I stole this idea from Austin Kleon, who started taping figures like Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman inside his notebooks a couple years ago to act as guardian spirits. It looks like such a fun practice, an opportunity to christen and personalize our new-year journals, so why not join in?
Scour through your books, magazines/comics/manga, and other junk you’ve collected in your years as a collector of miscellany, and shake out any spirits that might seem worthy of your planner — clipping them out with a pair of scissors might be more effective. Or find a picture online to print out, if you have something in mind! You can see in this gallery, I was close to cutting out a portrait from my Iria: Zeiram the Animation DVD or slapping Ronin Division’s dog sticker into my notebook.
But while looking through donation piles of books this afternoon, I opened this volume from a Japanese collection of Henry Miller’s works, bought second-hand over a decade ago and never paid attention to again. In between its pages I found this advertisement and entry card for the Famous Writers School, an institution of some notoriety that operated a correspondence course around the 1960s and 70s.
The headline from co-founder Bennett Cerf made me smile, and I decided he would be perfect as my first planner guardian spirit. While I didn’t know much about Bennett beforehand, embedding his soul into my journal motivated me to look him up, and his work establishing and leading book publisher Random House is tremendously interesting, despite the shady schemes in his late career. The hope is that he’ll give me a restless urge to fill this notebook with new ideas.
Go out and catch your own unexpected guardian spirits to trap inside your planner, and make sure to share them with me on Twitter and Instagram — if I receive enough, I can add them here in another gallery as examples!