Not Just Another Grouchy Grammarian

Musings about language, books, grammar, and writing in general

Archive for the month “November, 2017”

Most folks who know me know that I am a huge Lawrence Block fan.

Random Walk

Early today, I received a newsletter from him that discussed, among other things, his book Random Walk. I was intrigued by the plot: A guy quits his bartending job in Oregon, starts walking across the country, and Things Happen. (Yeah, that’s the best I can describe it without using spoilers, and I really want you to read this book and discover its wonders for yourself.)

Block, as always, weaves together disparate subplots into a unique whole that – to me, anyway, was very reminiscent of vision quests, coming of age sagas, expiation of sins, and books about following a Path. As always, his writing is transparent and does not in any way overshadow the tale he is spinning. He balances the characters’ introspection and actions perfectly.

I could not put the book down, nor did I want to. I ignored my phone; I ignored my email; I ignored my social media. I ignored everything but the cat – who would have shredded my leg completely if I did not pay him a few minutes of attention every couple of hours.

Seriously, if you have any inclination toward being on a Path, or looking at the larger questions in life, or how to change your life to be more what you want it to be, go and get this book. I don’t care if you prefer e-books, printed books, or audio books. Get your hands on a copy of Random Walk, settle in with your favorite beverage, and enjoy a walking tour like you have never been on before.

Happy reading.

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BUJO – The Art of Bullet Journaling

Yeah, I’ve bitten the bullet. I’m slowly adapting some of the practices of bujo into my own journal-keeping.

See, I have a friend, Debbie, who introduced me to bujo because she was successfully using it. She knows I’m a big journal fan, so she thought I would find it interesting. I started reading up on it, and it sounded like an awful lot of effort for a very small return, but I kept reading.

As I read, I realized several things. First, I realized that I had sort of been doing a pre-cursor to bujo for a couple of decades. Whenever I started a new paper journal, I would number the pages, and rule off the back three sheets (both sides) for a table of contents (ToC). I would then note in the journal the start date and – when done with it – the end date. I also number the books themselves. (I had a friend who went even further and gave each of her journals a name, but that was more effort than I was up for.)

After that, and as I kept reading, I realized that the whole damned point of bujo was not to make my journal look like anyone else’s (Washi tape? Fancy hand-lettered boxes? Who the hell has the time?) I know that a lot of folks doing bujo also scrapbook, which is another thing I do not do, and that the pages looking pretty was important to them. Fortunately, my friend Debbie is – like me – a person to whom function is generally more important than form.

She showed me her disc-bound planner/bujo one day while driving me to an appointment, and that tipped me over the line. It was neat; it was no frills; it was totally functional for her needs. I had used something similar to a disc-bound book since the 1980s (remember Day-Timers?), so the concept of a book that I could easily add pages to or move pages around was not unpleasant.

Also fortunately, I live six blocks from a Staples, so I was able to get a disc-bound planner with the “planner” function set up the way I like. I was also able to get blank pages and a set of larger discs, which I knew I would need (I tend to use my journals instead of scrapbooks, which means in addition to any writing or drawing, there are also pages with ticket stubs and various other memorabilia attached (purple glue-sticks have been my friend since they came out).

So in addition to the planner itself, I have been doing my gratitude journaling there, tracking my progress in getting my walking range back, keeping a list of bills paid and a list of books I’ve read this year, and I have just added a habit tracker similar to the one my friend Debbie uses, although I just check off boxes instead of using a highlighter to fill them in.

So, as I said, I have been bitten by the bujo bug, but in a way that works for me. Will update if/when I make other changes.

Oh, and for those interested, Debbie’s blog, Steadily On, is here.

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