Using a pocket notebook - 9. Legacy

by Stuart Lennon

Does Legacy matter? That’s up to you.

I know people who finish a pocket notebook and fling it into the bin. It’s served its purpose. There is no legacy element.


I have spoken to others for whom legacy is of paramount importance. It is central to their motivation for making notes in the first place. It is their intention that generations to come will inherit these notebooks.

I’m hedging my bets. I don’t edit on the fly, so my notebooks may contain anything from doodles to shopping lists to musings on life. A future reader would need to be a patient person.

The argument for legacy is that the notebooks serve as a time capsule, an insight into life. I suppose the risk therefore, is that when writing, one becomes aware of a future reader and that consciously or unconsciously, elements of self-censorship creep in.


“Use and throw” endows all the value of note-taking on the act of writing things down (or drawing them), and none on the actual output. The focus is on the mental process. any legacy is wrapped up in achievements beyond the notebooks.


I archive my pocket notebooks boxes made for the purpose, but I know may people who use shoe boxes or plastic containers.

Back Up

In the normal run of things, boxes of notebooks will last a long time. We can get into all sorts discussions about what type of sealed containers work best, but ultimately the risk remains that the boxes will get burned, or wet or just lost. I know of some people who scan their books into digital form, which they can then back up in multiple places. I guess five minutes work will see a book preserved forever. Personally, I don’t scan. Perhaps because I have no clear motivation for legacy, I will just accept that it is possible that one day, my notebooks will be lost or destroyed. I’m comfortable with that.

Closing Notes

I will have no descendants. What then will happen with my notebooks? Who knows? Perhaps, I’ll leave it to fate. Perhaps I will scan everything and lock it into a digital vault. I don’t know. From time to time on the 1857 podcast, my co-host TJ and I delve into our archives and share notes with each other, laughing at our past-selves.

Next week - my favourites.