While reading an interview with Neal Stephenson about how he researched and prepped for Quicksilver, I had what can only be called an epiphany about blogs and blogging – basic blogs are nothing more than a modern Waste Book. Sure, you can make a blog much more, with lots of fancy stuff, categories, searches, archives, etc etc etc, but when you get down to it, many blogs are just a way for people to write down the things they have figured out about life.
This blog is the online portion of my own waste book.
Since before the rise of blogging, twitter, etc, I’ve maintained notebooks to record random thoughts and jottings, writing things down that seemed worth keeping, though in no particular order except chronological. Makes it somewhat difficult to search, but over time I’ve come to realize that the point of the notebooks is not so much to be able to go back and find things as it is to write the things down in the first place.
Like many people, I have been familiar with the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci for quite a while. In fact, I think he was probably the inspiration that sparked my keeping of notebooks. (I now have an archive of nearly 15 years worth.) I learned of the waste books of Isaac Newton more recently, from reading Neal Stephenson’s novel Quicksilver and James Gleick’s biography (called, simply, Isaac Newton).
This blog, and those that came before, are at their heart my own personal notes for my own use. The thoughts in my paper notebooks are truly random, stream of consciousness thoughts and doodles. What makes its way to this blog are those things inspired by, or that benefit from, being searchable and being linked to the writings of others.
I hope that my thoughts and writings are as useful to you as the thoughts and writings of yours – and everyone else’s – are to me.