Notebooks

song in my head — “Superposition” by Young The Giant

I’m obsessed with notebooks. Journals. Planners. All these tangible things meant to map out the intangible—the project or the day. The goal. The vocation. The life. If only I can get it all down on paper, we think. Then it will be real. Then it will be attainable.

Right?

I hunt for organizational tools like a homeless man hunts trash cans for food, desperation quickening with every listless, overturned recepticle. ’That one was empty.‘ ‘That one didn’t work.’ ‘This one didn’t fill my needs.’

So the search continues.

Nothing meaningful ends in the planning stages. No one ever says, “yeah, but that guy took some really good notes.” Unless, of course, those notes are solid study notes and you snagged a copy of them to pass your final. But tests aren’t life. And they certainly aren’t art.

Art requires completion. Interaction. The finality of statement. Art is better when it’s singular and honest. That’s why remakes and prequels are so hard to pull off. Imagine a “reimagining” of the Mona Lisa. What purpose would that serve?

We want things with voice, with shape, with perspective—even if we can’t articulate such a need. Our soul is built by story and to story it longs to return. Netflix wouldn’t be trying to pump our brains with 24/7 content if story meant nothing. They know, like I know, that our brains are wired for discovery. And we’ll watch 20 bad new shows in hopes that the 21st transcends.

Like that homeless, hungry man with the trash cans, the hunt is never done.

“I am the perfect fuck” says James Marsden’s Neal Oliver in the wonderful and criminally unseen film, Interstate 60. “The one you’ll never have. Perfect in every way.”

Perfect in every way.

That’s how our plans tend to be. Our journals. Our calendars. On paper, they’re emaculate.

But that’s because we’ll never have them.

Reality refuses time and time again to conform to our schemes, yet the siren song of the “morning routine” or the “new habit” or the planner built perfectly for x, y and z continues to call despite the evidence against its very existence. These products, these planners, these life coaches, these books—they are not inspirational, really, not when faced with the light of a real day. They’re ‘aspirational.’ They’re dreams sold in Facebook ads.

There is no perfect day.

There is no perfect fuck.

Only the one you didn’t have. Only the one that lived solely inside your head. There it stays, unmarred. Free from blemish. Free from scrutiny and rejection and failure. But only there. And nowhere else.

Your plan fell through, like it always does. It didn’t translate to your real life. That new habit, new routine, new journal, new notebook—it didn’t do what it was advertised to do. But that is the way of things.

Amor Fati—Love of Fate

The obstacle is the opportunity, here and now in this present and tangible life, not in the dreams we conjure up in our journals. The one things that matters is action in context.

So how will you move today?

— G