Friday, December 26, 2008

The Ghost Notebook 1

I noticed in my recent self-hypnosis sessions (a nice and oddly seasonal way to send yourself to sleep) that I was putting the lost notebook to quite another use: ghost-writing new entries.

Specifically, in the Hypnopompics, I find myself noting down those texts or fragments thereof I've been composing in the dreamworld. (My sleep world equator of the Dead Zone of the true middle of the nacht is approached through the Madrugada Straits, thence into the Hypnogogics. After a refreshing taza de chocolate caliente with Christopher Walken's hair, it's back out via the Hypnopompics before landing on the Bloody Radio Fourland.)

I tend to have flicked to the back of the Lost Notebook for this purpose, finding myself a clean page rather as one turns over the pillow, and noting down those remarks I have for years tried to memorise as I fell asleep, or find myself scribbling frantically on melting sheets of paper and stuffing under dream representations of said pillow in the sad belief they'll still be there when I wake.

The few entries copied down so far therefore define a new ethereal identity for the notebook, which reminds me of a remark Rachael Ogden made about the entries I'm planning to make in this blog, but have not yet written down. She noted that this was another reliance on memory very like the use I'm trying to put that ramshackle device to in relation to lost items: a virtual notebook of future entries, instead of a lost notebook of actual entries. And now there's a ghost notebook of dream entries.

So far there are five notes, a pentatonic arriving in the following order: one was a memory of a dream from a previous occasion I scribbled down once I realised this was an option; three were the actual texts I was waking up with when I realised I could use the notebook; and the last happened on the morning when I remembered I would have to begin this entry.

They mark another stage I realise now has been holding this blog back a little: the inclusion of actual entries, rather than my thoughts about losing said entries. I do have a reluctance I've noted elsewhere about including online what I persist in thinking of as the real thing rather than mere verisimilitudes thereof -- light verse rather than poetry, previously published reviews rather than straight-to-blog cultural commentary. This relates, I think to the identity scatter I practise in relation to sites in general, and possibly to the manner I assemble poems into books in particular.

Of course this can simply be assigned to the virtues of protecting one's sources (don't poke the muses with a stick being pretty good advice) and most becoming modesty. But that would be rather less than half of the inconvenient facts. The truth is, technique arises in part from habit, and, at earlier points in my career, I may well have used text in a rather passive-aggressive manner to, simultaneously, hide and display, with the result that a weary world picked up on one or two fragments. Although I'm trying to approach greater directness, still, who's got the time to put it all together? Is there even any evidence that I'm putting it all together?

Why I do this is presumably to do with my background: as the self-styled gifted child of a dominating parent from a lower middle class background, I classified myself as exposed by my own 'gifts.' By which I meant such terrifying crises as being at university, or getting published. I was used to the almost self-sufficient world of the only child, which confuses inner monologue with the right to dictate terms, even though I thought of myself as possessing little or no bargaining power.

Dundee, despite the overlooked presence of what now seems a veritable microAthens of peers, was an empty city where the big ghostie people pursued the phantom of that existence I had found so enigmatic and significant as a boy, while my imaginary insect self buzzed around the giant gutters. Oxford, far more so. I was simultaneously too close to and too far away from my subject to be able to put it into any thematic context.

Much of that case persists, especially when it comes to the small matter of handing over the sweeties: I don't like sending poems off to magazines in any constructive, tactical manner, whereas, if someone asks me, I'll usually get round to giving them some. Ditto with reviews, articles, broadcasts -- while others tout, I wait politely to be asked. The amazing thing is that anyone ever asks me to do anything.

Part of the whole endeavour here and elsewhere is just not to recover the notebook, but understand why I made it and what its loss signifies. To move from that corner of the overly-detailed fresco back far enough to get some idea as to what the whole thing might actually be, accepting that it just might not be either representation or abstraction.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Consolations of the Lost

Perhaps one of the most famous lost notebooks is a collection of the mathematician Ramanujan's notes from the last year of his life, though it was only designated as 'lost' when it was found. This is, I believe, an example of irony, or at least it appears as such from my perspective. The line that it was, for mathematicians, the equivalent of discovering a tenth symphony by Beethoven, non-mathematicians, is interesting. It implies that Ramanujan's book could be somehow appreciated by mathematicians in much the same way as a Beethoven symphony could by music-lovers (a set which of course would include mathematicians), and this is obviously flawed in just the right way to point up one of the central concerns underlying this blog.

