Virginia Barton



In 1720, in a Letter of Advice to a Young Poet, Jonathan Swift wrote:

“. . .A commonplace book is what a provident poet cannot subsist without, for this proverbial reason, that ‘great wits have short memories:’ and whereas, on the other hand, poets, being liars by profession, ought to have good memories; to reconcile these, a book of this sort, is in the nature of a supplemental memory, or a record of what occurs remarkable in every day’s reading or conversation. There you enter not only your own original thoughts, (which, a hundred to one, are few and insignificant) but such of other men as you think fit to make your own, by entering them there. . .”

The “few and insignificant thoughts” are exactly what will be found here in Commonplaces.

31 August 2018: Posh Shop

Not so very long ago I remember loose sugar being weighed into stout paper bags; likewise tea and other dry goods, like rice. Very little was pre-packed. We didn’t all die of food poisoning either.

10 August 2018: The Narrator

Sam Dastor, actor, is preparing to read BH’s book “Crater’s Edge” for Audible. It’s brave of Sam because he speaks neither Polish, Russian nor Persian.

3 August 2018: Comical!

Every week my sister and I bought “The Beano” and “The Dandy” which we read from end to end in total silence, most likely sucking a gobstopper – also tolerated by my mother, despite the hideous name.

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