Commonplace Living is a space to cultivate a certain disposition towards the act of being in the world: to find the wonder, the beauty, the glory in the everyday, in the ordinary, in the mundane.
What is a Commonplace Book?
Underlining, highlighting, dogears, marginal notes.
Over the centuries we have found many ways of marking up the things we read, to remember what struck us, to have a way of going back into that world of text and find what we wanted to remember or set apart.
One way that many throughout history have done this, from Benjamin Franklin to Virginia Woolf, from John Milton to John Locke to Mark Twain and Carl Linnaeus, is to keep a commonplace book. It is more than a diary or journal. It is a physical place made of paper that can become a repository for the living conversation that we enter into when we read a poem, or explore a period of history, or look at a painting or sit in wonder before a bug. It is a place to write down the lines you have underlined or a passage you have dogeared. A place to sketch out a quick drawing of a fascinating beetle you saw or record a moment of beauty from your day. A place to write down a poem you heard or the definition of a new word.
A commonplace book is a repository of curiosities, a place to capture and look back on the wonders that we encounter everyday.
And keeping a commonplace book can be a kind of training, an education, in seeking out the beauty all around us. The practice of commonplacing can encourage a way of seeing the world, refreshing our eyes towards the unexpected.
The Common Things gathers various thinkers, from an economist to a political scientist, an art historian, a classical school teacher and philosopher. Common Things is the space for the growing community of “wonderers,” those with a desire to foster this sense of wonder and the expectation of finding beauty in the ordinary, to share their thoughts, to really create this “living commonplace book”.
Do you want to be one of our writers?
To submit an idea or to find out more, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Think and wonder, wonder and think. -Dr. Seuss
The Commonplace Living Project seeks to bring together and create a space where wonderers can grow, be refreshed, explore, brainstorm and think out loud together.
Human history is a living conversation, and it continues to move and breath and birth ideas into the world. Commonplace books, and now in a communal way, Commonplace Living, allow us to pause amidst the movement, to capture the wonders, big and small, that we come across in the everyday.
Commonplace Press is a future, hopefully near future, project of the Commonplace Living Project. The idea is to produce a collection of short books, primers if you will, that explore a particular topic, from everyday things to more obscure things, and do so in a way that is accessible to the “everyman.” We’ll keep you posted on progress!