kind of chronicling, journaling or keeping of diaries would also fit neatly within such a tome.

      I hope I gave you some ideas. :)

    2. 24 September, 2012 at 23:22

      Eg har det same problemet – eg har ein del fine notatbøker (hadde ein periode der eg både kjøpte og fekk molseskins i alle storleikar, nei, dei er ikkje av dei mest imponerande bøker, og dei skal vera notatbøker ein stappar i lomma, men eg klarar det berre ikkje) og anar ikkje kva eg skal med dei. Raske hugselister vert skrivne i kalenderen eller på journalistblokker (som passar i baklomma), hugselister eg skal ta vare på vert lagt i permen på førelesingsblokka mi. Eg har bøker med meldingar eg vil ta vare på (ca 2 sider), med rare sitat frå vener og kjente (ei side), med film-meldingar (avlsutta etter ca fire veker) osb. Det vert rett og slett for mange bøker og for lite innhald – og eg har lyst på fleire slike fine bøker!
      Elles fekk bror min ei bok av ein omreisande mormonar som kom på døri – den gøymte han øyretelefonane til discmanen sin i, slik at eg ikkje kunne stikka av med dei…

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