“My God, it’s full of stars!”

The nerdier among you will recognize the quote above as being the last words spoken by Dave Bowman as he entered the monolith in the book version of 2001: a SpaceOdyssey. The line was not spoken in the original movie version of the story.

If you were to peruse the shelves of the book case upstairs, or the inside of my everyday carry bag for work, you would find notebooks of various sizes, materials and colors. The main daily working journal I am now using is a bright red Leuchtturm1917 one, slightly wider than the usual black Moleskine or orange Rhodia that I have historically favored.

It was a gift from my loving wife, brought back in her magic black suitcase from Europe, where she is always scanning for things I might like (usually involving chocolate, but not this time). Its cover is sturdy and bright, its paper is smooth and heavy enough to be substantial, but light enough to absorb moisture form the air if you sit outside on the front porch after days of heavy rain (yes, tonight).

It takes ink joyfully. Ideas glide onto its surface. Its dot matrix printed on the page allows for minimum structural organization and maximum creativity for those kinds of days. It has a table of contents section, numbered pages (250 plus end notes sheets), and a heavy stock storage pocket in the back. I have several dedicated pages in the very front and the very back that hold contents, hikes to research, budget items, and airport codes. (Yes, I am that guy.) I usually start each day at work with items on one or maybe two pages that I work on and process throughout the day, transferring some of the pertinent information to my digital information system, some of it being completely dealt with and put to bed in the analog world by the end of the day.

I really like this notebook (thank you again, my love), but I love what it is becoming since I started to use it on 5-9-19. The words in this book tell the story of my daily grind and my work life and thought processes, sure. The best part of the notebook, though, is the inside front cover, which is telling the story of my life. You will find a quote there that I am trying to follow this year. “Eat half, walk twice, give three times and love endlessly.” You will see a visitor pass from a local hospital where I needed to go see a patient for a court evaluation, the same hospital that I used to practice psychiatry in over thirty years ago. (The doctors lounge in that hospital had the best platter of huge, yummy cookies I have ever had anywhere, but that is another story for another day) It has a small purple sticker with a nautical motif that reminds me of our recent trip to Montreal QC and the Pointe-à-Callierè Montreal Archaeology and History Complex, a place filled with history and technology perfectly combined and on display for learning and pure visual pleasure.

In the middle of that front inside cover is a large sticker from the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area gift shop, which we visited after taking a ride in a Petersburg boat with the two oldest grandchildren from Chattanooga. There is nothing like the combination of local history, water, and nature to inspire any of us, all of us.

Off to the side are two odd looking additions to this page. One is tiny Verizon SIM card from an iPhone, and the other is the paperclip-like tool that helped to remove said SIM card from its thin plastic cradle. The tool is made of liquid metal, a technology that was bought by Apple years ago, but that it has only used to build these little tools, to the best of my knowledge.

One can often be better known to others by what he says as he introduces himself, but make no mistake, in my notebooks you can learn who I am in two ways.

One is by reading what I am thinking and how I am solving day to day problems that present themselves to me. The other is to watch the accumulation of pictorial evidence of where I’ve been, what I’ve experienced, and where I will be heading next. Pictures, stickers, quotes, tools, they are all part of who I am and why I am.

Only one way to describe my notebooks:

“My God, they’re full of stuff!”

One thought on ““My God, it’s full of stars!”

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