On the last night of 2016, we found this list on Kottke, a blog we’ve loved for years. It is just notations, really (bold face, our favorites),  almost stream of consciousness, of public and private experiences that powerfully sum up the year.  It gave us an idea for simple way of keeping a diary, which we, like so many people we know, are too busy to keep up with (how many are started and abandoned?). We’re going to try it while the year is young.

Here are some things I liked this year: Arrival. Halt and Catch Fire. Hamilton. Swiss Army Man. Kurzgesagt. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. kottke.org. Westworld. The San Junipero episode of Black Mirror. Seveneves. Gravitational waves. Museums with friends. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. Hillary Clinton. The Neapolitan Novels. Game of Thrones. My kids. OJ: Made in America. Flat water with ample skipping stones. The Americans. Bruce Conner’s Crossroads at The Whitney. My baby momma. Wait But Why. Mad River Glen. Sunsets. Zero Days. Fleabag. My local (which is not so local anymore). Fall foliage. Transparent. Instagram. Swim holes on hot summer days. Lemonade. the lemons. The Power Broker by Robert Caro. The Obamas. Force Majeure. Snap peas from the farmer’s market. All of the kottke.org members, each and every damn one of you beautiful people. Reading Harry Potter to my kids. Jumping waves in Mexico. Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang. Steak for two. Dope. A bunch of stuff I’m forgetting. Picasso’s Bull’s Head at MoMA. A Moon Shaped Pool. The Crown. Journalism. Carol. The Auralnauts. Wonderland by Steven Johnson. SNL’s Black Jeopardy. Twitter. Epoch by Tycho. Every Frame a Painting. My friends, old and new, you know who you are.

Here are some things I didn’t like this year: Brexit. Trump. The media. Finishing reading the Harry Potter books to my kids. The 2016 election, every single fucking second of it. Leaving New York. Nino Sarratore. The continued retreat of the American public from reality. The demise of Gawker and sale of Gawker Media. Twitter. The unprecedented warming of both poles. Shutting down Stellar. Too many dinners for one. The continued inaction on gun deaths. Misogyny. Xenophobia. Fascism. Racism. White nationalism. Authoritarianism. Religiously motivated terrorism. Climate change denialism. Here’s to fewer isms in 2017.


Just notations will do to capture memories; it doesn’t seem that dates even matter, as long as they’re roughly in the year. We checked out diary and journal apps and they’re just too much. We don’t want to have to make a special entry in a special day within a strict format. We want to just be able to notate what’s going on while we’ve got a few minutes to spare, say, standing on line at the post office or riding on the subway or sitting in the park. By hand in a notebook is nice but not portable and immediate enough for us.

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

Google’s brilliant instant, no frills note-taking app is perfect for now. Mira Keras put us onto it. (Hers is seriously cool and way more evolved than ours.)

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

We expect our 2017 note in Google Keep to get VERY long, but that is the wonder of it.

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4 replies on “Instant Diary for Capturing Essential Memories

  1. Auralnauts, oh yeah! Just scanning the list of things not liked made me cry, I doubt I could get through reading them aloud.

  2. Such a sad year we had, but here is to Improvised Life and making 2017 better!

  3. Kottke made quite a list. But the GOOD things were really great. It’s worth remembering them, for balance, and ballast.

  4. Thanks a million. We will keep putting positive/creative ideas out there to antidote the dark…

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