Okay, I admit it. I am a notebook person. A notebook connoisseur. Notebooks are my salvation and my redemption.
Forget clothes. I once was into apparel and shoes as a younger woman, although I have had the notebook urge since I left the womb. Today if I enter a mall or a department store, I inevitably end up in the paper section. Bound journals, spiral notebooks, little notepads, legal pads in every color. I simply want to possess them all.
I like odd notebooks with odd covers. I even like them with cartoon characters. Some days I am a leather-bound notebook girl and my penmanship gravitates to the flowery and elegant. Other days I prefer juvenile notebooks with cartoon characters on the cover. On these days, I write fast and in volume.
Through the years, I have filled these notebooks with an account of my life. I still have most of them, although I found some high school endeavors and was so embarrassed I burned them in my too-cool-to-be-me stage as a twenty something. Now as I write young adult novels, I wish I had them back so I could feel the teenage emotions once again. I would not find them embarrassing today, but they are gone forever.
I often wonder if I departed this world, what would my children make of my scribbling?
Once written, you can never take it back again. Unless you burn it. It is rather equally awe-inspiring and scary that the internet makes one’s thoughts forever out there in the world. I try not to think about that fact when I rant on Facebook or in my blogs.
Still, even as I type this ode to notebooks on my computer and post it for the world to see, I still prefer my paper notebooks. There I can really be me. I can doodle. I can glue in images. I can draw “buster” signs through sketches of people that irritate me. I can ignore margins. I can pray on pages.
My favorite time of the year is in August when all the back to school specials happen. For mere cents, I stock up on notebooks of all sorts: three ring binders, spiral bound, wide ruled, college ruled, loose leaf and those black and white bound notebooks, which now come in wild covers. I have a full cart each year, and along with the paper I add their friends: sharpie pens, colored pencils, glue sticks.
I believe my inner child comes out within the pages of a notebook and it is the inner child that is the purest writer of all. In the notebook, you can escape onto blank page after blank page and create the world of which you always dreamt. Everything is private and everything is possible. There are no teachers, no editors, no critics.
I have notebooks full of brainstorming ideas. I keep one in the car, by the bed, on the desk. I haven’t yet put on in the bathroom but the idea just occurred to me. When some idea—and I have many crazy ones, pops into my head, I write it down. Sometimes I forget about it almost immediately. Sometimes I just go back and peruse the ideas of years before. Other times, something jogs my memory and I go searching for it. I like to record dreams right after they happen. I wish I was better at this. I’m a deep sleeper and typically want to go back to sleep and record it later. I convince myself I will not forget the details, but most often do.
The only thing that makes me melancholy in regards to my notebooks, is now that I am approaching 44 years old and have basically lived out half my life already, is that there are too many recorded ideas in my notebooks to ever have time to pursue them all.
I feel this way in libraries as well, and discovered this fact as a seventeen year old college freshman as I sat in the ‘tombs’ of our old college library. There are so many books that interest me, but I will never ever have the time to read them all in this lifetime.
So some of the unused ideas may never take root and grow. Of course, I am willing them to my children. Perhaps they will find inspiration in my ideas, be shocked when they see a ‘buster’ sign through some sketches of a relative, or understand just a little bit better the quirky and sometimes confusing person they called ‘Mom.’
It is the inheritance of my love affair with paper notebooks, with the written page.