Well, there are several reasons. Not the least of which is that I can open one willy nilly from the dusty pile under my desk whenever I like and find odd things written inside that alternate between (only to me) mind bendingly brilliant, to (only to me) amusing bon mots, to… what the?
I posted an example of the latter on my ‘other’ blog recently. No flipping clue what any of it meant. But it did amuse me and could very well be brilliant.
Or… ahem…uh, not.
The thing is even if there’s no apparent purpose, if all those words from all those years ago amount to meaningless dreck, so be it. The fact is that they were written, jotted, recorded with intention. There was a message, an impression to share. And maybe it’s the sense of that ‘something’, more than the specific, that resonates. There’s pleasure and even welcome discomfort in stumbling across that kind of rawness in ourselves—like a piece of us that we choose to forget but that, at some level, still exists.
Not everyone feels this way. A friend of mine burns her notebooks at intervals, doesn’t want to be reminded of what she thought was important then. I understand wanting to avoid the cringe factor, but still, I think she’s missing something.
Anyway, after having that bouncing round my head for the past few days, this morning I opened a new old notebook and the first entry was this—a quote by Mr. Housman:
“The reason the words can have such a physical effect as to raise the hair on one’s neck is because these words are poetry, and find their way to something in us which is obscure and latent, something older than the present organization of our nature.”
Not that it has anything to do with notebooks. But to which I still say yeah.