Monday, January 17, 2022

A Pint Size Diary and a Few Good Lines

" For many of us,
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. "

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 

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.

January 1st
Every great poem fulfills a longing
and puts life back together.

January 2nd
I would rather sit in silence for days than let my
hurtful words echo on in someone's heart forever.

January 3rd
Don't try to fix an existing
sentence with minimum effort.

January 5th
The eternal God is your refuge,
and beneath are the everlasting arms.

January 6th
i carry your heart with me
(i carry it in my heart)

January 7th
Be on the look out and respond to the need of someone.
Radiate grace. Stay in a field of grace all the time.

January 8th
It is quite possible to leave your home for a walk
in the early morning air, and return a different
person—beguiled, enchanted.

January 14th
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.'

January 15th
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'.

January 17th
I dwell in possibility.

  * * *

On that note,
I'm wishing you a beautiful day.

Photos are mine


  1. Love this idea. I find my self on Facebook sharing so many good thoughts that after while they all blend together. Better to pick and choose. Thanks.

    1. So true, Lin, there are so many that they begin to blend together.

  2. What a great idea! I love the size of it. You started off with some wonderful quotes.

  3. What an intriguing little book! Every page just waiting to be filled. Think of all the wonderful inspiring quotes it will one day hold! And the exercise of being alert to the perfect quote for the day can’t be anything but good. 😊

    1. Joy, indeed, every page just waiting to be filled. I'm enjoying the exercise so far.

  4. What a lovely little treasure, even blank, and more so once you've filled it! It seems a wonderful way to get the new year underway. I think it was Mae West (most likely in a different context, hehe) who said, Keep a diary and someday it will keep you. I foresee that happening for you with this 5-year project!

    1. Haha! It's hard to imagine being committed to a five-year project. Do you realize how old I'll be in five years. Oh my!

  5. I think it will be ideal even though it is smaller than you expected. I love e.e.cummings quotes, but still wonder why the lower case always! Even in a tuny space you might find room for a little photo or picture that pleases you.

    1. I have wondered that myself, Barbara, about e.e. cummings. One certainly never forgets his poetry when it's all in lower case. Maybe he was a rule breaker at heart. :)

  6. Lovely post! I’ve seen five year journals before, but this has something different. It’s just the right size to tuck into your purse and go. Imagine this: sitting at a cafe and you’re spying for quotes from the others talking around you!

    -Merry K.

    1. It is the perfect size for tucking into a purse and sitting in a cafe catching snippets of conversations. Thanks, Merry, for stopping by.

  7. It will be fun for you to do this. I have kept a journal for many years, first on paper and more recently a digital journal.

    1. I am looking forward to the venture, Ruth. And how do you find journaling digitally? I still love the paper versions - have to really work on my handwriting though - I even started practicing again, just to keep my handwriting legible for myself. :)

  8. How can you possibly choose just one a day? I do like this idea. I do better without a dated journal though. I can miss days without feeling like I've failed at something but still really enjoy it when I can.

    I copied many of these into my quote book.

    1. Jenny, I agree it hardly seems feasible to choose just one a day but I'm going to give it my best effort to look for that one good line each day. Oh yes, I do understand using a non-dated diary, a person doesn't have to keep up with dates, but just write whenever something turns up.

  9. I've kept a quote journal for about two years. I've found everything from movie lines, like "Happy thoughts, darling." from An Affair to Remember to a prayer written by one of my favorite writers, YOU! "Dear Lord, give us strength and grace to carry our mantle of compassion and goodness and kindness every single day. Let us walk in the beauty of your grace and remind us one day at a time, sweet Jesus, that this matters". Thank you for touching my heart and for always inspiring me.

    1. Dear Ellen, I love that movie line "Happy thoughts, darling." I hear Cary Grant, was it he who said it? You've touched my heart today by sharing that prayer back to me. Thank you!

  10. I think this little journal shouts "Brenda," for it seems made for you, a collector of words and thoughts! Enjoy this year . . . no, five years! . . . of searching for the right words and storing them away.

    1. Oh, Cheryl, you do say the loveliest things. Thank you! I'm so enjoying the collecting already.

  11. What a pretty little journal. I use journals of all sizes for different reasons. Enjoy your week my friend!

    1. Using journals of all sizes for different reasons - it sounds delightful. Hope your week is going well, Diane!

  12. Lovely journal, Bren. I should purchase one and fill it with quotes and words I have been collecting since I was seventeen. Have a wonderful week - stay warm and wewll!

    1. It was in my teens as well that I first remember writing down lines from poems and wanting to 'save' them in a notebook. Many got lost over the years, because so often I jotted them on scraps of paper which eventually disappeared. It's a wee bit warmer - bright and sunny today - so we are keeping well and warm. Thanks, Sandra.

  13. This is something I have done for many years. I think the smaller size would be less intimidating. Of all the quotes I've gathered, I have not gathered the ones you've shared here. So many wonderful quotes.

    1. Like you, Vee, I've been gathering favourite lines and quotes in notebooks for years--for me, since I was a teen. I look forward this year to shifting my focus to tracking just the one good line that speaks especially to me.

  14. I enjoy Austin Kleon's writing. What a great idea! I do love notebooks, journals, etc of any shape or size and your diary looks tempting. Enjoy your quotes!

  15. Oh, this is such a lovely idea, Brenda, and you are the loveliest person to keep one of these journals. I've collected quotes for years, here and there in journals and in a dedicated quote book, but they are scattered. This will be a treasure for you to peruse in years to come. I may copy this!

  16. I'd say you've made a very good start!

  17. Brenda this is such a wonderful idea. Already you have quite a few wonderful quotes. Hope your January has brought you many good things. Hugs!

  18. This post inspired me to do a similar thing. Only I decided to do it in blog format. In addition to the quote/passage each day, I am using one of my thousands of scenery photographs.



To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo