~ ideal career: writer-musician-physician-scientist-entrepreneur
~ admires novelists who create believable worlds with science, history, and culture, and strong, complex characters
~ respects people who seek to balance the intransigence of morality and compassion for humanity
~ enjoys observing people and animals, in literature as well as real-life situations
~ tries to understand different perspectives, cultures, etc.
~ loves to learn, and appreciates things that make her think.
This erratic notepad is a perfectionist's exercise in spontaneity, and a collection of miscellaneous items of interest.
A commonplace book is a central resource or depository for ideas, quotes, anecdotes, observations and information you come across during your life and didactic pursuits. The purpose of the book is to record and organization these gems for later use in your life, in your business, in your writing, speaking or whatever it is that you do.
Some of the greatest men and women in history have kept these books. Marcus Aurelius kept one — which more or less became the Meditations. Petrarch kept one. Montaigne, who invented the essay, kept a handwritten compilation of sayings, maxims and quotations from literature and history that he felt were important. His earliest essays were little more than compilations of these thoughts. Thomas Jefferson kept one. Napoleon kept one. HL Mencken, who did so much for the English language, as his biographer put it, “methodically filled notebooks with incidents, recording straps of dialog and slang” and favorite bits from newspaper columns he liked. Bill Gates keeps one.
A commonplace book is a way to keep our learning priorities in order. It motivates us to look for and keep only the things we can use. … This is a project for a lifetime.
Fantastic piece by Ryan Holiday (who knows a thing or two about moving minds) on why and how to keep a “commonplace book.” Pair with Virginia Woolf on the creative benefits of keeping a diary and Joan Didion on keeping a notebook.
Of course, one could argue that a thoughtfully curated Tumblr is a “commonplace book” in its own right - after all, isn’t Tolstoy’s Calendar of Wisdom, the ultimate commonplace book, essentially a primitive Tumblr?
I find myself trying ever more radical interpretations of traditional dishes, in an effort to somehow express the void I feel so acutely. Today I tried this recipe:
Ingredients: 1 large casserole dish
Place the casserole dish in a cold oven. Place a chair facing the oven and sit in it forever. Think about how hungry you are. When night falls, do not turn on the light.
While a void is expressed in this recipe, I am struck by its inapplicability to the bourgeois lifestyle. How can the eater recognize that the food denied him is a tuna casserole and not some other dish? I am becoming more and more frustrated.
A parodic masterpiece circa 1987: The Jean-Paul Sartre Cookbook, the best thing since these parodic recipes and household tips by the great writers.
Pair with the very real, very delightful Artists’ & Writers’ Cookbook.