Daydreaming on Paper
June 2015
Random Commentary

Although I enjoy crafting a lengthy, detailed and illustrated narrative about my glamorous life as much as the next gal, there are many times and many moments when I am much too lazy for all of that. Or, maybe I want to record an observation that is amusing but not worth fleshing out into a full diary entry. Or, maybe I just need to vent, empty my brain of the kind of strong but short-lived emotion that most of us experience at various times during the day. For all of those reasons and others, I turn to a special section in my notebook that I like to call Random Commentary. The structure of these pages is nothing special: two columns - one for the date and the other for my thoughts and observations. Yet, this simple setup provides a framework for capturing a wide and eclectic range of useful, trivial, insightful, and amusing memorandums that might otherwise go unrecorded.

I like to note the date and time of each entry, but otherwise there are no rules for Random Commentary. Its sole purpose is to allow me to get thoughts, impressions, and ideas out of my head and onto paper. I use it the way that many people use Twitter:

  • To express emotions without context
  • To record witty haiku composed while traveling by public transportation
  • To note the turkey vulture just seen on the roof of the neighbor's house
  • To capture funny bits of overheard conversations
  • To jot down interesting facts and statistics gleaned from blogs, books, and magazines
  • To pat myself on the pat after a great workout
  • To rejoice over the arrival (finally!) of the half-dozen boxes of Thin Mints that I ordered seemingly decades ago
  • To resolve not to eat all of the aforementioned cookies at one sitting
  • To record a bon mot or clever turn of phrase to use in my next article
  • To copy the definitions of words or concepts that have been on my mind lately
  • To note popcorn seasoning ideas that I want to try
  • To marvel over the fact that there is someplace in the world where one can buy, for actual human consumption, a hot dog covered with cheese and wrapped in fried chicken
  • To squee about the new Batman stamps available at the post office
  • To record the brilliant but catty remarks that I am too polite to say out loud
  • To paste in the fortune from my fortune cookie
  • To note for the record how fabulous my hair looks that day

The "random" aspect is what, to me, makes this collection of scribblings so interesting to browse through later. Each snippet captures a specific moment or feeling in a way that creates a sense of immediacy that regular journal entries don't always have. Each page is a log of erratic nows, a commonplace book of instants.

My Random Commentary entries tend more toward words than images, but I do sometimes add casual artistic elements. Doodles and illustrations, stamped images, stickers, and decorative tape often adorn the margins, and I use this casual space to try different colors of ink, different pen nibs, unusual lettering, and colored pencil highlighting to enhance the words themselves. The resulting pages are hardly words of art, but they are fun to look at and the process makes me happy. That's what this is all about, right?

Take a few minutes to create a section for simple, two-column log pages in your notebook and keep it ready to capture thoughts, observations, interesting facts, ideas, mini rants, and silly brain dumps whenever the mood strikes. The individual entries may seem frivolous, but the collected whole can become a valuable supplement to your regular writing.

Happy Scribbling!


A Peek At My Random Commentary

(11 pictures)

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