A Daybook in a Life

In 1984 I started what ultimately became I guess part of my life’s work—unbeknownst to me.  I bought a notebook at a stationary shop on the west side of upper Madison Avenue, probably in the upper 80’s, about three blocks away from my apartment in NYC.  It wasn’t special.  It was just a notebook and on December 31, 1983 I started writing in it–daily.  Again nothing special, just where I went, what I did, the weather, what I ate, what I heard, what I saw.  There was never anything, “dark night of the soul” about the contents.  It was a daily account of my daily days, good, bad, fun, boring, dull, dramatic, but not merely jotted down, rather a fairly full and carefully composed (for the most part) out line of my day with random thoughts and observations.

During those 34 years, I dated, I got married, I had three children, I met scammers and con men, faced financial ruin, rid a house of bats, stymied conmen and scammers, started a business or two, made maps, wrote books, gave numerous presentations on Civil War Maps and Mapmaking culminating in a nationally broadcast presentation on C-Span BookTV.  I used my wits, held a couple of political offices, wrote a few songs, served on some interesting boards, read a lot of books, wrote and published a few articles,  played guitar on the street, broke my leg—a compound fracture—and my wrist in Carcassonne, and stayed in touch with friends some of whom I had since childhood.

This year I got the flu right after the New Year and in my flu stupor I pronounced to my family that I was quitting, what I call, my daybook.

They would not allow it – “Dad,” they said, in unison.  “Your day book is not for you anymore—it’s for us.  You cannot stop.”

I agreed.

I thought about it….how many people can account on a day to day basis for everything they’ve done for 34 years, 1 month ….and counting?  That’s 300,000 hours, 12,500 days and 1,786 weeks.

So over the course of the next few weeks, months, whatever, I plan to post some of my daybook entries.  I will just use initials for most of the people I came in contact with – except maybe the con men, they might not remain nameless—we’ll see.

And stay tuned.

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