This note is the twelfth letter in the 104-days-of-summer-vacation series. You can also follow the full twitter thread here, and leave any thoughts and comments that might come up!
I think I know someone really well, and a reminder always comes along to give me a rude awakening. I hope this letter serves as an invitation for you to find out something new about someone you’re close to.
I’ve wondered where I got my inclination for biohacking, quantified self, personal knowledge management and all manners of notion organization from. Neither of my parents nor my sister show any such interests, mostly they think that I’m just weird.
Today, there was a gleam in my grandfather’s eye when he said, “Let me show you something”. I don’t even quite recall what we were talking about prior, but he patiently walked over to one of the many old shelves in our small house and pulled out a yellowed, thick notebook.
Caption: Volume I of VII
“This is Volume I, there are seven”, he said proudly. And then he proceeded to talk us through all the pages where he had notes on books he had read. And notes on facts on healthy living, his own body measurements, financial records, all patiently recorded on lined paper and referenced in an index page.
It was incredible. It was only after seeing this notebook that the childhood memories of my grandfather came back to me. We used to go to the town library together to pick out new books to read, and he’d start a fresh page in his thick bound book. I remember thinking that his writing was so cursive, and that my handwriting was never going to be as pretty as that.
Caption: I think this is a scheduler
I recall being seven, calling him to come play, while he was writing. I would ask him over and over again why he was so studious about writing everything down, hadn’t he already read the books. He’d sigh patiently, laugh at me and tell me to wait a few more minutes.
I understand now. He doesn’t write in his notebooks anymore, but even as I’m writing this, he’s copying notes about upcoming events from a notebook into the paper calendar that hangs in the house. Google Calendar.
His notebooks are my Obsidian, his finance tracking systems are my Excel Sheets, his index pages are my associative graph views. He was a productivity nerd before it was cool, it makes perfect sense where I get that from.
Perhaps the lesson here is that discovering things about people in your life might teach you something about yourself too, dear Reader. Today, I feel a sense of responsibility to preserve these notebooks, they feel like a part of my past as much as they are my grandfather’s. I wonder if I might digitize them, or how I might properly preserve them for long-term storage. So dear reader, if you know something about preserving books, please reach out and let me know.