".. is the general term for notes, scribbles, and editorial comments made in the margin of a book. The term is also used to describe drawings and flourishes in medieval illuminated manuscripts. True marginalia is not to be confused with reader's signs, marks (e.g. stars, crosses, fists) or doodles in books. The formal way of adding descriptive notes to a document is called annotation.
The scholia on classical manuscripts are the earliest known form of marginalia. Fermat's last theorem is probably the most famous historical marginal note.
The term was coined by Samuel T. Coleridge who did extensive in margin notes in almost all the books that he read. Five volumes of just his marginalia have been published."
So, its not an ancient word--its one of those add alia,etta,ino, orum ville, or town, or whatever to the end to make a new jumble word that folks understand but somehow explains an approach, an eccentricity to those in the know. What I love about marginalia is this is kind of where authors or artists or illuminators really let their hair down about what reallywas going down in their thinking, or their opinion/orientation.
My life right now comprises of a lot of marginalia--Yes, there is that pedantic race of time that one addresses "A" and ends up at "J" (on a good day) by lunch and to "N" by the time it's dark and one's eyes are shut. Rarely does one get through the entire race--sometimes trying harder than others, sometimes thrown off the sequence by other things or the impinging marginalia that twists and decorates the predictable pace of the daily sequence. These flourishes, exclamations, these seemingly frilly decorations is what separates day one from day two--These are the flavorings that add depth and complication to the norm. Yes, I am a designer and an illustrator. Sometimes paying the bills or having tight deadlines all the way around takes what often is the flourish, the marginalia where I can think and cast about about "what if" and smashes into a form that can be processed through the daily mechanism of doing and finishing--that task driven,results oriented strain that is required in work.
I am privileged to be in control of a very flexible and more dynamic situation--but personally, as I get older, the idea of being introverted and living amongst the marginalia seems pretty sweet to me. A digital monk--with a small circle of those I love in this small town seems pretty okay. Its harder to deal with the crisis of the world, the financial pace of this recession, the shock and tragedy of this war and the stupidity of our people in embracing this "made for TV" "reality programming" that IS reality to most. The insincere world of air kisses and fabulousness without plan, strategies or work. This life of girl fights and shopping. No planning, no thinking, no pushing the boundaries as we are so content to live in our mansionettes with trips to the mall and electronics stores to expand our clean little worlds. I cannot begin to wrap my mind and arms around all that saddens me, and deadens my life and day. But marginalia is an aether I can live in, understand and know that in my detail, there are no boundaries.