Preface to the complete project

PERSONAL AGENDA consists of three books:

Book one, a collection of notes, correspondence and other documents, dating from January 1999 to May 2003.

Book two was written between May and December 2003. In contrast to the first book, the material in this part was written with the acute awareness that I was indeed working on a project.

– The last period could not have been punched in before I was happy that I have said enough, for now. Book three was written in January and February 2004.

My initial working title for the project was simple: “Brand’s Book”. By the time I made the first print-out of what is now BOOK ONE, I had changed the title to “About potato salad and other important issues” (I even wrote an essay about my favourite side dish).

After I had completed the second postscript to the first book, the idea of a “personal agenda” presented itself to me. I liked the honest nature of it. The phrase is often used in gossip, to warn others that the concerned individual has an “agenda” and that this sometimes mysterious business is his first priority. It was important for me not to wait until someone else shed light on my agenda, to explain my agenda to me, as it were. I wanted to make it clear from the cover and the title page: To a large extent the material in this project describes a personal agenda.

As it often goes with these types of things, the process of discovering the details of this agenda and articulating it touched on themes that extended well beyond just my own sometimes insignificant existence.

(28 July 2004)


Brand Smit never wanted to be a blogger

Sunday, 28 August 2011

I had been dismissive of the idea of blogging since I first read about it in a newspaper in 2004.

“People write about their lives and publish it on the internet for everyone to read?” I thought while gently stroking my notebook. “Whatever do they write about that other people find interesting?”

Seeing that I was neurotic about being part of any group, or being seen as perhaps following some popular trend, I reckoned: “Me – a blogger? Never.”

Then, in early 2006, I discovered how to register a domain name. BRANDSMIT.NET made its appearance, and a few years later, ASSORTEDNOTES.COM followed. The idea of a blog occurred to me again after creating a website on the first domain, but the automatic dating of content was a big problem. The day you publish the content on your blog is automatically shown as the day that the content was created. There was no chance that I would be happy with an essay I wrote in November 1999 suddenly appearing as if I wrote it in March 2006.

The possibility that the date could be manually adjusted only occurred to me a few years later. The publication on this platform of my Personal Agenda material is the result of that discovery.