Writing a wrong

If you are a regular visitor to ND&B you will be aware that I have recently written a lengthy account of my formative years birding during the 1970s (you can download it by visiting the rather grandly named 'ND&B Publications' tab above this post and underneath the blog header.) I was only able to bring together such a detailed account because, at the time of the observations, I had written at length about them and kept all of my notebooks. There were some memories strong enough to not have needed a written history to refer to, but many more that did.

I have been heartened to have received a positive feedback to the project, and what with the enjoyment that I took from producing it, have started on the next one - based on my 1980s birding experience. I started to look through my notebooks from that period of time and found out something troubling - my enthusiasm for narrative and description was, at times, deserted in the mid-1980s. It wasn't completely abandoned, as particularly good days still get a lavish write-up, but sometimes all that I had committed to paper was a list of counts. If I attempt the 1990s and 2000s then I will be relying on the memory banks big time.

A swapping of messages with Gavin Haig this afternoon got me admitting that, in some ways, blogging has saved my 'notebook narrative'. I suppose that this is down to writing for an audience (however pompous that sounds). You just write for yourself in a notebook, there is nobody to try and impress or entertain. For example, all of the time during the winter of 2017-18 that I was hunting for Hawfinches, this blog hosted thousands of words that I wrote about the experience, whereas my notebook is just a list of dates, places and numbers. (You can download these extended memories, handily bundled together, by going to the 'ND&B Publications' tab above.)

My notebooks are but a shadow of what they used to be. Maybe I should use them not so much as a depositary to place my counts, but as a place to store memories, sparked not just by the species that I observe, but also the people and places that share them.

Comments

Gibster said…
To misquote the mighty Buggles, 'Blogging Killed the Notebook Star'.
Steve Gale said…
No Seth, Blogging resurrected it!
Gavin Haig said…
I'm with Steve on that. Blogging has given me a birding journal that I never had, even in the days when I did keep a notebook and write descriptions to a reasonably conscientious degree. Reading old NQS posts has often provided me with encouragement and inspiration at quiet times. And being public - unlike a private notebook or journal - a blog has the potential to inspire others too. Long live the blog!
Steve Gale said…
Agree with all of that Gav!
DaveBirdman said…
I just put my brushes down to say Hi :)
Steve Gale said…
Hi Dave. Do we know each other in real life?

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