Thursday, February 28, 2008

Commonplace books

"Cobbled together by literate peoples, commonplace books served as repositories for whatever someone thought fit to record: medical recipes, jokes, verse, prayers, mathematical tables, aphorisms, and especially passages from letters, poems, or books. Ben Johnson kept one; so did John Milton, John Locke, and Thomas Jefferson. In fact, one might think that most writers would have fashioned such handy compendia, yet Shakespeare's has never been found."

-Artur Krystal, "Too True," Harper's Magazine, February 2008

Small wonder blogging suits me.

For years I diligently updated my commonplace books, carefully taping into place images and passages clipped from magazine articles or transcribing those found in books.

Blogs might be considered the contemporary equivalent to the commonplace book, but where the books are tools of edification, blogs are essentially ego-driven affairs. Still, since I started posting to HH, my commonplace books have been neglected. Maybe I'm just an egotist.


the unbeatable kid said...

i think of it as being lazy rather than egotistical. i would rather put a story on my blog than have to tell it 5 different times to my friends. also, they can ignore me much more easily.

bioephemera said...

Good grief - I never thought of it that way. I haven't updated my scrapbook since I started the blog either. I'm not sure I like the tradeoff, since I got a lot of inspiration from that scrapbook.