I recently came across an article in which the writer celebrates keeping a notebook. But there was one passage that really surprised me:
Another thing that makes my notebook unique and interesting is the open access to its pages. While diaries are revered as the fiefdom of one man’s innermost thoughts and deep, dark secrets, my notebook is like a scrapbook that anyone can browse. When I began using my notebook, I vowed to be discreet and to put only wholesome things in it because I didn’t want to be lampooned over a controversial or intriguing entry. Letting other people take a glimpse at the contents of my notebook gives them the opportunity to share their views about the stuff that I have written, drawn or collected. In doing so, creative exchanges follow, varying and engaging perspectives are ignited and we get a chance to acquire more wisdom and inspiration.
(From My notebook | Inquirer Opinion.)
I think most of us who keep notebooks tend to do so privately. It may not always be as secretive as the lock-and-key diary we may have had as kids, but a notebook is usually something personal that’s not volunteered for others to read, either because it’s too mundane, too sensitive, or just not in a finished enough state for the writer to want feedback on it. Sketchbooks might be more public, especially if they’re used for an art class, but sometimes artists even want to keep their drawings private. (It might depend on who’s acting as their nude model!)
So the quote above seemed quite revolutionary to me. I tried to imagine what it would be like to keep a notebook that would be completely open to others– it’s a nice idea as described above, as a way to share ideas and opinions. It would be sort of like keeping a blog or one’s Facebook page between the covers of a journal. But I guess that’s also part of the problem for me– the friends who I’d want to read my notebook are spread too far and wide for me to be able to easily hand it to them, so the internet makes more sense for that kind of communication. My notebooks remain intensely private, aside from a page here and there that I might show to someone (or post on this blog!).
How about you? Do you keep your notebooks to yourself or share them freely with others?