I think it was the George III who is reputed to have said to the great historian Edward Gibbon: “Another damned, thick, square book! Always scribble, scribble, scribble! Eh! Mr. Gibbon?” Apocryphal or not, the sentiment is the apologetic title of another great historian’s book: Scribble, Scribble, Scribble: Writings on Ice Cream, Obama, Churchill & My Mother by Simon Schama.
It is a glorious read that, like all of his work, lives up to John Clive’s assertion: ‘historical wisdom only deserve[s] to endure if it ha[s] a proper quotient of wit, force and literary power.’ No matter your predilections, there is something in Scribble, Scribble, Scribble for everyone. Be it political commentary, travel and food essays, musings on history and passages of prose about the power of art. But today is not a day for book reviews. Instead, as is my common theme, scribbling about my blogging platform.
I have long mused on the idea of adding a notes section to my blog. I have seen it used to good effect by many denizens of the world wide web and my mind has turned on how I may implement. Or rather what I would upload to the implementation.
The what came to me as I was sitting in the bath, like Archimedes. I have a steadily growing folder of ‘thoughts’ from which I pluck the nascent ideas that eventually become articles or my longer form essays. But I have noticed that often something will catch my eye, be jotted down, but then never see the light of screen. Mostly because to unpack the thought would either fall foul of brevity, if it sallied forth in article length format, or consume more research time than I wish to devote if I write it up in an essay. My solution: Jottings.
The format I am adopting is to first surface the lightbulb moment, extol why this tapped me on the mental shoulder, then close with a link to the main article and any additional links which may aid in illuminating the jotting. An example of this format can be seen in my jotting about a recent change by the WHO.
I think this may help with my output which, since I completed #100DaysToOffload, has rather declined. Mostly because it is easy to bookmark an interesting article or scribble a note on my private pad, but the added effort of providing some context in a vaguely legible public format focusses the mind and summons up the blood. A process which will lead to more articles and essays.
Though, perhaps the bigger blocker is trying to complete my PhD. For anyone else who has attempted higher degree research, you will know that after a while the process becomes more a question of will power than mental acuity. I am definitely into the will power section of the thesis and am looking forward to closing the door on that project and opening up another to my next great literary adventure. In the interim, I have my jottings.
Good night, and good luck.