Keep a log - The New York Times

Welcome. I pruned the trailing jade plant yesterday, made a noodle kugel for Rosh Hashanah, and cycled to Manhattan for dinner. This w...


Welcome. I pruned the trailing jade plant yesterday, made a noodle kugel for Rosh Hashanah, and cycled to Manhattan for dinner.

This was my diary entry for September 7, 2021. Nothing fancy, no editorialization or reflection, just a recording of a few things I did. I record my day whenever I remember it, but I’m not too hard on myself when I miss a day or even a month. The goal is to create an unobtrusive record of how I spend my time. This has been especially helpful over the past year and a half, when the days tend to merge.

I was so happy to hear readers who kept notebooks – some since I suggested it one year ago (inspired by Austin Kleon), others for much longer. Here’s what some had to say about their logs (posts have been edited for length and clarity):

  • “Every morning I spend five to ten minutes writing in my calendar the day before. Small handwriting, sometimes barely readable, but I’m lost if I don’t. I appreciate the space constraint. (I use a Met Museum desk calendar and enjoy the artwork.) Somehow the new day doesn’t start until I’ve taken a few minutes to think about the day before. . —Alice Maxfield, Southampton, Pennsylvania.

  • “I kept a diary / diary for years. When my daughter suffered from cancer, I followed her chemo, her visitors, her cute moments with her nurses and doctors. And although it has been a scary and difficult time, I am happy that all of those moments are documented. ”—Cynthia Thornquist, Helena, Mont.

  • “I have found it useful in many ways. When did I go to dinner with my sister, take my dad to the ophthalmologist, change the sheets last, walk this newly discovered trail? All recorded in sentences of two or three words. During the shutdown, I added a line: What did I eat for dinner? As one day has mingled with another and I live on my own, with no one to ask about the history of a meal when I find leftovers in the fridge, I honestly sometimes couldn’t remember this. that I had eaten when. I’ve still been recording my dinners since I made a vow about a year ago not to waste food. —Linda Holzbaur, Ithaca, NY

  • “When my family started quarantining themselves in 2020, I opened a journal on Facebook. I thought it would last a few weeks and be a way to look back once the pandemic is behind us. Each entry shows the number of days of the pandemic, lists a few events since the last log, and offers some thoughts on current events or other activities. —Erika Spence, Winter Park, Florida.

  • “Every evening, just before I turn off my bedside lamp, I write three things that brought me joy (sometimes as simple as ‘the coffee tasted good’ or ‘played with the dog’), three things things I’ve accomplished (sometimes as simple as ‘unloading the dishwasher’) and two things I look forward to the next day: It keeps me grounded and it keeps the days from unfolding too much together. —Lydia Noteman, Columbus, Ohio

  • “From my late father, I got into the habit of keeping a five-year journal, which makes it possible to write a short entry for each day, over a five-year period. Now I find myself, like my dad did, looking back several years, comparing and remembering what I was doing, say, the last three or four September 1st. Journaling is definitely therapeutic and helps me slow down the vortex of time, in a way! —Stephen McKinley, New York


The actor Michael K. Williams was found dead at his home this week, at 54 years old. Jonathan Abrams revisited Williams’ portrait of Omar Little in “The Wire” – “a performance that helped make Omar one of the most memorable characters in a series teeming with it, showcasing its vast array of complexities and contradictions.”

Precious Fondren attended a vigil for Williams at the housing complex where he grew up, in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. MP Nick Perry, who has represented the neighborhood for nearly 30 years, said of Williams: “He lived elsewhere, but he always seemed to feel like he belonged and owed something to the neighborhood he grew up in. .

In her assessment of Williams’ roles on screen, Salamishah Tillet writes, “He chose to bring to life characters so unconventional, so complex and often so contradictory that they could not be locked into the traditional categories of race, sexuality and class into which they were born.”

here is where you can watch “The Wire”, “Boardwalk Empire”, “When We Rise” and more from the work of Williams.



What do you expect from the end of summer and the beginning of fall? Write U.S : athome@nytimes.com. Make sure to include your full name and location and we may include your response in a future newsletter. Were At home and away. We will read every letter sent. More ideas for passing the time, whether you’re at home or away, appear below. I’ll be back on Friday.

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