Preparation Chat – Scroll

1 12 2006

View from the Duuran Cabin


View from the Duuran Cabin 


I have spoken of the “Scroll” as one of the three essential parts of travel or quest.  In ancient times this would have embraced all of the methods of recording thoughts and events during a journey.  Advances in technology have both added and detracted from this practice; and now some recording methods belong in “Pouch” instead, e.g. digital camera, voice recorder and electronic day-timer.  For many, these devices will serve to record all impressions from a journey, but I would suggest are far from complete.


Most travelers on a Grand-Tour kept a diary or journal; both designed to support a daily discipline, but with different intent.  Consider that a ‘journal’ is a recording on daily occurrences, while a ‘diary’ is a recording of impressions that might affect your values or opinions.  Both are a listing of either data or facts, and if limited to that are cold and barren.  It is the ‘side-notes’ which expand these facts into ‘information’ which is of value. For example, a photograph of an impressive mountain like Triglav is simply data, and perhaps you should purchase a postcard instead.  When you add referential information such as time, season it becomes a fact – it is linked in some way to your experience base and RNA linked to ‘all mountains’, and ‘beautiful things’.  If you now add a note as to why you took the picture, or include a friend in the photograph it becomes ‘information’ – there is a story to tell and a measurable value attached.


So, the key to “scroll” is to gather INFORMATION, not data or facts.  How might this be done?      

Between wars. when I was working on the famous Orient Express as a porter, I found an exquisite leather-bound booklet forgotten by a passenger.  I would never read the private notes, of course, but scanned enough to learn of the owner and return it to her.  I was much impressed by the method used to gather information on her ‘Grand-tour’.  It was comprised of three sections; one a collection of loose-leaf, ring-bound pages – one added for each day, a pocket for holding small note cards labled “Reflections”, and a closed compartment in which physical specimen like leaves, menus and trinkets were placed.  It was easy tyo see how the system worked.


REFLECTIONS:  the cards held brief notes of ‘things to be remembered’ – ranging from sayings heard, interesting signs read, and descriptions of the items in the compartment.  I could see that many of these notes could later become parts of poems, or seeds of an essay.  In a way they were verbal photographs recording information for later consideration or reflection. JOURNAL:  Each daily page was pre-printed in sections, and on most pages an entry was made in every category.  Here the purpose was to record DATA with as little judgment as possible, and FACTS relevant to that specific time and place.  A single page might or might not contain any real INFORMATION, but the combination of pages taken either by category or timeline certainly did.  Here are the categories with my notes as to what they seemed to be used for: SETTING —Describe where you are physically. What is the room like? Are you at a desk or lying on the floor? How are you dressed? What distractions are there? 

WEATHER —What is it like outside? Did it effect your choice of daily activity, including Journal time? What plans have to be changed? Are you inspired to ‘create’ anything? FEELINGS —Reflect on how you are feeling about yourself, the journey, your commitment to the ‘Grand-Tour, etc. Then select the option from a pre-made list that is closest to your ‘condition’ (see Staff). Remember, feelings are never right or wrong. If you become judgmental, then you are not dealing with a ‘feeling’ — start over. EVENTS —Record impactful things that are happening around you and involve your time or work and interaction with others. Record information about other people, sports, movies, trips, shopping spree — anything. Be brief but complete. Do include that you buried a fallen bird today — do not record what you had for dinner. That fact that you commit to read a particular book might be recorded here. The conclusion and thoughts derived from the reading will be noted in another ‘filed’, like INSIGHTS. MOOD — Focus on ‘work’ that you are doing and your ‘attitude’ while approaching it. Unlike ‘feelings’ this can be judgmental. Select ONE item from your “to do” list that best describes your mood. Both MOOD and FEELINGS will be correlated later with your progress in personal growth. 

CREATIVE —This includes specific ‘pieces’ that you produce, either spontaneously, or as an extension of a Reflective Thought. This may be a story, poem, song, essay, sculpture, painting, tatting — whatever. Do not describe it here. Enter only the location of this item such as URL, Computer folder, or physical location. INSIGHTS – Enter free-form thoughts of an ‘ah-ha’ variety — a revelation, a prediction, a noticed link between the physical and spiritual worlds — even epiphenomena (oh yes, get a dictionary and Thesaurus).  Your friends will occasional remark that they have observed an ‘insight’. Write it down — it is your record of spiritual growth. IMPACT – 

Following the ancient Greek tradition your inner being is comprised of MIND, SOUL and SPIRIT. You must decide for yourself what they mean, affected by any religious practice you follow. Generally they should be related to ‘how you process information and make decisions’, how you relate to others and the environment, and how you ‘pray’, ‘reflect’ or otherwise contemplate ‘who you are’ and ‘why you are here’. There is always something to be entered into each category EVERY DAY of your life. This is an incredible tool — especially since you can now track your changes of thought and attitude over time.  These affect your “Belief System” and “Tacit Knowledge”.  Here you are translating INFORMATION into some useful relevance.  It doesn’t matter if you agree with the new thought or not – only that you are taken to your core beliefs. DREAMS – Record any significant, prolong, or repetitious dream event. Include characters, colors, places, etc. If you dream every night and then stop — record that! DREAM THOUGHT – 

This is not required after every dream entry, but occasionally you will have a thought, attitude, fear or excitement over a dream — write them down. ACTIVITES – These are ‘events’ that you engage in over a period of time; hobbies, a sports team, a club or organization. Consider how you interact with each and how this approach changes as you become more ‘aware’ of what you are. School courses are not normally included, but ‘taking flute lessons’ might be. ‘Hanging out at the mall’ should be left out, but ‘engaging in a Tuesday night Chat Room’ might be. Get it?  …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. At first glance this may seem tedious, but experience has shown that we cannot remember minutia from day to day – and certainly not its relevance to our emotional or spiritual growth.  I understand that each traveler here has made a commitment to daily writing.  This does not mean a book or poem.  It does mean “now”!  Christian scripture would have us read, “In the beginning was the word.”  If you instead embrace, “In the beginning IS the word.”  then this all makes sense.




6 responses

1 12 2006

My ideas are finally finding some ways to organize themselves and this is just the ticket! Now if I can just locate a stevedore…

1 12 2006

I love the photo that you added! Nice!

2 12 2006
Heather Blakey

When we wandered around Europe for six months I kept visual journals, small notebooks and took many photographs. I wrote lots of letters to my mother, who meticulously kept them for me and sent detailed emails. The collection is now stored in an old trunk. Maybe I will use your guidelines to sort all of this out one day.

2 12 2006

Good reading.

2 12 2006

Excellent — thank you for the ideas…

4 12 2006

All timely and useful – I shall pay heed. And I love the view from the cabin…

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