I started using Day One last fall. Today makes 365 consecutive days with at least one entry, most with several sets of notes and a photo or two. Think I might get those 600-something pages printed and bound and read everything I forgot. I guess I could have been putting this on paper all along, but y’know, whatever helps you build the habit…

Aside from my notebooks about what I’m reading (which I’ve kept pretty religiously for years), I’ve been a terrible journaler. Never got into a groove and stayed there. But a couple months ago, I started using Day One, and have consistently knocked out a few entries every single day, mostly from my phone. I even went through and back-filled a few memorable trips/days from the months before I had the app. Who knows if it will last, but I definitely don’t regret it.


p>I set up a couple reminders to give me an extra nudge in the morning and afternoon. Sometimes it just ends up as a few bullet points on the day’s goals or failures. Sometimes just a photo and caption. Sometimes something longer. But always something, which is what I’ve been looking for. And, there’s already a few solid, reliable options for exporting, so I have peace of mind if want to jump ship. But so far, so good.

What I Read, 2007-2012. Amazing how it all adds up. Six years, 400-something books and counting. (Sometimes I write about them.)

As with any long-term journaling, what’s especially fun is the bigger picture you get from looking back. I see the individual books, yes, and my passing topical interests and ongoing obsessions, but I also see who I was hanging out with, who I was influenced by, and an incidental history of where I was living.

Essentially, we become our own documentarians and archivists in order to impose meaning on daily life, to show that we are honoring moments with the seriousness we are told they are supposed to possess, and to preserve that honor for posterity. We once did this in the semi-private realm of our families and social circles. Now we do so on a larger scale.

Culture Desk: Instagram’s Instant Nostalgia : The New Yorker. I finally figured out what this excerpt reminds me of: silva rerum. (via markrichardson)


Little Printer | BERG Cloud

Little Printer lives in your home, bringing you news, puzzles and gossip from friends. Use your smartphone to set up subscriptions and Little Printer will gather them together to create a timely, beautiful mini-newspaper.

This is too cool. Imagine a daily blackout poem delivered to your LittlePrinter. Hmmm….

Three days ago, a friend politely listened to me lament the demise of fax machines and more generally, a sort of personal printing network. I wish we’d gotten to the point where someone could send an SMS picture to a fax back home, and I’d have a nice surprise waiting in the evening. Or an automated daily calendar, with maps and directions printed of where you need to drive that day. Or auto-printed journaling based on notes/pictures/voice memos you put into your phone that day. Or print up your own morning paper. We’re basically there. We have arrived. Oh, and I wonder how you could combine it with Twine…? Things are getting really interesting, folks!

Silva rerum – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Silva Rerum (diary) of Krassowscy family from Ziemia Drohicka in Podlasie, Poland.

In historical Poland [silva rerum] was written by members of the Polish nobility as a diary or memoir for the entire family, recording family traditions, among other matters; they were not intended for a wider audience of printing (although there were a few exceptions); some were also lent to friends of the family, who were allowed to add their comments to them. It was added to by many generations, and contained various information: diary-type entires on current events, memoirs, letters, political speeches, copies of legal documents, gossips, jokes and anecdotes, financial documents, economic information (price of grain, etc.), philosophical musings, poems, genealogical trees, advice (agricultural, medical, moral) for the descendants and others – the wealth of information in silva is staggering, they contain anything that their authors wished to record for future generations).

This blew my mind a little bit. A private book for multiple generations! Fascinating.

Hypomnema – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

…a Greek word with several translations into English including a reminder, a note, a public record, a commentary, a draft, a copy, and other variations on those terms.

The context was Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, but it sounds like a good description of Tumblr, Twitter, and a number of wonderful things on the internet. I first came across hypomnemata (sleep + thread…) in The Present Alone is Our Happiness (recommended in Ryan Holiday’s super awesome reading list email archive).

Reading the Wikipedia entry, it made me realize what I often (mostly?) use this Tumblr for: to make notes to myself, shaping and re-shaping my perspective. Many of my favorite posts (tagged, e.g., work, opinions, empathy, arguments, happiness, death, travel, thinking, philosophy, stoicism, psychology) function as a sort of admonishment that I really do re-read every now and then. It’s an attempt to refresh and re-calibrate, internalize. This journaling/commonplacing thing isn’t new, but there’s something satisfying about knowing that one strand of the tradition goes back to an old Greek word. See also commentarii, commonplace, memoranda.

Hypomnema – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The New Atlantis » History as Wall Art

Excerpt from the Annals of St. Gall, a yearly chronicle from an early-medieval Frankish monastery:

709. Hard winter. Duke Gottfried died.
710. Hard year and deficient in crops.
712. Flood everywhere.
714. Pippin, mayor of the palace, died.
718. Charles devastated the Saxon with great destruction.
720. Charles fought against the Saxons.
721. Theudo drove the Saracens out of Aquitaine.
722. Great crops.

The New Atlantis » History as Wall Art

A Cruel Country by Roland Barthes : The New Yorker

“Journal excerpts by Roland Barthes about mourning his mother, Henriette, who died at eighty-four, in October, 1977.” It’s a real shame this one is behind a paywall. Favorite bits:

What I find utterly terrifying is mourning’s discontinuous character.


Mourning: not a crushing oppression, a jamming (which would suppose a “refill”), but a painful availability: I am vigilant, expectant, awaiting the onset of a “sense of life”.

And also:

1st mourning
false liberty
2nd mourning
desolate liberty
deadly, without
worthy occupation

A Cruel Country by Roland Barthes : The New Yorker

Although I have felt compelled to write things down since I was five years old, I doubt that my daughter ever will, for she is a singularly blessed and accepting child, delighted with life exactly as life presents itself to her, unafraid to go to sleep and unafraid to wake up. Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant rearrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with some presentiment of loss.

Joan Didion, On Keeping a Notebook [pdf].