to make a chaos notebook:
- one notebook. i have a preference for A5 but there’s no reason you couldn’t use a bigger size. i used to use moleskines until they became crap and i discovered rhodia (please rhodia never become crap), the important thing is that it have a pocket somewhere and that there be only one notebook
- put everything in it. all things. you cannot have a second notebook. or i guess you can use an agenda or electronic calendar to supplement if you want, i don’t care
- keep ephemera in the pocket til it’s too fat to close, never clean this out
- that’s it that’s the system
nonexhaustive list of things that are in my last chaos notebook: personal diary entries, research notes, seminar notes, tarot spreads, every kind of list including for example a list of widely-acceptable foods at the szechuan restaurant in my former city so that we could establish a fucking standing order for post-seminar dinners because for fuck’s sake stop trying to get twelve academics to make a collective decision about a ten-page menu all over again every time, a number of transcribed train timetables, to-do lists large and small and in between, a full page of notes on the rhyme scheme and meter of edmund spenser’s ‘prothalamion’ which are the result of the time i had my first full-on cambridge-induced meltdown and the only thing i could think to do to assuage it was go to waterstones and buy a paperback edition of the shorter poems of edmund spenser and make a chart about rhyme and meter, a dandelion i took from the grave of sylvia plath, short- and long-term calendars, contact info for a number of people to do with work scattered throughout, lists of call numbers with no further information, a large-text wide-spaced transcription of ‘wild geese’ by mary oliver which is what i read at the wedding of a very close friend a year ago and i’d memorized it but i wanted a backup, and all of the ephemera in the back, postcards and ticket stubs and the like, and the one thing i always transfer to a new notebook and have thus been carrying around with me for almost ten years, which is a print-off of a page of advisor’s notes on my first seminar paper for her, which she corrected in pen and then signed because she felt bad it wasn’t in her handwriting, just in case you thought i wasn’t enough of a self-caricature
so. this is a system. it works.