image of own source, @kate_cadbury, @markandfold


Since I am a child I carry with me notebooks. Some of them have more content, others less. All with pretty covers though. The other day my brother sent me a picture of a notebook he found in my old stuff “jeanette b. – the writer “. Zero notes in that one. Plenty of diaries. Not one finished. Not one with disciplined daily notes. School booklets with a lot of notes and doodles, maybe more than content of the actual subject 

I have always been curious about notebooks or sketch books from others. Kate Cadbury’s sketch books are an artwork. I love the way she describes them, too… “beautiful little objects. A place of freedom, for ideas to grow and be. Pages where nothing matters, no set intentions for anyone else. A place for free play  …”. I also remember a designer that I once worked with sketching her daily outfits in her red notebook, which I thought was very simple, pretty and at the same time handy 

I was reflecting a lot recently why I actually do have so many notebooks? A notebook in the kitchen for recipes. A notebook with collected sport exercises. A notebook for raquette. A notebook for book quotes and books to read. A more general notebook for all sort of spontaneous things that come to mind. An urgency notebook – well better several ones – for the handbag(s) 

By coincidence, or not so much coincidence since she is my favorite writer, I stumbled over the essay from Joan Didion ‘on keeping a notebook ‘. I think that her definition about keeping a notebook is what most reasons to me. Below I copy some phrases of her essay I consider most relevant, although I strongly encourage you to read through the whole work 

No matter whether your definition of a notebook is the same as mine, the whole point about this article is to encourage you to keep on writing or sketching in your notebooks and fortify even your children to do so. Keep yours. Keep theirs. Keep them a very long time. Keep looking back at them. Notebooks, apart from providing memory and eliciting creativity, can be healing little souls by providing you some intimate and calm minutes in busy, uncertain times 

Joan Didon on keeping a notebook (1966): 

·       so the point of my keeping a notebook has never been, nor is it now, to have an accurate factual record of what I have been doing or thinking

·       how it felt to me: that is getting closer to the truth about a notebook

·       remember what it was to be me: that is always the point

·       it is a difficult point to admit. We are brought up in the ethic that others, any others, all others, are by definition more interesting than ourselves

·       but our notebooks give us away, for however dutifully we record what we see around us, the common denominator of all we see is always, transparently, shamelessly, the implacable “I”

·       might not Mrs. Minnie s. Brooks help me to remember what I am? Might not Mrs. Lou Fox help me to remember what I am not?

·       I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not

·       we forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were

·       it is a good idea, then, to keep in touch, and I suppose that keeping in touch is what notebooks are all about

·       your notebook will never help me, nor mine you

Back to blog