Friday, June 27, 2008

Books: The Power of the Blank Book


I remember when the local stationary store gave us free samples during some promotional event back in middle school. Getting anything for free is nice, and doubly so when you're only 14. We all received pens and simple, paperback-sized blank bound books with gold-leafed pages that stuck together until you separated them.

It was then that I first learned of the utility of a blank, bound book. There's a certain permanence you get that isn't present in an ordinary loose-leaf binder or notebook. If you make a mistake or scribble down something iffy in a blank book, you tend to just skip over to the next page instead of ripping it out. Over time, the whole thing is a fascinating catalog of failed ideas, snippets, short concepts, and doodles.

Science labs and art classes agree; both fields commonly issue books with numbered pages to students, and it's usually forbidden to rip out or add pages. I guess that's because in both science and art, there's no such thing as a mistake.

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