Create: I’ve Been Known

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My wife and I are watching the AMC series “Halt and Catch Fire.” We love it. The beginnings of the tech world unfolding in front of us. Remember the “Commodore 64?” I do. Well, it gets full billing in this series, along with all the other tech stuff that began to arrive in the early 1980s. Sure, it’s a bit soap-opera-y but I’m okay with that.

There is a scene in Season Four, Episode 06 where one of the main characters, played by Scoot McNairy, has a huge stack of “stress journals” he’s keeping because his physical health is eroding and keeping the books is part of his recovery. And then he decides to burn them all. A way of letting go to the idea he isn’t 100%.

The scene ends and my wife asks “Are you going to do that with your journals?” You see, I keep journals, as I’ve mentioned before. Keeping a journal is one of the most important parts of my life. The journal is my secret garden. A safe place for ideas and thoughts that might not be mainstream enough to land softly on the ears or eyes of the modern snowflake.

I have hundreds of these books. I have a slide in one of my decks that shows stacks of journals drying on my patio. Yes, I let a few of my babies get wet. I made THIS image at the same time. Drying on the patio. Ooops. But oh well.

Back to my wife’s question. “Probably,” is my answer. I don’t get attached to many physical things. Sure, there is the Leica, the Blad, my Fujis, my wife, but not in this order. I could rid myself of these things and not skip a beat. (The wife would require some work!) It’s just paper, after all. And the ideas, once on paper, live forever in the drop-down menus of my mind.

Comments 11

  1. Atari 2600 here. But it was big news when that Commodore came out. I forget the name and system, but there was a football game that came out back then that took over my friends’ lives.

    I have been close to getting rid of my old journals. Most of them are garbage. Or late night musings after too many beers. But now that I’m trying to have another go at more meaningful journals, I’ll go through them again before lighting the bonfire.

    Quick favor – you or the community – what are the 1-4 videos on making blurb books/zines etc. Preferably one will be a nuts and bolts basic tutorial. I’ve done one photozine, one magcloud thingmajig, and a journal. I understand the basics of Bookwright, but I’d wager I’m not really scratching the surface or doing things the smartest way.

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    2. Sorry, looks like I didn’t finish the sentence! I meant to add “favorite” or “go to” Shifter bookmaking videos. I am not awesome at keeping organized bookmarks and references. You have very helpful bookmaking videos, but I always forget where I’ve stashed the bookmark. Ahh, re-reading your reply – yes, the ones you’ve done are the ones I’m looking for. I’m just resolved to get organized. I’m going to revisit those and keep a list.

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  2. Thats a crazy image of the drying journals! What the hell happened to them? Funny how you decorate them. I got into the habit of personalizing my Road Atlas in the 90s. I found the standard nice landscape that the german autoclub usually put on the cover of these huge (30/45cm) books with the detailed maps of all the roads too unspecific. So I would completely cover up the front and back with photos of mine. Reliably, the ringbinding holes on these cardboardy covers would soon start failing, since I had put twice or three times the original weight on them, in prints and scotch tape. Then began the constant repair of the Atlas, and they would rarely last longer than a few months, as I was driving some 80.000km a year across Europe.
    On the tech side, we never had a C64, as all the others in school did. My father worked at IBM, so we were the first around to have the IBM PC which as a child was pretty uninteresting, as the only game we had was “Kings Quest”, does anyone remember that? You commanded that little person walking through the countryside, searching for some treasure, by typing things like “Open gate” or “take dagger” and the system would often reply “you cannot open the gate” or similar frustrating refusals. Meanwhile my friends from school were learning to fly spaceships, fight aliens or align cubes in a row….

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      My neighbors got an Apple IIc.We played games on that for DAYS at a time. And they sucked just as much as the game you describe. Strange figure walking mostly. Kids today would burst into flames of spontaneous rage were they to even encounter a game like this. And we loved it.

  3. I’m curious, has your wife ever read your journals? In terms of letting go and fully writing, are there things that would bother you if they read them? To be clear, I’m not looking for the actual details… just whether you get to that level of honesty in your journals.


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      Yes and yes. I don’t hold back. My wife is always trying to catch a glimpse. As are others at times. My secret weapon is my handwriting. So bad it is like the Enigma Code. I also read to her when I put something down she might enjoy.

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