Clipboard, 2022

I don’t use a journal, just a small piece of clipboard material on which I place quartered (torn) sections of 8.5 x 11″ paper that I have folded in half. I generally keep several such fresh sheets with me, as well as others containing things I am working on—plans, schedules, tasks. Above, you see the board: I put a ridiculous drawing (by Bruegel) on one side. You also see a piece of paper, folded, as it would sit in my pocket. Then you see one such in-use, unfolded sheet: my accounting. This sheet tabulates various habits—you may guess what they are—that I am TO PERFORM or TO AVOID each day. This is a middling eleven days; I could have done better. Jesse Ball is the author of sixteen books and is on the faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is a winner of The Paris Review’s Plimpton Prize for Fiction and his novel A Cure for Suicide was long-listed for the National Book Award. His latest book, Autoportrait, comes out from Catapult this August.

Clipboard, 2022

I don’t use a journal, just a small piece of clipboard material on which I place quartered (torn) sections of 8.5 x 11″ paper that I have folded in half. I generally keep several such fresh sheets with me, as well as others containing things I am working on—plans, schedules, tasks. Above, you see the board: I put a ridiculous drawing (by Bruegel) on one side. You also see a piece of paper, folded, as it would sit in my pocket. Then you see one such in-use, unfolded sheet: my accounting. This sheet tabulates various habits—you may guess what they are—that I am TO PERFORM or TO AVOID each day. This is a middling eleven days; I could have done better.

Jesse Ball is the author of sixteen books and is on the faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is a winner of The Paris Review’s Plimpton Prize for Fiction and his novel A Cure for Suicide was long-listed for the National Book Award. His latest book, Autoportrait, comes out from Catapult this August.