I have a thing for notebooks. A thing as in a collection. A habit. A love.
As many as I have, I write in all of them – except for the pink leatherette notebook I was given for Valentine’s Day. It’s a self-discipline moment. I’m saving it. Savoring it. Too many notebooks are never enough, and it’s best to have one or two waiting offstage.
All of these notebooks store the moments of me. My need for reflection. The quotes I collect to guide me, my children, and my students. Dates, ideas, and list upon list. My life in large, flowing cursive. Black ink. Who I am. What I do. Outlined in brief, bulleted format.
There’s a lot of freedom in line by line living, as confining as it may appear. I’ve tried those unlined notebooks and sketchbooks too, but found all that white space a little overwhelming. I love a fresh, clean page but also need a place to begin. Top left, line one.
It would appear – despite the random, willy-nilly nature of my entries and my notebooks’ often schizophrenic purpose, that I need a minimum of structure. Straight lines to offset the curves of my days, the balance achieved by staying within the lines.
And most days I do. Stay within the lines, I mean.
But sooner or later boredom can and does overcome my every attempt to stay organized and up-to-the-minute with my own life. I mentally and creatively wander off. Looking back through the days, I see that May 7th was one of those days and the only one since February 26th. My thoughts were too big or too abstract or too fragmented for the lines to tether them that day.
I wrote in big, block letters on May 7th. Words like R E S E T and D I S C O V E R Y. And I’m not really a hearts and butterflies kind of girl, but there on the pages of May 7th is evidence that apparently I am indeed a hearts and butterflies kind of girl. Other mind wanderings that day include the word E N E R G Y – in some sort of tilted script as though the word itself had more energy than I did that day – and a random reference to a “driving camper.”
I dream about driving cross country someday.
So my notebook then is the one, single place that’s pretty much all about me. Looking at my notebooks, I see I’m both dreamer and doer. I’m a lister, record-keeper, and counter. I’m a philosopher, a thinker, a peace-seeker. I’m a writer.
I puzzle it out. Weigh options. Name my next direction.