That enquiry is: what is the relation between a thing (obtainable or otherwise) and those other things that are asserted to be its equivalents? What can I really produce here: an imitation of the notebook, or a type of detailed allusion to it? The role of will is obviously crucial: the original notebook was constructed by a series of accumulations of more or less unrelated decisions to write, and its identity as a single notebook was not particularly intended. By losing it, however, its identity has now become unfortunately singular. But is the act of will required to produce a version of it, however fragmentary in process or result, similarly singular?

While I ruminate on this theme (which has, naturally, only presented itself as a result of loss), I thought it might be entertaining to begin a list of the lost. There are, of course, lots of far more prestigious examples of books gone missing than my miserable case, and many of these were gathered in Stuart B. Kelly's witty Book of Lost Books, a highly-recommended guide for those struggling to come to terms with this particular experience. The consolation of contemplating just how many books -- philosophic treatises, novels, plays and poems -- have gone missing over and because of the millennia is, to put it mildly, debatable, but in the absence of other effective therapies, one can but try.

I rather liked this passage in Charlotte Higgins' piece on the Greeks in the Guardian a few weeks ago:

'We will never completely grasp ancient Greece. An enormous wealth of literature, art, architecture and other artefacts have survived but, for every survival, there are a thousand losses. We have 20 dramas by Euripides, but we know that his complete works numbered 90 plays. For Aeschylus, we have seven out of 90 extant. And for Sophocles, just seven out of 123. Works that were seen as masterpieces in antiquity are nothing but dust, ashes and the occasional quote in other texts.'

During the same summer that the notebook recorded with a degree of closeness I can fantasise about, but no longer assess, I was struck by a passage in Maria Rosa Menocal's fascinating book on what we persist in thinking of as Moorish Spain, The Ornament of the World. She was writing about Ibn Hazm's little book, The Neck-Ring of the Dove, an impressively influential work: its brief catalogue of thirty of the major tropes of Arabic love poetry finds echoes in the troubadours, courtly lovers, sonneteers and concettists of successive centuries. Menocal says, 'This resume of complex conceits, and some of the poetry that exemplified them, was a work of powerful nostalgia and recolection, both personal and communal...The Neck-Ring was a tribute to a world of courtliness that Ibn Hazm had just seen obliterated, and that seemed every day more likely to vanish completely.'

As pertinently for this blog, it was among the few which survived of the works of this cantankerous old man of eleventh century Andalusian letters, who wrote around four hundred books.

Another important Medieval writer, this time from the Abbasid rather than the Umayyad end of the Arabic world, was the tenth-century traveller from Baghdad, Mas'udi. I bought his Meadows of Gold in that nifty little Penguin series on Great Journeys (everyone should acquaint themselves with a few of these -- Chekhov's account of his journey to Sakhalin Island, for instance, has already marked itself as one of those books that people 'borrow' from me and never return). It's full of what often turns out to be the first appearances of nagging little details you remember from elsewhere -- the Jewish kingdom of the Khazars, for instance, though one that stood out for me was the first reference to what is present-day Somalia (I was translating the great Somali poet Gaariye with Martin Orwin throughout this period): 'The whole of this coast is without resources, and its one export today is the incense called kundur [frankincense].'

As you've no doubt anticipated, Mas'udi wrote thirty six books, of which only two survive, the titles of which are delightful enough to require quoting in full: The Meadows of Gold and Mines of Precious Gems, and The Book of Admonition and Revision. That latter name could well stand as a draft title for the final goal of this project, a version of a notebook that was never intended to be a book, a version which is inevitably incomplete, but only in reference to that notebook, itself an extract from an ongoing project.

Any further examples of lost works you care to send me will receive a sorrowful welcome here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Visit to the Hypnotist

In recent weeks I've taken to wandering the streets crying out like the ghost of Whitman, 'Oh notebook, my notebook! You were my library and playpark, my outer dream and my inner net!' I also hang out in North Shields Netto asking the refrigerated chickens in a Ginsbergian frenzy, 'Are you my notebook?'

No I don't. I'm so busy I'm struggling to put down the next five entries for this blog which I have 'written' in my head (more on this concept of what is already 'written' in the mind elsewhere.) But recently (before I went off to a festival and on a tour and embarked on mucho teaching), having just done a reading, I was having a quiet pint outside Venezuala's Bolivar Hall, just off the Tottenham Court Road, with brother brodyagi Andy Croft and Paul Summers. I'd gone through the potential scenarios of partial recovery, including a return to Moscow, when Paul said why not visit a hypnotist?

