The origin of the commonplace predates internet (hell I predate internet…)
In the olden days circa 16 hundreds when the printing press made books more easily available to more people and reading really became a thing. There was talk of information overload and people found it difficult to sort all the informaton they came across. Their solution to this was the commonplace book.
Today we have the internet, books, newspapers, tv and probably a couple i missed. They thought they had information overload? pah! WE have information overload. And also with an increasing diskussion about how everything we do pretty much can be monitored these days there just might be a need for the commonplace even today.
I am facinated with the concept of the commonplace book. It’s a notebook where you collect interesting data, whatever is interesting to you. The commonplace book is in a way a diary but not in a what happened to me today way, no this is more of a what did I discover and what did I think of it way. It’s an organized form of external brain.
There is something about putting pen to paper that makes it easier to connect with a text, it becomes more ingrained in the brain than if you are hitting a keyboard. It’s easier to remember something if you have read it outloud to yourself and written it down. Engage as many of your senses as possible if you really want to remember something. Sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. If you chew a gum while studying, chew the same flavour when you take the test. It’s the same principle as the way we have strong memories connected with certain smells, the smell of a blown out candle always brings me right back to the breakfast table during december when I was a kid. There was always one or more candles burning, counting down to christmas.
The commonplace is a way of interacting on a deeper level with the text and that is on my list for this year. I’m working on becoming a better reader so I think a commonplace of my is a neccessity.
A lot of famous people have used commonplace books so in the sprit of “if a Kardashian is using it it must be good” mabye we should try replacing the Kardashians of the world with the Einsteins. hmm? come on – why not give it a shot?
At the top of this text is a link to where I gather information about the commonplace book if you want to read more about it by people who write better than I do 🙂