A Journey Into William Wordsworth’s Mind

All human work – poems, physics experiments, paintings, designing a space shuttle – is the result of exploration, failure, sweat and refinement.

How do great works of art come to be? Does inspiration strike out of nowhere like a flash of lightning? Cambridge researcher, Ruth Abbott, through studying William Wordsworth’s notebooks, finds the answer.

Within the pages of Wordsworth’s notebooks lie the creative process of a great mind. Some paragraphs he left alone, large chunks of others he struck through; some pages were even burnt.

Wordsworth worked on his great masterpiece in these notebooks until his death. It was never finished, never published. Altogether, he spent 50 years rewriting and revising it.

If we look at the notebooks in which he did this, we can see the experiments, choices and often failures of the great mind at work.

I look at these notebooks and I can see how much material, how much labour, how many experiments go into the creation of even the most spontaneous seeming work.

When he died, he felt his life’s work a failure.


Note: First published on The Daily Sensation. My Daily Sensation blog is moving home, over to The Daily Mum.


Hello 2012

Oooh. I can smell it in the air. Tis the season for a new diary for next year.

This year, I have gone all 80s retro with a filofax. It’s worked well and I am inclined to stick to it. However…

Between 2006 and 2008, I used Moleskine’s weekly notebook.

No complaints. It was easy to keep track of my childrens’ activities  and my work schedule at the same time. The ruled page on the right proved tremendously useful for taking notes and scribbling down plans.

I tell you the one thing that is wonderful with a notebook. I can keep them. Not sure why I do this, but I like to store all of my notebooks in a box. With the filofax refill, I would just bin the old pages. There just isn’t the same satisfaction in storing the loose leafs, even if I bound them with a treasury tag or something fancier.

When I go through an old diary – which is not very often – looking at a particular page transports be back. I can recall the week’s events clearly. Ok, maybe not a five year old diary. But definitely from a year ago.

So for 2012, I think I’m going back to a diary. How can one resist Moleskine’s expanded range?

There’s the Action Diary, where the whole week is laid out vertically across two pages in a column format with an additional column provided for to do items and reminders.

There’s the Taskmaster Diary, where the whole week is laid out vertically across two pages in a column format. After every week there is an extra two pages for note taking.

But let’s not be boring and head immediately for a Moleskine. Here are some other options that I will be sleeping on.

Whitelines Diary

Leuchtturm1917 Weekly Planner

Or will I need a Family Diary?