The End of an Era

Well..... okay..... there I go being hyperbolic again. But I just filled up another writing notebook and filling up a writing notebook makes me sentimental and triumphant and hyperbolic.
Dog-eared, beaten up, and fally-aparty

I have kind of a tight relationship with my writing notebooks. They mean a lot to me. We've been through a lot together, my notebooks and me. When I finish one, which usually takes about a year or 18 months, I tend to look back through the earlier pages, and memories pour out. Oh, yes, there's my agonizing spiritual poetry phase. There's my Kay Ryan look-alike phase (think short-ish, vertical poems). Someday I will look back at this one and say, Oh, that's right! I was possessed by the Mail Order Bride back then.

I look back and remember what transpired in my non-writing life through the lens of each notebook. That one clearly pre-babies. Oh, yes, this one during sleep deprivation after child #2. Then this other one, the one that took me four years to fill (third child, what can I say?). Notebook Number 9 above took me from very ugly attempts at poems about illness in South-of-the River, to the Mail Order Bride, and other poems around the issue of what makes a home, here on the peninsula. Who woulda thunk it?

I used to use this notebook by Levenger (side note to fellow notebook snobs in the readership: The notebook snob in me (solemn bow) greets the notebook snob in you). But then they changed the notebook's dimensions so that the pages weren't as wide, which really interrupted the flow of my drafting process. I was surprised at how important the width of a page could be. Alas, I dumped the Notabilia without a backward glance and went to Clairefontaines. My fave color is green, but I can live with black when that's all that's available at my verymostfavorite stationers. To wit:

This poor sucker has no idea what awaits

I begin each new notebook by writing this message on the inside cover: "Please return to Molly @ cel-lph-one#." Every time, I have to resist the urge to write something more desperate like: "I will die if I ever lose this. Please don't go through the rest of your life with blood on your hands. My children will seek to avenge my death. So call me."

And then I scrawl, in large print, a quote from rock-star poet Robert Hass:

"Take the time to write. You can do your life's work in half an hour a day."

Dear Robert Hass, I'm not sure I believe you, but you inspire me anyway.

This new notebook is Notebook Number 10. Today I will paginate it (every other page) and create a table of contents so things don't get lost. Tomorrow morning at five bells I will get up and pour a cup of coffee, then sit down at my desk with the blankest of blank pages. I can't wait.

(P.S. If you have notebook stories, or other stories about the artifacts of creativity -- skeins of yarn, the blank canvas, a lump of clay, your quilting shears, a brand new saucier -- I would love to hear about them in the comments).


Sandy Longhorn said...

Wahoooo! I have the same feelings when looking back at the pages.

Happy memories and happy days with new pages.

CitricSugar said...

I can't help but buy notebooks when I find them. I try to pick special ones, ones worthy of hand-written words. Then I usually leave them on the shelf too long while I try to come up with words worthy of the notebooks. It's a tragedy. Thanks for a kick in the butt. :)

sarah said...

mmmmmm serious notebook envy. i just got a new one, too, only its just a five star. but, they make a composition-style one now that is just the right size. not nearly as nice as the one you've got but it will do. now to start filling it....

enjoy making your blank pages full!!

Molly said...

Thank you, fellow notebook aficionados! Sarah, I have seen those five stars and been tempted..... tell me...... how do they write?