Now that I have more time to read, I am more serious about it and am reading books that have a significan number of passages I want to record....so I dug out that commonplace book I began years ago and have been adding to the pages in the last days.
Of course, I reread the first passages I had recorded and it took me back to a book that made a huge impact on me and on the threads that run through my artwork, Disappearance: A Map-A Meditation on Death and Loss in the High Latitudes / by Sheila Nickerson. I recorded this passage, in which I discovered the notion of the cairn....a rich visual image and metaphor for life's journey. Here is the passage I recorded back in 1998:
As the Franklin searchers spread out over the frozen, wind-carved spaces of the Arctic, they looked not only for ships and men, but for cairns, rock piles in which explorers placed records of their journeys. Here in these cairns--or buried ten feet true north of them, to protect the contents from intruders--might be found information critical to the search: projected route and condition of the party, as well as previous routes, discoveries, accomplishments, and problems. This was the flight plan, the press release, the health report, the newspaper, the broadcast, the mail delivery system of Arctic exploration. Though random, it was critical, sometimes meaning the difference between a lost party's being found and saved or not.
Well. I still have that book on my shelves and it is still high up on my list of remembered books. I have written up numerous pages just in the last few days from another fascinating book I am reading and it does feel good to be keeping a commonplace book once again. In my quick perusal of information for this post, I found a lot of great photos with a Google search and came across a blog post from Tom Standage who wrote the book, Writing on the Wall, about the history of our human communication in terms of "social media". There is documentation contained in the book about the commonplace book and how they were, along with diaries, often shared publicly. We are social creatures and always have been, it's just that the terms of engagement have changed. Anyway, I'm quite anxious to read this book and am momentarily off to head into town to the public library to check it out. I encourage you to read that post by Tom Standage, as it quite fascinating...at least to me!
Have a great week ahead....enjoy the spring weather....if you have it to enjoy!