inspiration is triggered by the
quips and quotations of others. "
EMILEE DAY, The Complete Book of Inspirational Quotations
In his recent newsletter Austin Kleon, author of Steal Like An Artist and other books, shared that starting a five year commonplace diary was one of the best things he did in 2021. His goal? Not to use it as an actual diary but to write down one good line he heard or read every day. I think he's even included favourites lines from his five year old. By the time I finished reading his samples, I was primed to order the diary and do a similar thing in this new year.
I did wonder how Austin could stick to just one line a day from the dozens of possibilities that must come across his path—I ask myself the same question. We all know social media teems with interesting quips and quotes. Perhaps that's why he chose a tiny diary rather than a sprawling notebook. I begin to see how it forces a person to be alert, to recognize the one line that breaks though all the chatter and makes your mind focus and your heart sing, laugh, shout Eureka.
I ordered the diary, and when it arrived a few days later, I thought I'd made a mistake. I was more than a little dismayed to find it so very tiny in size—I forgot to check the dimensions before buying (about 6.5 x 3.5 inches). I expected something just a little bit bigger. In the photo above, there's a greeting card tucked behind the diary, so you get the idea. It sat on my desk a few days. I'd pick it up, flip it open, and imagine trying to pen a line in such a teeny space - I usually like lots of white space around my quotes.
" The quotations when engraved upon the memory,
give you good ideas. They also make you anxious to
read the authors and look for more. "
SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL
It was such a pleasing little book. I liked the feel of it in my hands. Beautifully bound with a cloth hard cover, boasting a satin ribbon to mark the spot. The endpapers on the inside cover popped in pretty tangerine orange, enlivening my eyes at first joyful glance. With the choice made to keep and use it, I added the floral sticker to the front cover, christening it and making it mine.
The 5 Year Diary is elegant and compact. Designed by Tamara Shopsin, it comes in three colours: blue, black, and red (I picked the red). Oh, and the diary can be started any day of the year, so no one has to wait until next January.
" Those blank lines serve as a gentle encouragement
to live all the days of my life with intention. "
SARAH K. BUTTERFIELD, from an article read on Medium.com
So, I keep my eye open for glimpses of good lines that burst upon my imagination like New Year's fireworks - startling me, inspiring me, tickling my fancy, cheering me on. Of all the possibilities, my job is to choose just one line. I thought it would be difficult, but I'm learning to watch and listen... and wait for what really speaks to me.
Doing the math, at the end of five years, I will have collected 1,826 quotes (includes one Leap Year). A worthy collections, I'd say. To Austin Kleon, 'I can no other answer make but thanks, and thanks, and ever thanks' for this wonderful and almost cheeky pint size venture. You can find the diary HERE.
Here is a peek at a few entries I've made so far in 2022.
Every great poem fulfills a longing
and puts life back together.
I would rather sit in silence for days than let my
hurtful words echo on in someone's heart forever.
Don't try to fix an existing
sentence with minimum effort.
The eternal God is your refuge,
and beneath are the everlasting arms.
FROM DEUTERONOMY 33:27
i carry your heart with me
(i carry it in my heart)
Be on the look out and respond to the need of someone.
Radiate grace. Stay in a field of grace all the time.
It is quite possible to leave your home for a walk
in the early morning air, and return a different
MARY ELLEN CHASE
I urge you to please notice when you are happy,
and exclaim or murmur or think at some point,
'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.'
I pray you know joy in the odd moments,
beauty growing up in the muddy corners . . .
experience God making his 'kindness known
in the midst of a besieged city'.
I dwell in possibility.
* * *
On that note,
I'm wishing you a beautiful day.
Photos are mine