Notes. Endless notes about the work, the searching, the not finding and the doubt. I call them journal entries, but I write them everywhere on everything. Mostly they are reminders to myself of things I’ve learned or might learn. Sometimes it is just a conversation with myself after spending too many hours in some dusty archive where nobody goes anymore because they think everything is on the internet, or more than likely some attic or basement where nobody has been in a long time. Eventually, I transfer the notes into a journal, or stuff them in, and at that point the entries become like stacks of stones along the trail. Then I put bits and pieces here, on a website where I feel like the last man on earth broadcasting over the radio, just in case.
Not everything is on the internet, by the way. In fact, I call the stacks of rotting paper and dusty books I find “NOTI,” an acronym for Not On The Internet. It’s a joke. NOTI papers. NOTI books. Sounds like “Naughty.” So far, you’re the only person I’ve told this joke. It’s possible it’s not as funny as I think it is. Each journal entry has a title but I’m sorry, I’m afraid the titles are not very helpful. They mean things to me though, and they keep me on the trail.