Packing Journals

As I’ve mentioned recently here, my friend Chris came by this past weekend and helped me get my home office squared away and packed up.  It was a valuable lesson in the worthiness of organization, and cleanliness.  Almost at once, a lot more things were possible in my house than were possible before — yoga and tai chi, visitors coming over and hanging out, cooking for friends and events.  Several friends are coming over tonight in order to build MintyBoost kits from Adafruit, but the real goal is to learn soldering.

One of the tasks Chris set on me was the goal of putting away some of my journals.  I had shelves and shelves and shelves of journals, both blank and filled (but more filled than blank), which I used to use to keep track of my ideas and thoughts quite apart from my blogging.  As blogging has become more a part of my life (and then more recently, more irregular), I’ve tended to fill out fewer and fewer journals.

So I went to an office supply store, bought three large industrial crates, figuring I’d fill 1 or 1 1/2 of the crates with the filled journals.  Instead, I filled two of them completely, and most of a third.  So much for my abilities as a judger of spatial proportions, as Stephen Downes has noted earlier.

As I put my old writings away, though, I was struck by the reality that I’ve been doing what designers always have done — kept records of their thoughts and ideas.  I had pages and pages of the most minute trivia and stupid doggerel… but mixed in there were drawings and ideas, elements of projects and lessons, insights into teaching, and more.  It was literally, two and a half decades of information about my life and my processes that I’d almost completely forgotten about.  It took the process of sorting, reviewing, and packing this stuff away to bring it to my attention again.

It was invigorating.  I was up late dealing with this stuff, because I got such a charge out of it.  Even as I sorted these journals, though, I had to second-guess myself.  What have I lost by putting all this insight and material online, where I never have to sort it or review it in any way, or pack and repack it?  Is there a change that comes about by leaving this material online?

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