Hi! My name is Christine and I’m an American expat living in Milan, Italy. I’ve worked as a journalist, content editor, social media manager and translator in this wonderful country for over 10 years, mainly in the fashion industry. I’m also an avid reader, hobby dabbler, wine drinker, photo taker and Netflix binge watcher. OH and I’m married to an Italian man, who provides plenty of fodder for a future entry that I shall entitle “Cultural Chasms”.
I’ve always had a hapless mind in the sense that it jumps from one topic to the next in a merciless manner, barely giving me the time I need to truly reflect on whatever it is I’ve just read/seen/heard. I find that I devour a great amount of information, but I want to ensure that I am absorbing this information in a meaningful way and remembering other interesting things I come across along the way.
This desire led me to discover the concept of a commonplace book, which is defined in a number of ways, but is generally considered to be a depository of tidbits (that can range from thoughts and quotes to recipes and photos) deemed interesting by the author. Famed commonplacer Giovanni di Paolo Rucellai described it as a “salad of many herbs” – lolz.
After many abandoned personal blogs on all manner of topics, I decided to create my own commonplace book and I decided to make it:
- Digital – because writing by hand for more than 3 minutes only leads to painful cramps and unnecessary nostalgia for simpler times (and because I’d like to be able to access/share easily;
- Public – though this website is intended for personal use, I also came to the conclusion that others who share my random auto-didactic tendencies or are simply curious about certain topics that have crossed my cognitive path might just benefit somehow from a pre-charted map of thoughts, information, bibliography of sources, etc.
A week in, I realize this project is also a way to document the origins of my interest in a topic and what other topics it steered me to as well as how my knowledge of that topic grows and evolves, both vertically and horizontally. A sort of learning map. I might create a post on Catherine the Great simply because I loved the podcast I listened to on her, but that might be it for a while (or perhaps forever). I like the idea that my interest in her, no matter how fleeting, is recorded somewhere; left to personal posterity.
As I write this introduction to the website, I realize what a mammoth this experiment might be. But I am approaching it all in a very lighthearted way – I want to avoid bogging myself down in the art of recording knowledge at the cost of acquiring that knowledge. Despite my habit of starting projects and leaving them unfinished, I feel particularly passionate about this one as I do believe it will help me move towards a deeper level of knowledge rather than a mass consumption of factoids. And make me look real smart at cocktail parties.