I am rather behind, but I wanted to share a few thoughts about the first three weeks. First of all, I am finding this book extremely encouraging. Second, this book, along with Celeste's thoughts on digital keeping, have helped me realize how much keeping I do already. I do keep a physical commonplace book (although it hibernated during my pregnancy) which I was drawn to pick up again about six weeks after my daughter's birth. I also keep a private website where I post pictures of the family and commentary about our doings for friends and family (and if you are friends or family and don't have the URL, email me and I'll pass it along!) and again, now that I'm no longer pregnant that is getting updated fairly regularly as well. I also write in Day One several times a week, the only keeping I managed to continue through my pregnancy. Day One is a place where I write about the doings of the day, as well as about what I'm reading, pondering, and considering. I also keep reading logs for myself and my two older children.
These first few sections of The Living Page also reminded me about the keeping I have tried to maintain, but haven't managed to do consistently. For example, the nature notebook with the last entry of December 2012, the Calendar of Firsts that for two years has not made it past May, and a sketchbook of drawing exercises that hasn't seen an entry since September of 2013. And the less we talk about the notebook with "Before 3000 B.C." written on the first page with nothing else following, the better I'll feel. And then there's my daughter's Book of Centuries that hasn't seen an entry since the fall. And the kids' nature notebooks that haven't seen entries since the spring of 2012. I had hoped to encourage and inspire them to make their own nature notebook entries as I made my own, but it didn't work out that way!
Even with this deficiencies staring me in the face, I still am encouraged. How could I not be, after reading words like these?
Mason has shown me that the notebooks can be forms of vitality, literally the shape and outline, the liturgy of the attentive life. They nurture the science of relations and the art of mindfulness. p. xv
What if the emphasis is meant to be on the formative process -- the growing person who feasts upon and then share the Great Ideas in creating the art, rather than the artifact or achievement itself? p. 15Isn't it encouraging to think of notebooks being part of the formative process of growing person, a person who is learning to consider, ponder, and explore the great ideas of what it means to be a person and a child of God?
And because I do want to share something that has been part of our formative process this year, I want to share another quote and piece of work from my daughter's time in Atrium. And while this focus on the product may seem to contradict the quote about the formative process, I think that they are harmonious because the beauty of the created work is part of the process and part of the meditation, which is certainly part of the formation of the person.
Beautiful script is also a value in itself; Sundays were often spent by P.N.E.U. students working on a beautiful rendition of a particular passage on fine paper. p. 30