A&O Diary


Your A&O Diary


We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand”


Actually, the epigraph above, extracted from C.D. Lewis’s book The Poetic Image  (1983)  applies to all artistic expression.  Arguably the first “audience” for any creative expression is one’s self.   

Your CLASS JOURNAL: is a key tool: this is your personal document in which new material from class and your personal passions are more-or-less integrated.  This is yours alone and private, but can be used in multiple class exercises.  If there is ever an open-book quiz, this will be the book.  Please look at how journals and diaries have worked for other people. (e.g., Maria Popova’s 2014 essay at Brain Pickings blog and her collection of comments on diaries by Virginia Woolf. I keep a diary and her comments really resonated with)

Also, for me, C.D. Lewis’s observation works: “We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand The cognitive processes involved in the act of writing seem to synergize with other processes that taken together, help us understand what we’re thinking in ways we still do not understand.   (from A&O Course Description)

“Toward the end of this life, [Michel] Foucault [French philosopher, theorist, and critic]  reflected on a more modest genre of writing in antiquity called ‘hupomnemata’ [also “hypomnemata”], the sayings of the Stoics, the Epicureans, Jesus. In ‘Self Writing’ (1983), Foucault said:


In this period there was a culture of what could be called ‘personal writing’: “taking notes on the readings, conversations, and reflections that one hears or has or does; keeping notebooks of one sort or another on important subjects (what the Greeks call hupomnemata), which must be reread from time to time so as to reactualise what they contain,” (From Andrew Hui’s essay “In Praise of Aphorisms.”) a process connected to an observation related by E.M.Forster: “How will I know what I think until I see what I say?”  (and see many other similar observations by accomplished artists at A&O notes on extraordinary experiences of artists in their own words)


Another version of diary, more like a scrapbook is the Commonplace book.  A cultural tradition at one time –a seeming precursor of personal web logs. (See entry in A&O GLOSSARY)


But I hope you will go beyond writing in mere words: embellish and doodle freely, its privacy should be empowering, and its results are likely to surprise you.