Awhile back I learned of a trend that was popular among academics in Europe in the Middle Ages: the commonplace book.

The idea is that a person has a blank notebook they keep with them at all times. When they come across a quote or an idea they find particularly interesting, useful, poignant, or generally noteworthy, they copy the quote. As the notebook evolves it becomes a spectacular record of an individual’s experience and tastes, indicating their interests, likes and dislikes, topics of focus, and so on; it opens a small window into a person’s mind from a perspective not often explored: it’s quite common to know a person by what they produce, but not so much by what they consume.

Rather than a blank notebook, I’m a child of the times and prefer Tumblr, but nonetheless this is my own commonplace book: little tids and bits that catch my eye as I move through life.

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