Multiple Notebooks

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.

Blood Meridian

The subject of beautiful depiction of disturbing things rises again as I read McCarthy Cormac’s Blood Meridian.

All to the north the rain had dragged black tendrils down from the thunderclouds like tracings of lampblack fallen in a beaker and in the night they could hear the drum of rain miles away on the prairie. They ascended through a rocky pass and lightning shaped out the distant shivering mountains and lightning rang the stones about and tufts of blue fire clung to the horses like incandescent elementals that would not be driven off. Soft smelterlight advanced up the metal of the harness, lights ran blue and liquid on the barrels of the guns. Mad jackhares started and checked in the blue glare and high among those clanging crags jokin roehawks crouched in their feathers or cracked a yellow eye at the thunder underfoot.

The novel relentless floods the reader with beautiful prose. Prose that describes a band of violent men riding murderously through Mexico and the American West. Sometimes they are mercenaries. Mostly they are a swarming pack of malevolence.

If you’ve read The Road you have an idea of what this book is like. However, Blood Meridian makes The Road seem hopeful and cheerful.

Valentines Day for a Vegetarian

My wonderful wife has been a vegetarian for over 40 years. Like so many I planned a special Valentine’s Day meal.

We went to a BBQ place. She ordered one of their signature platters and loved it.

How so? The place was Homegrown Smoker, a vegan BBQ joint. BBQ purists are rolling their eyes at this oxymoron. The rest of us are just enjoying the fantastic food there. The fu-fish (nori breaded tofu) is better tasting than the fried fish you’ll find in some places. The gritz stix, deep fried cheesy grits, are a solid delight on their own. Homegrown Smoker has a variety of protein sources. Anyone with a bit of open mind can find one to taste.

Asking and Thanking

In some circles the thank you note is a lost bit of culture. When someone gives you a gift you should send a thank you note. Should. The note should just express thanks for the gift. To my mind, including a personal exchange from the receiver to the giver is reasonable. “I hope to see you next month.” “Will you be at the reunion next summer?” Personal communication is the key.

One should not use the thank you note to solicit another gift. Politicians seem incapable of communicating without asking for more. Some charitable organizations seem to also lack the ability to thank without asking for more.

Today’s mail included a note from Oxfam thanking me for a contribution to their Puerto Rico efforts. The envelope included a direct, simple note, a business card, and a four page brochure describing the work I helped fund in the aftermath of hurricane Maria. There was no ask. This is wonderful.

The people at PCUN, Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste, and the Willamette Valley Law Project also have a history of sending thank you notes with no further asks.

For above and beyond thanking from a charitable organization goes to Vitamin Angels. After I did one of those Facebook based fund raisers for my birthday I received immediate thanks. But then at the end of the year I received a personal, handwritten note from my contact in the organization. It was heartfelt and unexpected.

It brightens the day to get a thank you note. It’s time, past time, for me to send some of my own.

ML Homegrown of Florence

ML == Mikey Likes

If you’re in Florence, Oregon and want a good beer or excellent organic food in a casual setting Homegrown Pub is an excellent choice.

We’ve visited several times going to and from Gold Beach and Portland. The food is consistently fantastic. The prices are lower than what you’ll pay at several mediocre places elsewhere on the coast. Check for yourself with their menu.

Consistent quality keeps us going back.

Amazon Irritation A4

Why oh why does my Amazon search for A4 paper return lots of entries for US Letter sized paper?
Yes, there’s some A4 listings mixed in. But for what’s sake, if I wanted US Letter I’d look for it.

There are times when a suggestion for similar product is welcome. A case like this, when searching for a niche item and being offered the normal, is not one of them.

Being First

I had an unusual first today. I’m the first person to check The Archer Files out from the Multnomah County Library. Whoo Hooo! I had recommended the book to the library for purchase. When you recommend a purchase you can elect to have a hold placed. As soon as the book arrives you get it.

People like to be first. Internet geek site Slashdot has a long standing cult of people racing to be first to comment on a new story. In many cases being first is an actual achievement. First on the moon, first to accomplish something, first in the family to go to college, first to reach a goal in school or at work. There are lots of firsts out there to accomplish.

Being first is somewhat like being perfect. You can miss out on a lot of good and great things while seeking first place or perfection. A T-Shirt I first saw in the late 1980s read “You can’t be first, but you could be next.” Oddly an image search for this quip shows (at this time) only things that read “you can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep rereading the last one.”

Time to quit seeking first and move on to the next chapter.