My stolen diary – unedited thoughts

When my handwritten diary got stolen in the course of a burglary a couple of months ago I was angered by the loss of this most personal item, which contained intimate thoughts and sequences of reflections on captured personal moments. At that time though, I concentrated more on the practical implications of the loss of research data as my laptop and digicam were stolen too and impacted negatively on progress of my studies.

Ever since that day and the subsequent start of a new Moleskine I kept taking the notebook with me whereever I would go. Frequently it seemed a bit too large to carry around – what for? the muse may strike..or not?! – yet, I wouldn’t forget the sense of disgust that stroke me the moment I had discovered the loss.

I have learnt something quite remarkable in those week since: more often than not ideas and notions may develop in seemingly inconvenient moments and situations. Then all I want to do is to jot them down, scribble, draw mindmaps and enjoy that moment of creativity. I know that some thoughts need to be thought more than once in order to settle and mature and they may evolve out of different contexts and influences – but it is important to capture them and re-read those written traces later, in other settings, under different conditions.

Note-taking, writing a fielddiary may appear a necessary requirement for ethnographic students but combined with a very personal kind of diary / notebook it becomes an invaluable and rich source of [ideally] non-edited thoughts, concepts, plans and even rough drafts of theoretical explanations.


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About Britta Bohlinger, CFE

Founder and Director of RisikoKlár in Iceland. Native German, global perspective - previously in London and Berlin.
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