Why did I write it down? In order to remember, of course, but exactly what was it I wanted to remember? How much of it actually happened? Did any of it? Why do I keep a notebook at all? The impulse to write things down is a peculiarly compulsive one, inexplicable to those who do not share it …

But our notebooks give us away, for however dutifully we record what we see around us, the common denominator of all we see is always, transparently, shamelessly, the implacable “I”…

On Keeping a Notebook (1966) by Joan Didion in Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Penguin, 1974  (first published 1968).

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