What makes home ‘home’ are the constants. When we go out into the world, especially when traveling, we want a measure of discovery, adventure, the unpredictable, the inconstant. But when we come home we want to find the familiar and the predictable, perhaps only to provide a frame of reference for considering all we did not know or understand from our experiences elsewhere. Home is a sanctuary, where we feel safe. We can express how we feel, confide our fears and dreams. In these same ways, a notebook is something like a home, and it can be taken anywhere. In other words, we can have it both ways: to stay comfortably at home and to adventurously travel out and into the world.
The most important constant is the size of the notebook. It must always be the same. Also the paper, and the pen used to draw and write. It must be a pen and not a pencil, because a pencil smudges with the many openings and closings of the notebook, and it would soon become a mass of blurs. Perhaps that is the nature of memories, but the notebook is not about memories. It is work, sometimes joyful, often difficult, and we want it to last as long as it can. Also, the pen—a cheap but reliable instrument that can be bought anywhere, but has real ink, not dyes that fade—makes precise lines that cannot be altered once drawn. The images and words placed on the pages are not tentative, but definite. They are built up a line at a time, without preliminaries, and thus they are an accurate record of ideas and the process of thought that brought them into being. Each line, each word, brings an idea closer to realization, to completion. In this sense, the contents of the notebook are not ‘sketches,’ preliminary attempts that will be finished later, but finished works in themselves.
The writer D. H. Lawrence once wrote, in his Apocalypse, about the difference between the idea of completeness in the ancient world and today. Comparing today’s ‘rational’ process of thought to the dragging of an endless, linear ‘logical chain,’ he said that ancient thinkers would take a more circular or spiral approach. They would concentrate on a thought, following it deeper and deeper, until it reached a point of ‘fullness.’ Both modes of thought have their virtues and the possibility of fusing them in some way informs the notebooks shown here.
Model of the Balcony for the Frankopan Castle, Kraljevica, Croatia, by Dwayne Oyler:
Model of the Siteline Vienna project by Dwayne Oyler:
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You’re currently reading “NOTEBOOK 97-3,” an entry on LEBBEUS WOODS
- March 15, 2009 / 2:54 pm
- Lebbeus Woods