Smorgasbord Post from Your Archives – Sacks and Notebooks by Annika Perry

It was a delight to share my obsession of notebooks on Sally’s blog earlier this week as part of her archive series. Journals were an integral part of Oliver Sacks’s life and he reckoned he’d filled over a thousand with his words. Please pop over to Sally’s site to read more!

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Welcome to the third of the archive posts from Annika Perry and this week a look at the compulsion to write everything down, especially in notebooks. Annika shares the obsession of Oliver Sacks (Awakenings amongst many books) and his over 1000 notebooks filled anywhere and at anytime… Do you have notebooks or even scraps of paper that you have trusted with your thoughts and dreams over the years?

Sacks and Notebooks by Annika Perry

No doubt we’ve all set ourselves deadlines in our writing goals. Some may even come attached with a mental forfeit. Not many can be as extreme as the one Oliver Sacks set himself over fifty years ago when writing his first book.

To complete it within ten days or failing that kill himself.

Spurred into action he wrote at times twenty hours a day and on the tenth day he handed in ‘Migraine’ to Fabers in…

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43 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Post from Your Archives – Sacks and Notebooks by Annika Perry

  1. L. T. Garvin, Author says:

    I’m into notebooks also, Annika, but I write in snippets as I don’t really have any or much regular time to write I also write fast, LOL. My handwriting is horrible now. I have a stash of “pretty” journals I hope to write in someday. Interesting post, I enjoyed it!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Lana, I’m smiling at your ‘pretty’ notebooks – some are just too special an have to be saved up for a very special occasion/event! Haha! What is it with handwriting…mine is barely legible and I wonder if all this typing can be part of the problem? Thank you so much for your lovely comment and chatting about all things notebooks…I could continue for the rest of the day! 😃🌻

      • L. T. Garvin, Author says:

        I’m not sure about what happens to our handwriting, Annika, but I noticed mine getting really bad when I was last in college (back in the day when you had to speed-write all those notes because we didn’t have Chromebooks or laptops, lol). If we slow down, we might do better (winkie face here) 😀

  2. Miss Gentileschi says:

    Beautiful post, Annika! Of course I share your love for notebooks and also have several different ones: one is for making sketches, another for jotting down ideas for creative projects, and another that’s brimming over with ideas for short stories and even novels. I haven’t counted them yet but it must be a few dozens by now. 😉

    • Annika Perry says:

      Sarah, thank you so much for sharing your journal keeping…I would love to see the one with sketches. Are they with pencil or paints as well? You sound wonderfully organised and yeah, a notebook for short stories and novels!! That is fantastic…before your know it those few dozens will have doubled and so forth!! 😀 Wishing you many magical creative moments with your notebooks! 😀❤️

      • Miss Gentileschi says:

        I forgot to mention my notebook for recipes! 😁 I love to write the ones I successfully tried out from bought cooking books and thus create my very own 😊
        Wish you a beautiful weekend dear Annika!! 😚❤

  3. Satpura Tiger Reserve says:

    Awesome post, Annika. You have a great deal of note pads since you have such a significant number of imaginative contemplations! Continue writing them down – you know something significant will occur with them!…

    • Annika Perry says:

      Ahh…thank you so much for your terrific comment and I get goosebumps reading your last sentence…something significant will occur with them! Is this possible? Should I dare to start sorting the older ones, looking through them in detail?? It’s true my imagination and thoughts don’t rest much so I do need lots of notebooks! Lovely to have you visiting here! 😀

  4. Clare Pooley says:

    I love this post, Annika! I write a daily journal and used to keep notebooks for other jottings but I don’t have the time these days. I am, however, an inveterate list maker. I try to control it but every now-and-then I have to give in and make a list or add to an on-going one which opens the flood-gates and before I realise I have made loads more! All books written by a favourite author, plants I want for the garden, all the books I own, all the books I have read, shopping lists, jobs to do lists, places I want to visit, people I want to research – and so it goes on.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Yeah!! 😀 Clare, I adore your list making…we are so alike! 😀 Lists are even more addictive than keeping notes. I too write them about the books I want to read, have read, want to review…since I was tiny I’ve kept a list of all my birthday and Christmas presents – and even now my son’s and husband’s! I think managing to keep a daily journal going is quite an achievement and I’m sure when the time is right you’ll go right back to notebooks for jotting down thoughts, ideas…and of course, lists!! hugs xx ❤️

    • Annika Perry says:

      Mary Ann, notebooks are so integral to a writer…or most people…and I can’t remember a day without at least one on the go! 😀😃 I can well imagine they are just as important to you…I’ve also found my phone useful for jotting down ideas, sentences, overheard conversations and later putting these on a notebook folder on my computer! So glad you enjoyed this earlier post…it’s been a joy looking through them and sharing here and on Sally’s blog.

