Monday, May 25, 2015

Beautiful Dilemma


Recently, a creative and resourceful friend picked up the habit of using a Midori Traveller's Notebook. However, given that it is unreasonably expensive, he decided to make one for himself. Seeing his progress online, I cheekily asked if he could make one for me and he did! Initially, I felt bad because he has a full-time job and I had no hopes of him saying yes. But seeing his handiwork in the flesh, I am glad that he took me seriously.

Now, there is a problem: what am I going to do with it? 

While it is easy to fall for the marketing hype of Midori about detailing your adventures in your battered notebook as you brave the seven seas, I am very much aware that this is not going to happen for an urbanite like me. 

The obvious options for me are to use it as a daily planner or a notebook to catch any ideas whenever inspiration strikes (cue the image of leaping out of bed and feverishly scribbling ideas for my magnum opus). Is this really a good option?

On one hand, part of me feels that my smart phone can do the job quicker and neater as I have a "doctor's handwriting" that is verging on chicken scratchings. It also pains me to deface the Midori notebook refills which cost me $5 each. Additionally, it is quite difficult to write on the go as these notebooks are soft and I need a harder surface to write on. I tried cutting a piece of cardboard to slot it between the pages but it is not hard enough if I were to write while standing. 

On the other hand, there is a sense of permanence in physically writing things down. It invites one to revisit and reflect on it. While I have tried keeping a diary (and failed after one entry), I realise that even just writing a couple of lines about what happened that day would help jog my memory. As much as I like to sneer at Midori's marketing, I cannot help but have the slightly romanticised image of being able to answer where I was when something momentous happened by referring to a particular line that I wrote. 

Worse still, I like the idea of my children or grandchildren chancing upon my notebooks and wondering what happened or why I wrote a certain line. Perhaps the entry would be something similar to Theodore Roosevelt's entry but hopefully under much happier circumstances:

Notice that his journal is somewhat similar in size
Photo: Library of Congress
Despite the difficulties of choosing between technology and paper, the fact is that I have already bought the cover from my friend and have purchased a few notebooks. The worst option is to leave it rotting on my shelf. After much agonising, here is what did with my notebooks. I bought three notebooks (one grid and two lined) and have since wrote in the grid and one of the lined notebooks.

Beginnings of a bullet journal
For the grid notebook, I decided to use it as a bullet journal. For a start, I created two collections (do click on the link to learn about the terms I am using). As I am currently using another planner, I will have to wait till that is done before I incorporate monthly and daily schedules into this journal.

Some notes on books that I am reading and will review
For the lined notebook, I decided to use it to facilitate content creation for my booktube channel. When I first started making videos, I will type out the script based on my overall impressions of the book and will often struggle to remember certain details.  I thought that writing down certain points on the go would allow me to create videos with more depth. It also serves as a  nice record of the books that I have read.

I am still trying to think of ways to further incorporate the notebooks in my daily life so as to justify my expenditure. Every time I have an inkling of what to do, I would face the dilemma of choosing between technology and paper.

While it is infuriating at times, it is a beautiful dilemma to have.  

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