A Scribbled Aside



Ian Sansom can chart his life through his notebooks - he's been writing in them for 20 years.

He used to keep his notebooks in the freezer in case the house burnt down - until the notebooks in the freezer got damp. The current run of notebooks is stacked against the walls in his office and once a year he goes through them, harvesting for ideas and misplaced telephone numbers.

The notebook is - or has traditionally been - the crucible of creativity, a 'commonplace book', the first resort, and the last word in portable technology. They're where writers and artists begin.

In this short, carefully scribbled history, Ian looks at his own and other people's and asks whether their time is now coming to an end.

With the advent of phones, iPads and laptops, is this the end of the notebook as we know it? And how will it change the creative process?

Produced by Rachel Hooper

A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.