Sunday, August 19, 2018

Writing in a Daybook

I've bought this book of blank pages as a writing aid to help me get back into the habit of writing regularly . . . about something, anything, just putting words on the page, much like Natalie Goldberg advocates in Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within. So far I've written narratives of my days, added photographs, inked in sketches and construction diagrams, included owner stickers, made lists, recorded information I might need at a later time--I'm just using the book as I proceed through the day, adding whatever is useful to me right then or what might be useful in the future.

The focus of the entries centers around my wife and my new aquisition--a teardrop trailer, the Green Goddess. I've written during our three excursions about the events of the day. I've sketched out plans for adding more shelving and storage space, plans of where to add an additional electrical socket. Pasting in information about my new trailer hitch seemed a good idea. And, of course, a few photos of the cute little trailer.

According to the online dictionaries, the technical definition of daybook is from business--a record of transactions as their occur, later to be transferred to the ledger. A more general definition is a book where one records the activities of the day, a diary or journal, but perhaps allowing for more informality. I think this definition of a daybook fits my use perfectly.

I am also reminded of the daybooks of naturalists and other folk working out in the field, books that include sketches of plants and animals, descriptions of events and the behavior of animals, narratives of interactions with weather. I would like this book to be a mnemonic device, something to look back on later to enliven my wife's and my memories of this time as we begin this adventure with our little camper. The photos, sketches, product stubs, and narratives, the lists and building plans should provide a rich source for remembering.

If all goes well, I expect this daybook to deliver three advantages for my writing: 1) a bound and permanent location to record camping experiences with our camper, 2) a place to collect plans, ideas, and materials as we develop our trailer camping techniques, and 3) a source of ideas and details that can be used as I write posts for my Green Goddess Glamping blog.

Sometimes it's good to get away from the keyboard. When I wrote poetry, I drafted in a bound book, moving to typewriter (and later computer) only once revising the poem was almost finished. I certainly can't explore an idea with word, sketch, and flow charts as easily on computer--at least not on one page. Wait a minute--I'm sure that can be done; I just don't know how to do it. There is a tactile, physical experience of writing on the page, though, especially with a pencil, the way the graphite feels as it pulls across the page with the faint resistance. It's an experience so old it feels new again. I want to buy some water colors and colored pencils. Then I can sketch and paint flowers and trees. I sketched with a black pen the image of an Americian lotus in blossom. That was fun, but it would have been more fun to add the greens of the stem and leaves, and the ivory and white of the blossom with its yellow center.

Useful, fun, inspiring--productive.

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