Commonplace Books

From the Be in Love with Yr Life class, Annie Kratzmeyer was telling me about the commonplace notebooks she fills. Here’s a page of one of mine.

What Emerson kept, and what he recommended enthusiastically to others, were what used to be called commonplace books, blank bound volumes in which one writes down vivid images, great descriptions, striking turns of phrase, ideas, high points from one’s life and reading—things one wants to remember and hold on to. A commonplace book is not a diary, an appointment calendar, or a record of one’s feelings. If your journal consists of the best moments of your life and reading, then rereading it will be like walking a high mountain trail that goes from peak to peak without the intervening descent into the trough of routine. Just reading in such a journal of high points will tighten your strings and raise your pitch.

–Robert Richardson. Jr., author of First We Read, Then We Write: Emerson on the Creative Process

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