Since early this year, I have been compiling a Commonplace book I’ve called Core. The idea was taken and slightly modified from one Shawn Blanc floated called Core Curriculum. The idea is to develop a book of core knowledge, passages, articles, books, quotes, recipes, instructions, and conversations that have shaped us, helped us, taught us, had deep meaning, or otherwise inform the core of who we are and what we believe. This is a living document, formed slowly and intentionally, and one meant to be reviewed every year or more often as needed.
I have found the very act of compiling this book to be enlightening and refreshing. I am, of course, writing it by hand. Therefore, when I wish to add a passage from a book, a quote, or a favorite poem — anything that is not my own — I must transcribe it. To make sure I get it right, I force myself to do so slowly, making sure to capture every punctuation and nuance, doing my darnedest not to err.
What I have found is that this process allows me to see these things I thought I knew in a way I may not have before. For instance, I notice a semicolon my eyes had rushed past before and now a sentence has a whole new meaning. A poem I remembered being about one thing, once written out in my own hand, now takes on a different meaning.
In all, it is a practice I wholeheartedly recommend. What it amounts to is in many ways a "users guide" for living an intentional life.
And, for those wondering about the notebook, it is a MUJI High Quality, Easy Open, Ruled, A6