This immediately seemed a necessary part of this very project -- and I was encouraged by his tale of a composer who had retrieved an entire lost manuscript by this method, which put a similar goal in my mind.

I didn't only want to know where and when I might have lost the notebook, I wanted that particular twenty page passage from it concerning the trip we had taken to Moscow. Here were the closely-detailed descriptions of stations and passengers -- and the beginnings of drafts -- I particularly needed if my portion of the book was to go ahead according to my usual compositional method.

So I duly visited the hypnotist, who lived in a bungalow in Ponteland and specialised in past life regression, and found he was an old habitue of the Newcastle writing scene, and had known the likes of George Charlton in the early nineties, before I'd moved to the North East. Perhaps this (hypnotism? reincarnation?) is what happens to a percentage of all writers or readers of poetry. Whether influenced by his own past or not, he was certainly happy to try regressing me to two periods -- one the week before when the notebook had been lost, and the other six months previous to that in Moscow -- in the hope that some key details would re-emerge. But, he warned me, chances were fifty-fifty in such cases.

I set out the same recorder I'd taken round the Metro, capturing the clangs and whooshes, thunderings and clip-footed hurryings of that underground system, and was first relaxed, though without the twangs, plinks and plashings of the proffered muzak, and then encouraged to visualise a Secure Place. This, for me, is our bed in Crete, enveloped in the great cube of a mosquito net (or whatever you call a box where the sides are rectangles), but with window and french windows open to the hillside. I used to like sneaking in for a siesta and listening to the hoarse shout of cicadas on the the vine, a few tardy cockerels, and the sealion-meets-bicycle horn bark of a particularly unfortunate dog. In such scenarios, the notebook would always be tucked snugly under my pillow with a pen.

I was then taken back in what I supposed was a shallow trance (it was no doubt much deeper than I realised), attempting to access memories of first the more distant, and second the more proximate time. In each case I was surprised, firstly by how vivid the sense of inhabiting the memory was, and secondly by how much an act of will this was, by how clearly it was a memory I was riffling through as one riffles through papers, and not a reliving of a preserved experience.

I had, for instance, a strong impression of walking backwards and forwards surreptitiously recording the sound of the escalators in the first station we visited, Planernaya. I also had a vivid image of my feet marching along beneath me as I headed for the car on the fateful morning of Loss of Notebook. But everything was shot through with unlit spaces in which I began to distract myself half-consciously, half-hypnogogically with the image of the notebook as a koala bear's nose. Some aspect of me clearly wasn't taking things seriously enough.

I shouldn't have been surprised by that strong sense that this was not a live unfolding of a somehow recorded event, having done a collaborative project on the nature of memory with the eminent neuropsychologist Martin Conway, and having had conversations on this subject with the novelist and neuropsychologist Charles Ferneyhough, I was quite aware that each memory is a construct, rebuilt each time according to the viewpoint of the self you are at the point of recall, rather than a distinct object, perfectly preserved in the brain. I was even aware that this concept of the memory was likely to interfere with a process of hypnosis which assumed the possibility of perfect recall. I was all round too aware for the kind of flat-out sybilline intoning I had hoped for.

Equally, I knew fine that the carefully-assembled visualisation I was attempting was a mild version of the sort of inner journeying I had embarked on during my more chemically-stimulated twenties, and that a vivid interior life, borrowing from the eidetic states between sleeping and waking and including marsupials and, frequently, Mark E. Smith, was already very much part of my creative processes.

But I was heartened by the hypnotist's advice that this was a process strengthened by practice, and to a certain extent this has proven to be the case. I can now, through a process of self-hypnosis roughly parallel to the state of savasana I've been popping myself into since adolescence, strongly imagine the notebook and very roughly 'read' its contents, even though this does not amount to a process of dictation from some inner muse, and this in turn stimulates more detailed memories of the Moscow trip than I would otherwise experience. Hope stirs in the busiest of pigeon-shaped bosoms.

Of course, when I checked, I found I hadn't switched the recorder on.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Categories of loss

There are a number of types of entry I would usually make in a notebook, as opposed to the various other books and devices in and on which I record my adrenaline-driven ramblings. By listing first these types, and then those instances of these I can remember, even just as headings beneath headings, I will then try to recall the few fragments I can of the lost entries. Realistically, of course, I can only hope for a tiny rate of recovery, but then I have rarely been realistic about any creative goal I've set myself, and it would clearly be counterproductive to start now. Each heading will eventually be expanded into an entry, however tiny, however, to adapt the terminology of Wikipedia, stubby.


