My recent obsession with Field Notes goes beyond the brand. It’s the story behind all these notebooks, written and worn. They’re filled with stories and memories. These tangible notebooks are part of my past.
Brett Peters was on the receiving end of an unfortunate event – the company he worked for suddenly and unexpectedly closed down…for good. All that’s left is 22 notebooks, detailing the past 7 years of his work and sweat and effort.
Building virtual things leaves very little behind. There’s nothing to grasp, nothing to point to, no buildings or monuments to your labor. I think we forget sometimes how important that is. It might seem childish, or at least child-like, to want to commemorate important events with ribbons and trophies and badges – but that’s unfair and unkind. Kids recognize a truth we try to forget as adults – a physical representation of an achievement gives you something to hold on to.
Shawn Blanc then added his point of view on the nostalgia aspect of keeping a notebook.
However, the not-as-awesome side to digital tools is that when a task is completed it disappears and leaves no trace it ever existed; no scratched out note commemorating a job well done and a hard day’s work.
The diaries I used for the past two years at my previously company, I still keep them. It’s a fond reminder of the work I’ve put in, the tasks I’ve completed and most importantly, it’s a part of me.
Just last week, I picked them up and browsed through some of the pages. They now sit by the side of my table, within sight and reach. They may one day be relegated to some corner of the room, but when the mood strikes, I know reading my handwriting on the aged pages will keep me grounded and humble.