howell.io

…as unprincipled as the gods, and as much a jack-of-all-trades.

The motion is the thinking

I recently acquired a Baron Fig notebook, from my favorite local bookstore, mostly because I try to provide patronage for the things I love whenever I can.

It was a beautiful notebook when I unwrapped it. Three weeks in, the fabric cover has picked up a couple of grease stains (my kitchen counter was not as clean as I thought) and the pages and cover are starting to warp a bit. It’s still a nice looking notebook, but starting to look a bit more war-torn.

I was annoyed at first, but now I’ve decided that the wear and tear is virtue. It’s a reminder that my data is not actually very durable. Digital tools may give the impression of eternal perfection (and truth be told, with good back-up strategies, plain text files probably will last a long time). But that pristine quality, coupled with the delete key, provides a permission structure to dance around perfection rather than charging forward.

I want to commit to my mistakes and commit to working through them. When my pen hits the paper, that mark is there and it’s not going away. I have to move forward. But, at the same time, the notebook itself only matters for right now as way to set up a feedback loop between hand, eye, and mind.

The motion is the thinking, not a way of encoding the thinking. I like a tool that keeps me busy with thinking rather than trying to finalize a conclusion.