(The beginnings or constituent parts of actual poems. Here I'm fortunate, in that I'd recently gone through the notebook and extracted these up to about the middle of August. Including these will be a propaganda victory in the war upon oblivion.)


(From books, newspapers, films, radio and television. Many of these are of course permanently lost, but, as I often respond directly to my reading, it may be possible, through the simple agency of speed-reading everything I looked at over the last eighteen months, to recover some of these.)


I was very struck by a review, probably in the THES, of a book by Paul Ricoeur which had a concluding chapter on the ethics of translation. This was probably Reflections On The Just. I've since picked up if not waded through a few of Ricoeur's works, and could no doubt retrieve the very review from our senior common room.

A subsection of this would be notes on overheard conversations:

I can for instance remember sitting in S-bux listening to a young woman expostulating on how extraordinary she found umbrellas (as sentiment I heartily agree with), and how grossed out she was by 'elderly' mothers (don't concur with her on this.

Then there was the ex-serviceman in the Tynemouth Lodge who delivered a few insights into the actions of the Paratroopers on Bloody Sunday. The worst part of the loss here is, of course, the particular phrasing, which had a lot to do with me copying a statement down in the first place. I remember him remarking on his age and health, 'I'm clinging to the gutter by my fingernails.'


(One of these will be easy to construct, as Debbie bought me almost everything on it for my birthday. The last such I can probably remember with a trip to the bookshop where I made it. It was focussed, like much of my recent reading, on Mediterranean and Eastern European history, and there was definitely one book about The Siege of Vienna in the wake of reading Lords of the Horizon and talking to Austrian poet Bernhard Widder.)

Journal entries

(These are entries I should have made in my journal, but which, for convenience's sake, I jotted down in my notebook. These go to the heart of the project, as I was having a torrid time in relation my workload/creativity balance, and made lots of plans and observations I would dearly like to remember.)


At present I can remember one reflection on the flaws in our definitions of nothingness that has an ironic tang now. It was made by the light of my mobile phone as we were driven through the countryside between Shanghai and Anhui Province. Then there was a puzzled entry on what a 'world poet' might be at the present time.

Plots and plans

(I frequently note down ideas that are meant to get me into some project or other that has stalled or that I have stalled before starting.)


Foremost amongst the stalled would be the McGonagall book, a novel which I have written plenty of fragments for without really getting stuck into: two ideas were outlined in the notebook. The Sleeper and the Twelve Tasks. I'll go into these in more depth in separate entries. One subtitle I happened upon thanks to the Goodwin book was The Autohagiography.

The other main area I'd welcome total recall in relation to would be the long poem I was contemplating as a sequel to the (not very successful) Laurelude. This languished under the under-inspiring title The Discursion, and apart from deciding that every poem would have a definite article in its title, I also went on at length about the various combinations of stanzas that made up the mystical unit 28. (Why 28 is at all relevant to the process is another enigma I wish I could remember.)


(This is the best title I can come up with for the sort of doodling and play with languge which was one of the notebook's principle purposes. I'd play with a phrase, sometimes a mishearing, or list odd rhymes I rarely got round to using, or produced parodies, or just sketched with language, an action halfway between recording and drafting.)


Likely to be far and few because of the nature of these beasts.

Projects and places

(Because I am very much a poet of passive response, often to place, projects and places are pretty much indistinguishable -- if I went somewhere, I usually wanted to write about it. And I went somewhere a lot during this period, too much in fact and therefore was in the midst of various projects, including the central loss this project is about, the Moscow trip. These will have to become separate headings)


Gurnards Head (Cornwall) - early 07

Copied out quite a lot from two texts there: Bruce Chatwin's magisterial What Am I Doing Here? and Tom Baker's dippy 'Who Is Tom Baker?' The questioning seemed very appropriate to the place I found myself in. The first was an extract about Herzog and walking, the second about ironing. I slightly prefer the second activity to the first.

Athens, Georgia (and Asheville, NC)

One of my favourite clippings came from this short stay: an account of a mobster shot in the head but saved by his hatband, 'I din't do/feel nuthin,' he mumbles, and must be retrieved.

Crete at Easter

Jerusalem in May

Rome in June

- I remember copying down the name of the 'rampa' near our hotel, called after a linguist or 'glottologico'? And the remark of an old man on the bus when the air condition started 'raining' on us: 'In Roma, null e impossibile.' (Though of course my Italian will be out for both of these.

