Turning Over the Year

Like many other people around the world, I bought a new Hobonichi for 2021 planning and tracking. For me, the Hobonichi Weeks provides the simplicity I need for a planner.

Hobonichi Weeks

2021 Hobonichi Weeks “Camp” cover

If you don’t know what a Hobonichi  is, you can read all about them here.

Years ago, I chose the larger A6 Techo with its page a day format. There would be many days of no entries, and I suffered blank page guilt as a Techo is not inexpensive. Although I reconciled to writing page to page without care to the calendar, the A6 Techo was overkill. I really only needed a blank notebook but knew I’d miss the wonderful paper.

Hobonichi finally released a blank notebook in A6 and A5 sizes. These are great notebooks with the same quality paper as the Techo. I keep several of the A6 plain notebooks on hand.

Hobonichi has also released the “Day Free” Techo in A6 and A5 sizes. The available pages still have many Techo features such as small illustrations, quotations, “informational pages,” yearly index, and monthly and yearly calendars. The Day Free feels like a great choice for those of us who suffer blank page guilt. Yet for me, comparing the Day Free to the plain notebook, the latter meets my needs—the plain notebook has more blank pages than the Day Free.  The Day Free has 240 pages with only 170 devoted to the “notebook” section for day free scribbling. A plain Hobonichi notebook has 240 blank pages. Period.

Three years ago, I chose the Hobonichi Weeks with no regrets. I like the format, the size, and the lightness of Weeks. It’s easy to carry and has the same crisp, thin, fountain pen friendly paper as the standard Techo. No guilt, no waste. Just enjoyment.

Hobonichi Weeks

Sure, the space is small on the left-hand size, but you can carry over notes onto the blank page on the right-hand side. Rarely have I needed more than this two-page format.

There are myriads of Hobonichi users who love to paint, draw, and illustrate the pages of their Techos. Others use lots of washi tape, stickers, and other items they like to paste onto the pages. Most of the Instagram and other posts you’ll find about the Hobonichi are from these wonderfully creative folks.

However, many Hobonichi aficionados use their Techos for notes and scribbles. You don’t see these “text only” Techos posted about very often because… well, they’re not as pretty, ay? Personally, my Weeks is filled with my notes which are not for public consumption.

I want to give a shout-out to my sisters and brothers who are text-oriented Hobonichi users. I see you, even if, like me, you don’t share your pages publically. There’s honor in our scribbles, my friends!

Alongside my Weeks, I’ll continue to use a plain A6 notebook. While the Weeks plans and tracks my days, the plain notebook keeps notes about my novel and other projects. The plain notebook is leftover from last year because it ain’t full yet.

Hobonichi Weeks & Plain Notebook

Hobonichi Weeks & Plain Notebook

There’s a “Mega” Weeks with more memo pages at the back of it. Some need or want more, but the regular Weeks works for me quite well.

Current Reading

A single book starts 2021: Three Simple Lines, A Writer’s Pilgrimage into the Heart and Homeland of Haiku, by Natalie Goldberg. My heart and mind need a reset, and poetry is always a good choice for that. Goldberg’s opening line of her book:

“Haiku is a refuge when the world seems chaotic, when you are lost, frightened, tangled, and nothing is clear.”

—Natalie Goldberg. “Three Simple Lines,” Ebook ISBN 978-1-60868-698-8

I’m not lost or frightened, but confess to feeling tangled and that not a lot about the world is clear right now.

Here’s a haiku I wrote in November 2020 during the setting of the Blue Moon:

if you don’t see the haiku, please click on the photo

My goal for this year is to let go of the haiku 5-7-5 structure.  An experiment for moi. As Natalie Goldberg writes:

…the formal five syllables, then seven, then five, often taught in Western schools, does not necessarily work in English. In Japanese each syllable counts. They don’t have the, an, that, those articles of speech, so he [Alan Ginsberg] encouraged us not to worry about the count if we write or translate haiku. Only make sure the three lines make the mind leap.”

—Natalie Goldberg. “Three Simple Lines,”  Ebook ISBN 978-1-60868-698-8

While I’m not sure I can make the mind leap, I find writing with restrictions both challenging and freeing. I learned in writing for theatre that all things are possible within the boundaries of the black box. For me, writing haiku is a meditative exercise. One must be in the present moment to breathe out a haiku.

My intention is to keep these blog posts shorter so that they’ll appear with regular frequency this year. In that spirit, I’ll save the Aurora 88 post until next time.

For those of you excited that it’s 2021, may the new year bring you everything you hope for and imagine.

Meanwhile, stay safe,  kind, and curious, my friends! Thanks for reading.

See you anon.

For those who want more reading: