Wise words in a notebook

Now that I’m getting my life back on track I’ve started writing again.

During my thirty months of chemotherapy I wrote lots of blog posts on both this blog and elsewhere. I stopped writing blogs in 2020 as I’d too many other things to contend with. My bowel cancer surgery was in March followed by a liver re-section in June.  It’s taken months to recover but gradually I’m getting back into the swim of things (Covid style!) and making progress.

Starting to write this blog again is a big step.

I’ve written the occasional post recently for my Family History Blog and I’m hoping, eventually, to complete the third memories book I started just before my cancer diagnosis in 2017. I have a partially written biography of my great grandfather too that I want to finish. So, getting back into the writing habit with a daily blog post will be good for me.

I write in Oxford Black n’ Red hardback notebooks, ruled and with spiral bindings. I buy them in packs of five from Amazon whenever there is a discount on the price.

Usually I tear off the extra bits of printed paper that are in the front of the notebooks and throw them straight into the re-cycling bin.

But something made me stop and read them when I opened a new pack of notebooks recently. I was surprised to read that Oxford Black n’ Red have a manifesto!

I quote:

Success. It isn’t something that falls into your lap. You earn it.

It takes hard work, determination and the right tools.

And then, as you would expect, the manifesto explains why Oxford Red n’ Black notebooks are the right tools for achieving your goals.

I don’t disagree with Oxford Red n’ Black’s definition of the steps to success but I don’t think they apply to everyone. I can think of countless examples of people of mediocre talent and abilities who have achieved great success by being born in the right place at the right time to well connected parents.

The Manifesto ends with:

Never Give Up.

Now that’s a maxim I agree with wholeheartedly as long as you have the good sense to know when you’re banging your head repeatedly against a log and realise it’s time to stop!

I’ve always liked

Winners never quit and quitters never win

which I thought could be attributed to Peter Mandelson when he resigned from Tony Blair’s government for the second time. It turns out that American football player and coach, Vincent Lombardi is credited with coining the phrase.

Anyway, back to Black n’ Red.

To help you achieve your objectives the stationers quote these wise words from St Francis of Assissi:

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible.

St Francis is credited with arranging the first Christmas Nativity scene in 1223 after trying to negotiate an end to the Crusades in 1219; some evidence there that his wise words might be effective. In 1228 the Pope canonised Francis and he became the patron saint of Italy. St Francis was a popular saint when I used to go to Sunday School as a child. His association with animals and nature meant that hardly a year passed by when we didn’t have a picture of St Francis to colour in.

St Francis is also credited with:

Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.

Famously quoted by Mrs Thatcher on her arrival at 10, Downing Street in 1979.

You will have your own opinion as to how successful she was in implementing that ambition!

And the final words of advice from Black n’ Red:

The first step is to take one.

I like that!

Thanks for reading my blog today.

By Catherine Murray

I'm trying to write a blogpost every day, hence 3sixtyfive blog.