Crete in the Summer

Guangzhou in September

- I remember one phrase in relation to a jade-clad figure recovered from a royal tomb: 'green lobster man'

Yellow Mountain in October

Poland in March 08

This was Lodj, which we (a group including Kate Clanchy and Christopher Reid) were driven to from Warsaw. I remember writing down 'komputery' because I was fascinated by the way a Polish plural became, homophonically, an English adjective. And the word for 'beware.' And some details from a setting of Auden by the daughter of the architect Lutyens that I can probably research without difficulty. There was probably quite a lot about borshch, the 'Jewish' restaurant and statuary -- their much-polished noses in particular being echoed/reflected in Ploshchad Revolutsiy metro the following month.

Moscow in April/May

South Wales in June

Crete in the Summer

Novi Sad (Serbia) in August

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Last entry, first recovery

On Friday night I threw down my chopsticks, leapt up from my usual semi-comatose position in front of telly and takeaway, ran to the kitchen, extracted my notebook from my jacket pocket, and wrote down the following:

'Your opinion's not valid, because you're not wearing a disguise.'

Keen followers of The Adverts will recognise this as being paraphrased from some bank ad or other, where the guy's fake moustache falls into his coffee. As ever, I liked it for its possibly inadvertent subtext that only those who assume the facade of authority, normality, maturity will be paid heed to. Also because it alludes to the independent life of moustaches, something I've long suspected.

Of course, because I left the notebook out rather than replacing it immediately, the circumstances leading to its loss could begin. Was it worth it for so trivial a note? But of course the whole purpose of a notebook is to cancel all such hierarchies as a first gesture. You copy something down because it attracts, even commands your attention, not because it's 'important'. It must speak to your underlying interests, themes and obsessions, even when you have not yet fully articulated what those are.

The part of you which copies things down, which jots down phrases and fragments before even knowing what they might form part of, which allows itself to be led by process, decidedly does not wear a disguise, because it is more 'normal', having assessed something as trivial, to forget it. That way nothing is begun, no articulation can be attempted, no conclusion will ever be reached.

The word 'trivial', by the way, comes from the same root as 'trivium', the first three of the liberal arts to be studied in medieval scholasticism: grammar, rhetoric and logic. It carries the definition in Chambers 'to be found anywhere' with the implication this makes it of little value. Its root in Latin is the place where three roads meet, 'tres via,' a place associated not only with decision-making, but with the uncanny through its associations with the goddess Hekate (Trivia to the Romans).

So which is being devalued by the modern usage: our learned ancestors or the chthonic goddess? It reminds me of the way as children in Dundee we used to dress up at Halloween before we understood this was supposed to be an American custom. We were supposed to be making the scary fun, though perhaps another interpretation would be we made it tolerable. Perhaps that's what to trivialise something means. Certainly we called ourselves 'guisers', to validate the exercise.

There's a nice confrontation here between the rational and irrational which matches my experience. The loss of the notebook is mysterious, so I attempt to deal with it first by logic, and then by assembling a sort of grammar of the lost categories, and a rhetoric of recovery, actions which in themselves are pretty barking. But then so was my initial note-taking. Was I abolishing categories or inverting them?

Whilst we're on latration (barking), Hekate always liked dogs. Dogs, horses and snakes. Not sure how she feels about moustaches.

Lost without rational explanation

I always carry a notebook round with me, and a sketchbook, a clipboard, and a journal. Frequently I carry a camera, and a mobile phone. And a large manbag to carry these items plus books, pens, papers, a minature umbrella, a miniature copy of the Master and Margarita in Russian which I can't read, a phasin (stripy wrapround garment my brother-in-law brought me back from Thailand, usually for ladies), ipod, headphones, cables. In my pockets are various examples of plastic cutlery, either sugar or mustard, paracetemol or some other pills, earplugs (occasionally), frequently my passport. Receipts, postcards (one of Tommy Cooper, one of St George by the Cretan painter Emmanuel Tzanes), small maps of wherever I am. And my notebook.

Which is currently a small moleskine, though I resisted getting anything so brand-y for a long time. It was bought almost two years ago, and the spine started giving out a while back, so I repaired it, once unsuccessfully with some black tape that kept unsticking and sliding off; once, recently, at the kitchen table in Crete in fact, with a wide strip of ridgy black tape that seemed to sort it out. There are entries in it dating as far back as Jan 07, the beginning of a tumultuous period for me creatively, and continuing up till the night before last Saturday, September 6th. When I lost it.

