I did not want to repeat the pattern of previous holidays which resulted in collections (envelopes, packages, bags, boxes) of papers, brochures, tickets, advertisements, envelopes, squashed pennies, packaging, cards and labels.
This time, I implemented a policy I referred to as Cut Things Out and Stick Them In.
Every night, before bed, I had to cut up the papers collected through the day, cut them up, stick the relevant sections into my sketchbook-journal and Throw The Rest Away.
There were a few late nights, but it was not generally an onerous task and tiredness could make me brutally selective. As I carted the glue stick with me, dead time in airports (“the planes in America have never been so safe or so late”) and planes and trains or while other people were in bed could be used productively.
My bags were lighter, there were no folders to sort or store when I arrived home, and I don’t regret throwing out anything I did.
Best of all, the journal was always up to date. I could not show photographs to people, but I could show them scraps and sketches, and when I arrived home, the journal was almost complete: pictures drawn, scraps stuck in, observations made at the time. All that remained was to add in the few pieces that had fallen through the cracks and into the back pocket of the sketchbook: a menu, some currency, a greeting card.
Scraps, however, were not the only things that were stuck in. Before I left, I treated myself to one of the unsung treasures of the stationer’s: numbered stickers. I took a package of black-on-white to label the days in the planner at the start of my sketchbook, and white-on-black to label each day as I progressed through the sketchbook. It was unnecessary but fun, with some of the mild excitement of an advent calendar, and knowing that as each day was sketched and written and pasted, I could mark it off and start a new one with a fresh new sticker.
The sketchbook is here: USA 2007 Moleskine.