I've returned from a whirlwind trip to my hometown of Kansas City, where I dined on steak and barbecue, and reflected on the past year and the one about to begin. For the first time in memory, I'm committing to a couple New Year's resolutions.
First, I resolve to read at least one book per month. I am ashamed to say it, because I think of myself as an intellectual, but my book-reading has been waning dangerously over the past year or so. Indeed, it has waned to the point that a one-book-per-month commitment would be an increase in frequency. It actually pains me to say that. I mitigate my shame by telling myself that the one-book-per-month rule is a minimum, and I really want to read two books per month. (In life generally, I like to set low expectations, for obvious reasons.)
Second, I resolve to put a large number of typed words together in a reasonably coherent order, after which I shall affix the designation of "novel" to the assembled words. (I just can't say "I resolve to write a novel," because it is too much of a failure cliché. Who doesn't want to write a novel? Who doesn't want to lose weight? Who doesn't want to repair all damaged relationships with family and friends? Yet hardly anyone ever does any of them.) For the past couple of weeks, an idea has percolated in my head, and it appears to have matured into something strong enough to support a book-length project. I have never had a shortage of ideas. But they usually lack some key component of readable fiction: plot; character development; being-worth-a-damn. This idea seems to have some meat in it. I fear that it might resemble too closely a book I read about 12 years ago. I have to go back and check -- it is possible that every clever detail I have dreamed up has really been dredged from dormant memories of that book. Hope not.
What does all of this have to do with Philofaxy? Not much, but some. I will be maintaining a rotating list in my Filofax of the books that will enable my resolution-satisfaction. And I have already used the "Notes" section to record some thoughts about the planned long, coherent list of typed words. Ultimately, these are pedestrian uses of my Filofax, well within boundaries well-trod by previous Filofax users. But the promise of Filofax is fully realized only when it reflects the drudgery of life. Filofax nirvana -- pure Philofaxy -- is when the Filofax is a mirror of the user's life. It contains the entire user, nothing more, nothing less, nothing untrue.