I lost my notebook this week, and I am more upset about it than you’d imagine. It was nothing particularly special in terms of build, quality of paper, or even the words that filled it. It was one of the pocket Moleskine notebooks that you can buy in three packs. It fit perfectly in my pants pockets (front AND back!), the breast pocket on my dress and work shirts, and in the inside pockets of my blazers and coats, my favorite location for it. You could tag the page you were currently writing on with the clip of the pin, for ease of picking up where you left off, before slipping it back into the day’s holder.
No, this notebook was nothing of importance to you or any other passersby. But to me it was one of my favorite possessions. It was where I took down ideas for new material here, where I wrote a reminder to myself about a great meal I was having, or to make note of the special feeling I had after a first date. It was where I turned to when I had issues sorting through problems in my mind, where I hashed out the things I was feeling that I didn’t understand. It was where I wrote down notes and ripped them out to hand to people in secret. It was bent in the middle from being rubberbanded with my pen, and had three pages ruined from the time I dripped tikka masala on it, and it was mine.
I started keeping one about a year ago to jot down the things that pop into my head during the day (still waiting on that “get rich quick” idea), and it became a refuge, a sort of new friend to confide in, but one that just listened and let me work out things on my own. It helped me capture experiences and emotions in real time, then work out what they meant later. It didn’t provide immediate reaction; it let me slowly process things without the feedback of other things happening at the same time. It did not exist in real time, instead in a place where time slowed, or even stopped, where I was allowed to actually feel things and work to understand why I was feeling them.
I recommend to so many people that they should keep a notebook, for those reasons and more. It’s the perfect receptacle for your shit, and the perfect preserver of the good around you. So much of our lives is digital now. Our are photos on Facebook and Instagram, our jokes are on Twitter, our projects are on Pinterest. But your notebook is yours. Sure, things from it may end up in public forums for others to see, but then it’s by your choice. Until you release things from your notebook, they’re yours and yours alone.
I will miss that notebook. And I have a new one now. It could be a good one. It’s bigger, so no more carrying in pockets. And the pages aren’t lined so I will need to be more disciplined, which is okay; I could stand to clean up my handwriting, anyways. Maybe this notebook will last me longer than the other (it’s bigger, so that’s a real possibility). And there will be notebooks after it. Maybe one day I’ll actually use them to write something of real purpose. But until then I’ll continue to spew into it what I will, and it will continue to listen to me and let me be me.
Happy Friday, and happy writing.