Monday, September 14, 2009

An Obsessive Compulsion to Catalogue Stuff

Sunday was cold and drizzly, and a perfect day, I thought, for updating my various "journals" and scrapbooks. Here is the thing, I have counted and I have twelve books that I currently use to keep track of and process the various bits and pieces of information and visual imagery that I come into contact with. Is that a bit excessive, you think? The more creative ones are:
1) My Art Journal, although I hesitate to call it that. In fact, I call it Farewell Nikola, as that is the title of the book I am using as my art journal.
2) My 100 ideas journal.
3) My Doodle Book (a concertina moleskine for my doodles), and
4) "Oh Well" which was supposed to capture thoughts and daily events using drawings and words, but is now kind of defunct. It is almost full though, so I think I might finish it ...

Then there are my scrapbooks. Once I have finished with magazines, I tear out pictures, articles, quotes, etc. and keep them in a big pile in a box, waiting for a rainy Sunday. And then I update my scrapbooks:
5) Make - a book to capture things I see that I would like to make or try out. This is the third volume. Thing is, I have not actually made anything yet.

6) It's Cool - a book of movies that I have seen. It is not exhaustive by any means - I have probably seen 100x more movies (I keep a list on computer), but when I see a review or description of a movie that I've seen and liked, I sometimes take the trouble to tear it out and paste it in.

7) Beautiful Inside - named thus because the outside is ugly, and secondly because it contains images of beautiful interiors.

8) A Book of Rather Nice Clothes - I am not really a fashion fan, but sometimes an image just catches my eye, maybe because of the colours, or sculptural style, or how an outfit is put together. I rarely want to own the pieces, I just like to look at them.

9) A book of Quotes - I write down quotes from books that I read. This is the second volume.

10) My Diary - If that is all I have with me I sometimes record quotes and drawings in here, apart from the usual to do lists and events.

11) A Book of Articles. I used to paste them into an old statistics textbook of mine - this is now full and bulging - so for the past couple of years I have been putting articles in a wicker basket. One day I will paste them in a book. I think.
12) A scrappy little book in which I record definitions of words. I also use it to write summaries of articles I read - my initial idea was so that I could remember the facts better and would become a master at the art of conversation, coming up with gems like" Oh yes, but you have to remember that Cioran was permanently in combat with the mores of enlightened society!" Or "But does environmentalism really involve sacrifice? I would call it competitive altruism!" Or "That is absolute Disneyfication of art! And Roger Scruton would agree with me!". People avoid me at parties, I have noticed.

I haven't yet mentioned the boxes of images I tear out and "file" away in envelopes with titles such as: Landscapes, Figurative, Patterns and Graphics, Flowers & Fruit & Vegetables, Well-known people, Letters & Words.

I do think I have a problem.

15 comments:

Linda Sue said...

LOVE your problem! You have more energy than anyone ought! How do you keep it all straight? I have sticky notes everywhere- that would be my journal...sometimes they are incomplete thoughts or just letters which are intended to remind me of what it was that I was to remember...thinks like: frgy-lish-flormz- I don't know what those things mean!
I would love to spend the rest of the century going through your many journals, one alone might see me through.
I have three journals at the moment- all of them are empty...
By the way, I would find you most interesting at a party...You are invited to all of mine!

aimee said...

your only problem is that you need more time to make these great journals! oh HOW i wish i were this organized...

Sarah said...

No you don't! Your list of books is most interesting. I especially love number 12 and your conversation ideas.
I have a number of books as well, though not as many or as varied. I have my book of books which I have kept for years. I write down every book I read, the author and the date I finished it. I also write the first and last line and sometimes quotes. The first and last line idea came form some novel I read years ago-a spy novel of some sort where this was part of the plot-I have no idea why now. I also have my money book-an extremely boring book of purchases made on my visa card-kept since we got a mortgage and I got a proper bank account and no longer had a visual record of my spending. It is a method that works for me!
I have a year of colour book-stopped in about march. Numerous online project books. An etsy book-no longer kept up as so little cause! A quote book. I also cut out stuff I like but lose it in piles around the place. I used to stick things in my book of books, and still do sometimes. I love your make book and may stela that idea-then never make any of it either! This would have been so much better said in an email but I got half way before thinking that!

Sarah said...

Plus art journal/sketch book-but not at moment due to sketchbook project which is taking all my time! I meant to say that number 12 really made me laugh!

Sarah said...

One more thing I meant to mention-I have been reading about an artist called Rebecca Purcell-in the lovely yet slightly ridiculously titled "Where Women Create" magazine (the title just makes me think of tantrums) She has developed this system of organization and categorization called Organon 9 worlds. I just loved her ideas and so have been very bad and ordered a very expensive book by her called "Interior Alchemy"
Here is a link to part of her website which explains a little about her ideas.http://www.organon9worlds.com/non_wholesale/about_artist/about.html
Of course-you may well already know all about her!

Laurie said...

Wow - that is a lot to keep up with, but I applaud your efforts!

I chose nathalie to do the word of the week but I haven't heard back from her yet. Should I choose another? Are you volunteering?

Leenie said...

Your books look amazing and fascinating! I'm afraid my glue is dried up and I can't find my scissors. I write a lot of notes to myself like Linda Sue and have the same problem understanding them later.

Lady P said...

suggestion - take the box of assorted oh, say, landscape torn and saved images, attach to plain black dress and forget about quoting your finally honed bits of matter - this will either
a. completely alienate you from all further parties. leaving you to have even more time with your journals, which will no doubt have babies and multiply or
b. you will find someone else with the same compulsion and happily while away the rest of the evening assembling your bits of paper arcana into meaningful little treasures, realizing it was all worth it, you are not alone, and that you are even loved for your eccentricities

nathalie et cetera said...

The question is not if you have a problem but where do you find the time? Yikes! I have several notebooks, one for every new big work project and one for the small ones combined, a couple of sketchbooks and a ton of unused notebooks/ sketchbooks, some which I made myself. I always find it hard to start a new notebook. I want it to stay all nice and clean. Maybe I have a problem? :)

p.s. I told Laurie I would choose the week word.

svetlana said...

Maybe when you were the little girl you collected the many scraps of papers and filums? This is what Svetlana thinks. Yes, I am still living although with the little accidents in Russia. But do not worry.

Le 'usband said...

And then La Blogeuse thinks SHE has a problem with all those journals?

Anonymous said...

Oh this is totally delightful, finding out about your problem! Do share more of your twelve madnesses with us... I hope it is not too contagious. Mwah!

Anonymous said...

Oops, didn't realize I was anonymous...

Skosanah said...

... again!

kendalee said...

This makes me smile! Your journals are great and a kindred cataloguing spirit you are... to me, this seems entirely normal. Where's the problem? ;)