      • maryannniemczura says:

        You are ahead of me with using your phone to record thoughts, overheard conversations, etc. I will take my iPad along to document with photos something of interest to me. It is about this time of year I recall a blog of yours with a Swedish song embedded. For weeks I listened and sang. This year I am busy with the Syracuse Chorale. We singing pieces in Latin, Polish and in English. All classical music. You are a well disciplined writer to jot things down in your computer. Good luck with the book manuscript. A good week to you! ^__^

        • Annika Perry says:

          Bless you for remembering the post and song, Mary Ann. It was to celebrate First Advent, which is this coming Sunday. What a beautiful mix of pieces with Syracuse Chorale… have a most wonderful time at the concerts.

          It was my son who started me using the phone to jot notes down as he is writing songs and I spotted him tapping on his phone when he thought of lyrics! Thank you for your good wishes…the manuscript is all finished!! 😀

          • maryannniemczura says:

            Music and more music is on the Dec. agenda. I will be glad for a most needed rest afterwards. My daughter got me in the habit of taking photos of “everything” such as that menu at a restaurant or food on the table. I got in the habit of taking photos of city signs and other storefronts so I can recall where I was and what I did instead of constantly writing it down. I would love a photo of the sign in Sweden (yellow and red) of “beware of the moose.” I have not seen it elsewhere. Near us we have signs for deer, cattle and in PA a horse drawn buggy in Amish country. I think I will do a blog on signs sometime. Any news from the publisher? Relax a bit yourself now too. ^__^

  5. JC says:

    Thanks, Annika, its good to know that I’m not the only one without a set of rules when it comes to journals and notes. Oliver Sacks! I remember the first time I heard of him… jc

    • Annika Perry says:

      JC, I must admit, my system for my notebooks is not so organised anymore – much to my chagrin as I have difficulty finding where I write things! 😃😀 Still lots on the go though…Happy Journaling!

  6. Curt Mekemson says:

    I’ve always been something of a journal nut, so I really enjoyed your post, Annika. I particularly identified with the joy that comes from starting a new one. Like you I had boxes (now consolidated). I rarely revisit them, but always learn things when I do. Remembering things forgotten is a big part of it, but the more interesting part is seeing how my thinking has evolved over time. I still keep hand written journals, but most of my notes are taken on my laptop.
    I have a daily journal that I started in 2000 and I rarely miss a day. Thanks for this fun revisit to your past posts. –Curt

    • Annika Perry says:

      Curt, thank you so much for sharing your wonderful comment on journaling and keeping of notebooks! I’m so impressed that you haven’t missed a day in your daily journal for 17 years – that is quite a commitment and takes dedication. You touch on an interesting point about how these journals show how our thinking has evolved over time – how true and brilliantly stated. Well done on managing to consolidate your boxes of journals – I haven’t dared start yet! 😀😃

      • Curt Mekemson says:

        Well, I have missed a few days… (grin) I find it fun on occasion when I am doing my daily journal to jump back in time to see what I was doing on that particular day 10 or 15-years ago. I discovered that it is much easier with a computer! As for notebooks, I immediately went back to the journal I did on my 10,000 mile bike trip when Peggy and I decided to retrieve the route last year. They were essential. It’s amazing how much we forget. Thanks. –Curt

    • Annika Perry says:

      My main problem is not the jotting down, rather finding the notes afterward!! My usual organised persona leaves me at this stage! 😀😃 The past few months I must admit I’ve been rather lapse in jotting down notes…every day I notice things around me, overhear conversations which are just unique and memorable – no doubt would be perfect for a story! I still have a couple of journals on the go…off to scribble in one now!

    • Annika Perry says:

      I don’t know…it still seems nigh impossible…although one modern writer hired a hotel room for two weeks and just wrote, barely sleeping! Feel like trying that at times just to get away from all the distractions! Here’s to journaling…between all the social media interruptions! 😀❤️

    • Annika Perry says:

      Shey, I love your comments and they never fail to leave me laughing…the wonderful British understatement of a ‘trifle extreme’ to you’d be dead long ago! Ditto that sentiment! 😀 Ten day’s is a tough deadline!

      • shehannemoore says:

        I often beat myself with the big stick that the first book I had published I wrote in 3 months. But then I had no blog, no facebook, no tools of the trade that way. I wasn’t promoting one book, while in first round edits for another. Then there’s family and life and all these things. So need to quit fracturing the skull on a daily basis that it now takes longer. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  7. delphini510 says:

    Thank you Annika, what a treat on Sunday morning. I remember and love that post so will head over to Sally’s now. You do pick interesting and passionate people, Sachs is just up there..
    ❤️🦋

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you so much, Miriam! ❤️ I remember writing this post and it was one that had been twirling around my mind for a long while but I needed something extra to make it special and interesting…learning about Oliver Sacks and his writing habits was the key! So touching to know you remember it…😀

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