- Write up to 500 words imitating the style of a published writer of fiction or non-fiction, using comparable images & patterns of deviation.
- You could change or leave unchanged characters (gender, ethnicity, age etc.), setting (time or place), focalizer (POV), plot, etc. You could write the next scene or the previous scene, if you like
- Exegesis <100-200 words
Assignment #00. Didion – On Keeping a Notebook (80-81)
Words: Exegesis 193, Imitation 453
Because there is a big online ‘productivity’ movement I am part of, I have decided to incorporate one of the methods of this movement (to-do lists) and apply it to Joan Didion’s On Keeping a Notebook. I use the Ryder Carroll’s Bullet Journal method, however I have decided to take the more general ‘to-do’ list as my subject. Lately, I am embracing an ideology of productivity, leaving behind me video gaming and picking up starting a business and exercise – as every young man should. In her text On Keeping a Notebook Joan Didion makes much use of recollections from her notebook and rhetoric questions. On pages 80-81, on which this imitation is based, she gives an account of the philosophy as to why one would keep a notebook and the importance of her notes; this intersects with psychology on keeping habits and memory – as does the productivity movement. I have played with On Keeping a Notebook at the subject of the discourse (from keeping notebooks to keeping to-do lists), trying to maintain the semantics (focus on memorization, practical use, emotional aspect) and style (rhetorical questions, excerpts from to-do lists, first person, structure, typography).
On Keeping a To-Do List
We are conditioned to the perspective that others, any others, all others, are probably more productive than ourselves; think that we are not getting the most out of our opportunities. (“You can think and grow rich.”, Napoleon Hill would let me know through the pages of his book; I wrote this down in my notebook because I want to BELIEVE.) Merely the very successful and those who choose paths which deviate from society’s norms are living free. The rest of us are just wondering how they do it, watching online videos and reading productivity books.
But there is a habit that we can acquire. To keep a to-do list and check in on it daily, for not spending time unfocused or zoned in on unimportant matters, is time that can be used for personal goals. We are not describing a to-do list with only generic items, a list filled with grocery shopping articles, but with items to be struck off which are part of long-term goals. Long-term goals, productivity, a goal-based society… Is keeping lists like these vain?
Have breakfast: tuna omelette
25 pushups / situps / squats
Paint Fleetwood Mac lyrics painting
It might be that this is not entirely vanity. Indeed, eating a nutritious breakfast contributes to a healthy lifestyle, which reduces my time spent at the doctor, for you are what you eat and so I try to eat how I want to be, a man conscious of his diet and the effects that it has on the body and mind. Is it vain to want a healthy body? Might exercise help me achieve my goal?
But sometimes the use is a lot less tangible. What need is there to write down that I need to cook and do the dishes? What is the effect of writing down that I have to paint? Although I think it adds to my productivity to paint every day, if I already do that, why would I need to write it down? What is social media doing on my to-do list?
That is of course the point: write down everything, no matter how small or big, that I want to do in the day and strive to be able to put a little ‘X’ next to it. By writing down everything I can switch off my internal faculty that deals with being lazy and just tackle activities one by one. Also, this way I can account for days gone by, days that I have forgotten, except for actions that I have done those particular days. When I flip back through my notebook of dated to-do lists I have a remembrance of a feeling of productivity, motivation and ass-kicking: The basis of an art business.