Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Emerson approves of my listmaking

"The simple knot of Now & Then will give an immeasureable value to any sort of catalogue or journal kept with common sense for a year or two. See in the Merchant's compting room for his peddling of cotton & indigo, the value that comes to be attached to any Blotting book or Leger; and if your aims & deeds are superior, how can any record of yours (suppose, of the books you wish to read, of the pictures you would see, of the facts you would scrutinize) - any record that you are genuinely moved to begin & continue - not have a value proportionately superior? It converts the heights you have reached into table land. That book or literary fact which had the whole emphasis of attention a month ago stands here along with one which was as important in preceding months, and with that of yesterday; & next month, there will be another. Here will occupy but four lines & I cannot read these together without juster views of each than when I read them singly."

Journals, April 15-16, 1839

I keep a sort of memorandum book, just jotting down the events of the day. Most days are pretty empty. I was inspired in some way by reading James Boswell's journals (the first volume, The London Journal, is a delightful masterpiece), but I don't include much real writing like he had. I assume I am keeping this for some future version of myself. That's what Emerson is really getting at here.

No comments:

Post a Comment