I have seldom been able to keep a sketchbook for very long. I have a lovely one in my purse now filled with lists, but no drawings. I have several beautiful books, bought mostly when I'm traveling, that sit on shelves because my work would never be good enough to fill the handmade paper pages. I do use 3 by 5 cards compulsively for simple sketches and thoughts, but I don't keep or organize them. The dashed-off drawings are filled with meaning but it is hard to treat them as serious documents when they are really designed to be aide-mèmoire.
My camera - and now my phone - are usually what I use to collect thoughts, not a sketchbook. These images need to feel somewhat slight to be reminders of the meaning of that moment when I saw and took the image. I value focus but it would be very hard for me to use a tripod. For many years I didn't carry a camera, thinking that I needed to mentally record the memory and that taking the picture would interfere with really paying attention. Looking back, I don't think that was the case. I have strong visual memories of special places I went to many years ago, but when I do have a photo I find that there are extra bits hidden in the picture that I didn't record with my brain. Ravenna is more modest than I remember. The scale of the mountains in the southwest doesn't overwhelm the details of rocks closer up. The sky always seems to be threatening in Scotland. Some silly images or odd juxtapositions still amuse me.
We went to a stealth dinner party this week and met a couple celebrating thirteen years of marriage and three delicious children. They are on the cusp of buying grownup furniture and we were talking about decoration between Buster Keaton and LA stories. They used to live near the Japanese enclave on Sawtelle and I mentioned Tomato Bank and my beloved Robot store - which they knew better than I did. During their put-together years of decorating the only art they had bought were post-it notes sold at the Giant Robot Gallery for about ten bucks each. Something fabulous and oddly valuable about these ephemeral scraps of paper capturing an intrusive or impulsive thought!