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My review for Melville in Love by Michael Shelden is submitted to Library Journal and now I can get back to my own reading. I don’t feel like I can write a review of the book here, but you should know it is really good. I have a whole new picture of Melville now that I am still boggled over.

Melville fathered two children during this long-term affair with Sarah Morewood but Morewood’s husband chose not to notice that they did not look like him as did Melville’s wife. You may have heard that Melville had major financial problems, well, that’s because he bought a farm that he could not afford in order to live next door to his lover. However, Shelden presents a good argument that Moby-Dick, Pierre and Billy Budd would not be what they are if it had not been for Morewood inspiring Melville to greatness. So, look for the book when it comes out in June. It’s a good one!

How’s that for a non-review?

I get email newsletters from my favorite fountain pen store, Goulet Pens, and in a recent newsletter there was some mention about bullet journaling. I did not bother to investigate further because I assumed it meant writing a journal/diary using bullet points and what was the point of that? But today Goulet Pens posted a link on their Facebook page to a Los Angeles Times newspaper article, Why is Everyone Crazy for #bujo?. I realized this is obviously a thing so I read the article and have now been enlightened.

Have you heard of bullet journaling? It has nothing to do with keeping a diary or journaling your thoughts and feelings. It turns out to be a time and project management technique that involves using a blank journal and a pen or pencil instead of an app or a calendar or elaborate Franklin Planner. The guy who invented it has a website with a video and other step-by-step explanations on how to do it.

At first it seemed like an elaborate system but the more I followed along, the more intrigued I became. It isn’t so very elaborate after all, and once you have the basic structure down you can customize it to your needs and do whatever you want with it. The customizable bit is the most interesting part. Because you are using a blank journal (of course you can buy a “bullet journal” that has already been set up for you if you want to) you can make it your own. And the website has photos and videos of how other people do bullet journaling. Some of it is quite elaborate and intimidating and artsy and made me wonder why would you waste time drawing and doing all kinds of other stuff in a calendar/project journal? But that, it turns out, is the neat part about it.

So I’ve been wondering if I should try it. It could potentially be an efficient way to keep track of current and future events, gardening things, bookish things, work things, blog post ideas, essay ideas, things I want to look into further, to do lists, and on and on all in one place. Have any of you tried it? And if so, what do you think? Just one more bandwagon sort of thing or something truly useful?

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