Do you know about the Bullet Journal system?
I have been using it since 2020 and have just edged beyond checklists and appointments. It has become a daily journal, but without any pretence at elegant prose. I learned from my diaries of the 1980s, recently excavated, that detail is important. I mean that there were events in my 1980s life, significant events, that were described by just one line. It may be that I recorded the events better in letters I wrote at the time, but of course I did not keep copies. I know email now overcomes this issue, and it would have felt strange to keep ‘carbon copies’ of private correspondence with family.
This reverie was also prompted by scanning of colour negatives from the 1980s. There were some good shots from a coach trip to Goodwood, around 1984, especially one of an on-course bookie, aloft his stand, with a peeved colleague sat beneath him. Around the same time was a picnic with strawberries and champagne, Sean and Nicky, in a sunny Sussex field. The way I have composed some of the shots was quite pleasing, and I may still have something to learn from the photographer I was all that time ago. Sadly, I cannot find a pocket diary for 1984. So the photographic record is all I have, no further detail available.
Another thing about the archival shortfall is the lack of insight into my emotions of the period. Not that I usually recorded how I felt about what was happening to me or going on around me. Even the gloomy threat of nuclear war.
That is why I have only just started to make notes about my mood in the entries of the bullet journal. Up to now it has been a planner, aide memoire, and a to-do list. Quite sterile. That connects with my attempt at fiction writing.
My short stories so far, and the ‘works in progress’, have little, if anything, about the emotions of the characters. I write it like a shooting script for a film. So it is up to the actors to present the emotions. But since there are no actors, I need to describe those emotions. I don’t, so I’m writing only half the story. That’s pretty poor.
Bullet journalling is useful as an organisational, and ‘mindfulness’, tool. Other users have ‘trackers’ that record their mood as a ‘collection’, to use the Bullet Journal Method language. I don’t do that. I think it unusually frank if I have one line about my feelings.
I am failing to operate the key facets of bullet journalling, and that is where the user spends time at the start and end of each day in reviewing what has happened. The principal purpose of that is to measure the tasks ticked off against the steps to a desired goal. But it is also to evaluate which tasks acquired during the day, or the month, can be stricken out as no longer needed.
This has exposed that I have no stated goals. What are the goals of a pensioner? Is that what is popularly known as a ‘bucket list’?