Britain's first book blogger (November 2000). This Space is now a major motion picture, or something.

Friday, June 30, 2006

The hidden order

The program I've used lately for for writing blogs is Journler (for Mac only). An iTunes for journal writing, as it describes itself. It has five default categories underwhich one can classify entries. There's 'Personal', 'Work', 'Observations' and 'Thoughts & Aphorisms' . The last one made me wince. Never trust anyone who writes aphorisms. The other category is 'Dreams'. That made me wince some more. But it feels good to have something other than Word in which to write. It's promising.

Promise is everything. Only today I saw a large notebook in a stationery shop that promised much. Yet do I get one of them instead of a third Moleskine? (One can't have both). The trouble with the latter is that my notes on various books are interrupted by so many random jottings, beginnings of notes about other books and then more random jottings, that it is impossible to collate them; to make them useful in the way I imagined they'd be useful. Instead they get lost in an inky black forest. So, yes, it would be more effective to write them on the perforated sheets contained within these other notebooks. Everything can then be brought together.

Perhaps that isn't really what I want though. One thing that draws me to the Moleskine is just covering white pages (well, creamy white) with black ink (this explains an aversion to blue). Just the sight of it offers obscure relief. A pile of loose-leaves wouldn't be the same. In their dispersal, the random jottings and notes merge into one another and, in doing so, mimic the hidden order of the book they were meant only to pursue. Reading the notes demands yet more note-taking. The notebook has itself become a book. Well, almost.

In fact, the book to which all those notes relate would itself have to be written again. So much is left out after all. It too is only almost a book. Note-taking and review writing and essay writing would not be enough. Indeed, writing the entire book again would not be enough. One would need to write many more books in addition to that one. Each line of text evokes a cascade of ideas and associations, each one demanding a book in itself.

Each book, then, is really only a notebook about other books as yet unwritten; the books we imagine as we read. We need more notebooks in which to write them. We need new software. New lives.

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