Slice of Life Story-Moving from One Writer's Notebook to Another



Mixed feelings swirl around me when commencing a new writer's notebook.  The prospect of filling the fresh pages brings with it anticipation, presenting as a prospect to be enthusiastically embraced. 

To see newly generated words spread out across previously unmarked pages delivers a buzz. The very act of capturing the raw stuff of my writing life, delivers order and a sense of accomplishment to my active mind. The harvesting of words and ideas adds to the energy for writing in this new place. I am like the farmer ploughing a new field.


I make a conscious decision to choose a notebook with different dimensions and qualities to its predecessor. Some writers choose the same notebook each time a replacement is required. I embrace the notion of change along with the unique shape and form of the potential replacement notebook.

I remain keen to shape this new notebook in a way that establishes its difference from previous notebooks. The contents will add further to the individuality. There will be new discoveries. My notebooks, like people, possess unique attributes.

This changeover time however remains a bittersweet moment in my writing life. I am confronted with saying farewell to a trusted friend. I am saying goodbye to a travelling companion, the willing catcher of my thoughts and dreams. The notebook just completed has been with me every day for the past few months. Everywhere I have been, it has been there too. It travelled home with me from Rome last year after my wife purchased it at ‘Manufactus’ notebook shop opposite the Pantheon as a birthday surprise. A beautifully constructed leather bound notebook with generously thick paper pages. I had to wait to use it as I had just started another notebook at that time.

This precious gift of a notebook, like its predecessors has travelled with me everywhere- just in case. It now bulges like a well fed belly. -A notebook crammed with gathered thoughts, ideas and potential treasures to spark more detailed writing pieces. It contains much of the research information that is contributing to my current writing project. It has been with me throughout the Poems of Presence project in May. It has retained its leathery smell.




My new notebook, (another gift) represents a stunning departure from its predecessor. It comes from ‘Karst’ a Sydney based company who pride themselves in producing sustainable products. This new notebook is made from recycled, pulverized stone. No trees, water, bleach acid were used in its production, making its carbon footprint noticeably smaller. It contains a ‘paper’ made from stone. The resultant product is smoother and durable. When I pick it up, this notebook feels noticeably heavier in my hand and the pages discernibly different to the touch. Writing in this notebook represents a slightly different feel, I must say. It is an ideal notebook for Covid times as it means I don’t have to carry it about as much as I would normally do.

Moving forward, I will consciously carry both notebooks with me. This is the handover period. There exists for me as a writer, a natural connection, bridging the old and the new. This connection stretches across time with one notebook informing the other. As my new notebook begins to fill, it will reach a point where it will contain sufficient content to travel solo. The older notebook will be gently retired to become part of my ever expanding collection of completed notebooks, stretching back to 1983. 

My just completed notebook will continue to play an active role in my writing life. While it will cease to be my travelling companion, I will periodically revisit it and the other notebook for the purposes of reconnecting and rereading.  I am conscious of the vital role rereading plays in informing my writing ideas. It will serve as a source for research and reinvigoration. It is from reading old entries new ideas frequently reveal themselves. I will adopt the role of treasure hunter and text detective. 

It is akin to a reunion with an old friend. I take great joy and renewed pleasure in the reconnection. These notebooks are central to my existence as a writer and educator. All my published work began a tentative existence within the collective pages of my various notebooks. They are the footprints left by my writing journey, my life's journey.




Comments

  1. Ha! Another night owl who posts past midnight. Holy cow! Is that your real handwriting? If so, you were meant to keep notebooks; it is exquisite to look at. I share your love of notebooks, but haven't been nearly as organized or dedicated to keeping them. But mine, too, stretch over decades. Unlike yours, they are not only writing notebooks; they have been travelogues, personal journals; the diaries of my children growing up, and, yes, writing notebooks. I can no longer write longhand; my penmanship is illegible after a few paragraphs. And I have developed pretty serious arthritis in both hands, probably from too much crafting and writing. But I still can't pass up purchasing a new notebook if I happen to come across one!

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    Replies
    1. Actually Barbara, I posted this at 4.30pm Australian Eastern standard time, but you are right, I do tend to be a night owl. Thank you for your kind remarks regarding my handwriting. I am left handed and in my very first year of school, my teacher had the temerity to tell me- 'You should change to your right hand, because you will never be a neat writer!' I have devoted my entire writing life to proving her proclamation wrong. I am not a fast writer, but I am neat. I am saddened to hear of your issues with arthritis, That is cruel in every sense of the word. You're right about notebooks, they are hard to resist. I have at least a dozen sitting on my study shelf all ready to go.

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  2. The changeover is something, eh? I wrote a letter of appreciation to my "old" notebook this weekend as ready to move on...

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    1. You're right Erika, the changeover is something of a ceremony. I love the idea of writing a letter of appreciation to an old notebook. I once wrote a letter of 'anticipation to a notebook. I should follow your lead as a valuable reflective exercise.

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  3. A beautiful tribute to the notebook. It’s not an easy decision to make, when choosing a new notebook. Your description shows the value your notebook holds in your life.

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    1. Thank you for your kind remarks Jess. You're right about the decision making process. I'm actually glad it's not easy. it means I have made a considered choice. Thank you for noticing the significance of notebooks within my writing life. I'm glad that shone through.
      I am so grateful for having followed this writing pathway all these years. it has contributed greatly to both my writing and my personal well being.

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