I read Dorris Lessings’ The Golden Notebook decades ago.
This book is an experiment of sorts. The structure is: A main story (which can be sufficient by itself) and then four other notebooks Anna Wulf created in order to keep her sanity. Then there is the “Golden Notebook” where everything is supposed to be assembled together and should help her make more sense of her chaotic life, mental break-down, including the severe writer’s block she had.
In the basic story “Free Women” Molly and Ana(a successful novelist) are best friends, they are both divorced and have children. One of the ex-husbands has a difficult relationship with his wife and lovers.
-the Black Notebook is about Anna’s experience in Central Africa, during and before World War II.
-the Red Notebook is about Anna’s experience as a member of the Communist Party
-the Yellow Notebook is a novel she is writing about her failed love affair
-the Blue Notebook is Anna’s journal about her emotional and personal life. Most importantly the analysis of her dreams by her psychoanalyst. At times the dreams take over her real life.
Summary from the Multnomah County Library
The concept of having a different journal or diary for different aspects of life was appealing and stuck. Until this year, I never implemented it. It always seemed difficult enough to keep up a single journal. Over the past couple of years I’ve developed a strong habit for Morning Pages. 365 Photo Projects, and an excess of Facebook and Twitter posts. The Morning Pages and 365 Projects have enriched my life. The social media posts seem to be a black hole that do little more than be a distraction.
Because Morning Pages and 365 Projects work, this year I’ve embraced the multiple notebooks. Both sets of work embody paying attention. They include:
- Morning Pages – ala Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way
- Week Book – a page each Saturday about the week that just went by
- Sketch Journal – heavily influenced by and following ideas in Lynda Barry’s Syllabus
- Face Book – a 6×9 inch book filled with faces. Initial work using the exercises found in Andrew Loomis’ Fun with a Pencil
- Hand (and foot) Book – goes with the Face Book and because Carlos Villa recommends one
- Exercise Log – a page a day of what I’ve done physically. I strongly suspect I’ll be motivated to not have blank pages
I’ll update this entry in 2019 with how all the notebooks are working out.