Commonplace Books

26th Nov, 2021

When I recently realigned this site, one of the goals was to let me use this place to store thoughts more easily. The Resources section handles this to a degree but, catering only for a link and category, it’s limited to fulfilling the role of a log. There’s no room for comment or other thoughts.

I’ve also been doing more reading over the past couple of years. There are always quotes I want to remember or refer back to: what to do with those?

After reading Permanent Record, I wrote a little post with a couple of quotes, but the Writing section of this site isn’t there to be filled with book quotes.

I’ve previously stored quotes in Notion, but it’s slow and private: all the reasons I wanted the Resources area in the first place.

This is a long way to say I’ve been looking for a place to store links and quotes, possibly with a way to comment on them, too.

Inspiration

Despite the minimalist feel, Daring Fireball handles a stream of various content types pretty well. The archive supports long posts and short posts with refreshing flexibility.

How can I get a bit of that on here?

In an Unoffice Hours, Joshua Galinato brought up the idea of a commonplace book. Here’s been working on an app to store quotes and this sounds like perfect personal site material.

Looking up the origins, commonplace books (or ‘commonplaces’):

Such books are similar to scrapbooks filled with items of many kinds: sententiae, notes, proverbs, adages, aphorisms, maxims, quotes, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, prayers, legal formulas, and recipes.

This sounds like exactly what I’ve been looking for: a place not just to store quotes, but to comment on them and write notes, too.

Format

For now, this site’s commonplace is split into two sections: Commonplace and Books:

At some point, it might make sense to pull Resources and Writing into the Commonplace, so it becomes the ultimate archive for everything on this site.

Maybe.