Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wednesday with Words: A Commonplace Book

A commonplace book is the author's rag bag. In it he places all the insane ideas that come to him, in the groundless hope that some day he will be able to convert them with magic touch into marketable plots.
~ P.G. Wodehouse, Love Among the Chickens

7 comments :

  1. Okay, this is interesting. Does he mean they are full of *original* ideas? Because for some reason I thought that commonplace books were full of quotes from other people, so now I feel confused...Enlighten me, friend! :)

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    1. Not necessarily original ideas. The main character in this story is a novelist and in the passage I quoted from, he's looking for ideas in his commonplace book and finds a memo of something he read in the newspaper about a dead body being found on a train, and a bit of doggerel that he didn't remember putting in there, so it's not clear whether he heard it somewhere or made it up himself.

      A commonplace book has anything in it that you want to put in there, depending on what you're keeping the book for -- sort of like Pinterest. Its distinguishing feature is that it's NOT a journal or diary, where your write down your thoughts at the end of each day, or keep a record of what you've done or where you've gone, or that sort of thing.

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    2. I, too, appreciated this analogy! I think you just revolutionized Commonplace Books for me! :)

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  2. Kelly, I like your image of commonplace books as Pinterest!

    I just downloaded this book for free last week but I am still dipping into the Indiscretions of Archie and they are incredibly hilarious and painful.

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    1. I haven't read that one yet (well, given that he wrote about a hundred books, I can say that of most of them), but I should. Wiki says it's about one of the chaps from the Drones club. Archibald Moffam, pronounced "Moom" -- hah! He fits right in with Barmy Fotheringay-Phipps (Fun-ghee-Phipps), and Rupert Psmith-the-P-is-silent.

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  3. I just "met" Wodehouse in the past year or so, but I look forward to getting to know him better!

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    1. And not a day too soon -- one lifetime almost isn't enough to read and appreciate Wodehouse. :-)

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