How I lost it, logic tells us, must remain a mystery, though the specifics of this mystery are even more baffling than I usually find the universe. I was rushing to get ready for a trip to the Bristol Poetry Festival, but had everything together in just about enough time to get to the station. It was raining, heavily, and I had forgotten to get myself a raincoat, but it was just a matter of popping to the bathroom for it, unzipping its winter lining, and slipping it on. We jumped in the car and sped off to meet our first traffic jam. Was I going to make my train? Did I have the organisers' phone numbers? Where was my mobile? I felt for it in the phone pocket on my jacket -- and it was missing. Most unfortunate, but there was no time to turn back -- I'd have to take my wife's instead and she could use mine.

Now, there is a point where the memory resembles fiction, because, although you can remember something happening, you can't remember whether it really happened or you can simply imagine it plausibly happening. I 'remember' that, whilst checking for my phone in my other pockets, I noticed that I didn't have my notebook. I'm 'fairly sure' I thought something along the lines of 'I've forgotten both of them -- this is hardly auspicious.' I seem to have said something along these lines to my wife, because when she came home, she searched for both items, although the evidence is I only texted her from the station to say my train was delayed. That would seem to imply that I said something about the notebook as well as the phone, and that I did not have the notebook before I left the car at Newcastle Station.

Of course, I could have trapped the notebook between jacket and raincoat, only for it to fall out as I got out of the vehicle and hurried to my train. Would I have noticed? Possibly, as I had to get my bag out of the back of the car, so didn't just rush off. But the notebook could have fallen there and been swept away without being handed in to Lost Property (I've checked and rechecked, naturally).

Equally, it could have fallen somewhere between the house and the car, though the car was parked directly outside the house, and we did have a short conversation standing outside the house but within the garden about whether to take my keys or not. If it had fallen here, surely we would have noticed, or my wife would have on her return. That leaves the possibility it fell down just as I was getting into the car and that, in the time it took for her to complete her round trip, someone came along and pocketed or purposively threw away the item. Because it hasn't been handed in to the police (I've checked).

By the time I'd got on the train I'd gone through all my pockets and my bag again. I suppose I might have missed it, then it got lost whilst I removed my outer clothing in order to take off my jumper. I checked (and rechecked) that nothing had been handed in at Kings Cross. But of course, you would conclude, I would conclude, these are all less likely than the scenario in which it never left the house. Certainly, I assumed so and exhorted my wife repeatedly over the weekend to check in all the obvious places. Of course I'd been distracted by that business with the raincoat and its fascinating unzippable lining, and I'd simply left phone and notebook behind. Except she searched car, kitchen table, living room table, bedroom table, study table, and all points between, and couldn't find it.

Of course, on my return (the event went very well incidentally, despite all these harbingers of disaster to the primitive of mind), I would be able to see what she had not. I'm a good looker-for-things and she's not got the same investment in finding it. Except, after hours of searching meticulously in all the aforementioned places, going through all my papers, searching through drawers I might have stood near, looking under behind and within both sofa and bed, going though all the papers to be recycled, all the rubbish bins, several bags of papers that had nothing to do with the whole business but happened at least to be bags full of papers, and pacing slowly up and down the garden and indeed the street, peering under bushes and in gutters, I still couldn't find my notebook.

I searched in the dark, I searched in the daylight, I even searched in my dreams, finding it twice: once 'behind the seat, and to my left' (a fair description of the past), once in the fridge, where a helpful woman had placed it. I had actually looked in the fridge the previous evening, when things were getting bad. Eventually I had to conclude that, while the notebook presumably existed somewhere in the universe, and while all logical supposition would lead one to conclude the high likelihood that it was still in the house, no amount of looking could actually locate it. Moving rapidly from denial through depression to a sort of acceptance, I began to think about what I should do next.

There were a lot of units of writing of great personal value in the notebook, some of which were of professional importance to me (I'll go through the contents in another post), some of which, in a sense I couldn't do without. But here I was without them, so, still allowing logic its head, they would have to be replaced. That is the the purpose of this blog. I will try to remember, as far as is within my powers, the contents of the notebook. Many, perhaps the vast majority of entries are as lost as the physical object. But their categories survive, although I never thought of them particularly as categories. In some cases I can make a stab at reconstructing a fragment or a simulacrum of their contents. As I do so I will also go further into my motives for this exercise, and why I've decided to carry it out in a quasi-public forum.