Review Of On Keeping Of A Notebook By Joan Didion

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On Keeping of a Notebook is an essay that was written by Joan Didion. Didion writes this essay in first person talking about her own experiences as a writer. The purpose behind this essay signifies the importance of recording thoughts, feelings and anything that comes to your mind through writing. This essay also stresses why it is significant to write down anything you are thinking when you have an impulse to write. Didion mentions that it does not matter what you write down, or if the events actually occur, it is the procedure of simply writing that matters. Didion writes that each one of her notes “presumably has some meaning to me …” but admits that she can’t always recall what it is. For her, the point is to “remember what it was to be me.”

I think that Didion’s ideas behind writing, are successful. I thought that some of the examples that she gave such as the sauerkraut recipe becoming a memorable quote showed that although there may be a lot of randomness in the writing process, even through scribbles that someone jots down, clarity and vision can still come through. I can relate to the messiness and scattered feel to writing because I write random things on the sides of papers very often. I do this when I am thinking, or I feel overwhelmed with everything I have to do. Most of the time there is not a deep meaning to what I write down, and often times I forget where I wrote it down, but for some reason it feels better that it is off my mind and documented.

Throughout my analysis of my daily writing habits, I noticed that I write very often without realizing or recognizing I do it, simply because of how natural the action is. I found it interesting to go back through and think about all the logging I did for text messages. When I send a text message, typically it is only a couple words or sentences. This quick, short and instant writing is the kind I do not realize I do so often and is the reason it was difficult for me to record every time I did it. I also noticed a big disconnect between a simple text to a friend, vs. typing a long winded, more formal email. When I thought about the contrast between the two different types of writing, I noticed that I use much different writing processes for both. When writing an email, I typically draft it out, have someone revise it and then send it out, but for text messages my own thoughts consume the keyboard and the message is sent without a second thought. This contrast speaks to the type of audience I am writing to and the purpose of those writing forms. It was interesting for me to see that I wrote using technology a lot more than I ever did by hand. Now a days this is a norm for people to use technology to communicate, check their work, research ideas, and get their assignment or task done in a faster manner.

The final thing I noticed throughout my writing log is that the only writing that I do for myself which could also refer to personal writing, is through text messages. The messages I send while texting are often building upon relationships, not reflecting on myself personally. With that being said I wish I dedicated more time to write about myself, my feelings, situations and memories. Life passes by so quickly especially because I am always caught up in schoolwork, my job, my friends and family, that it is often times hard for me to slow down and help myself.

Reflecting upon events through writing and debriefing occasions is a way to keep memories and thoughts close to me. Didion brought up the idea that memories are one of the most cherished possessions to a person, and by writing down exactly what you feel and experience whether it is completely random or very meaningful, you will be able to look back upon it, and revisit that time in your life.

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