The Notebooks That Keep Us

The Notebooks That Keep Us

As an early, avid collector of notebooks, I fondly remember shopping for diaries and journals with my mother from time to time. In my youth, I traveled a lot on various “missions trips” (if you know what I mean, you know what I mean, and no, I am not that person anymore), and so, most of my notebook use revolved around documenting those experiences. Aside from the yearly “trip” journal, I mostly kept a diary of all of my secret thoughts, which were few and not very exciting (one imagines), since I did not keep a single one of my old diaries. What a shame.

Nevertheless, in my early twenties, I took it upon myself to do some writing, be a blogger, which ultimately led me to the discovery that I truly love writing. And so, like a good little perfectionist, I sought to be the best writer through the acquisition of various notebooks, pens, pencils, writing utensils, etc., etc., &c. And for awhile, my notebook(s) (depending upon how many I am utilizing at any given moment) was/were everything. The notebook itself was everything. I found that I had little to nothing to write in them, and so, they were little accessories to my #writerslife. And then, one day, I became a real writer, and with this comeuppance, the realization befell me that I just need some paper (and a pencil [not a pen, never a pen]).

But by this point, I was living in Seoul, South Korea, and so, coming across mere paper became very difficult. In the Land of All Things Cute, Seoul offers notebooks aplenty, however, those notebooks are always decorated in the cutest of cute graphics and/or images. Thus, for my new-found proclivity for simple sheets of paper, I was at a loss and was thereby forced to care through the sheer proliferation of notebooks designed to be adorable.

Now, I am residing in These United States, and I terribly miss the cute factor I inevitably began taking for granted in Seoul. I cannot find cuteness anywhere! Alas, I am reminded that as a writer, I only need paper. And so, I happily turn to the pages bound together in the style of “Composition Book” and remember that my notebooks only carry meaning after I’ve been carrying them for awhile. It’s the transition, now, that really breaks my heart whenever the pages of a current notebook either begin to run out of inspiration or physical pages.

I become attached to the thing, not because of the words written inside or the general look of the notebook, but rather, I become attached through its sheer proximity to me for months and/or years. The acquisition of a new notebook is no longer an act of excitement or anticipation. Instead, these days, a new notebook means the loss of a current notebook, the one with which I have become so familiar over the past months or even years. I now exist in this place where I couldn’t care less about which notebook will become my next new notebook. Instead, I’m attempting (every day) to enjoy this time that I’m having with this notebook that I’m using. The notebook wouldn’t be much to me without me, and I might not be the same me without it.

I don’t know about you, but for me, my notebooks know all of my thoughts. Usually, I imagine that my notebook knows me better than myself. It certainly stores my mental whims and wishes effectively enough so that years later, I may look back upon my mental whims and wishes and understand myself better today. Perhaps, then, my point is less about the notebooks I carry and more about how the notebooks carry me. Each one of them was used during a very specific time in my life (within a very specific state of mind). And so, as I write my mind into these books, I am imbuing them with the essence of myself. Of course, this can all be perceived as spiritual mojo, hub-bub, nonsense, but it could also be read with an air a bit more akin to realism, something fairly straightforward. The straightforwardness would have to stem from the thing about literacy, but I do not know what it is exactly that makes literacy so powerful for/to the intellect.

And so, I must end with this, “Am I the collection of words I leave behind?”

‘Even’ Pt. 6

‘Even’ Pt. 6

How far are you willing to travel to obtain one of your favorite things?

Of course, I will travel any distance to obtain just about anything because traveling great distances is simply not something that’s important to me. The better question might be something like, is there a time to when you’re unwilling to travel? And to that, I’d answer, maybe sometime in the middle to late 20th century in human history. Next. Read more

This Not That

This Not That

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY ONE HUNDRED TWELVE

2017 February 10 [Friday]

Friday Feature

I’m not entirely sure when my love for notebooks grew into a full-on obsession, but it did, and I am. Thus, for today’s post, a little something different. I spent most of the day photographing every single notebook currently in my apartment. It was a nightmare, and that’s enough about that. Instead of going through and talking about how I shot them and why, I will simply get started.

These are the notebooks that traveled with me from The States to South Korea when we first moved here in 2013:

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[pictured above]

Mustard Pattern: Mead, spiral-bound, college-ruled, lined notebook

Puce: Moleskin, book-bound, single-subject, lined notebook

Cerulean Pattern: [brand unknown], book-bound, watercolor paper pad

Crimson: Moleskin, book-bound, strapped, lined notebook

These are all notebooks that either house important information I might need in case of emergency and other such data or are notebooks that have particular writings I thought would be of interest to me in the future. Thus, they traveled all the way from my apartment in Denver, Colorado, USA, when we moved to South Korea. Of course there are many other notebooks that are in storage at my parents’ house, but these were the ones I thought were the most important. So far, only one has proved its worth. We live and we learn, as the saying goes, yes?

These are the notebooks used through 2014:

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Denim Panda Graphic: Design Lab, mid-fold, lined notebook

Red Orange: Morning Glory, A4, spiral-bound, lined notebook

White Text: Morning Glory, A4, spiral-bound, lined notebook

Lime Mustache Graphic: Pinkfoot, three-quarter-sized, spiral-bound, lined notebook

Wine Text: Morning Glory, half-sized, book-bound, lined notebook

All of these notebooks were purchased during the end of 2013 and through 2014 in Daegu, South Korea. I have always loved notebooks, for as long as I can remember. I have also been quite obsessed with them, but when we moved here to Korea, the obsession became quite real. I’m not entirely sure how many notebooks I bought during our year in Daegu, but these are the ones that survived the trip to Seoul. They were all used for writing, with the exception of the tiny-panda graphic. The panda graphic was used to document the books I read in citation format. My favorite of them is the purple/wine book-style notebook with the text that reads,

Write down your wishes … This magic book is gonna help you

Secret Magic Spells Purebook

Precious memories

Linenote, Idea, Memo, Daybook

Since 1981

Tradition Notebook

Bah … hahahahaha! I love it! I do not believe that any of them were written in once we moved to Seoul in late 2014, but I’m too lazy to flip through each page to find out. I would consider all of them except for the White Text to be full.

These are my used notebooks through 2015:

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Kelly Green: Ibis, three-quarter-sized, spiral-bound, strapped, lined notebook

Cobalt: Ibis, reporter-style, spiral-bound, lined notebook

Navy: Godo Diary, half-sized, book-bound, year/month calendar, full-page day-timer

2015 was the first year I decided to use a daily scheduler thingy, and I didn’t really use it. I was not particularly fond of this half-sized style, so I did not end up using it much. I liked the idea of it, however. Also, as you can see, I did not do much writing in notebooks because 2015 was actually the year I did ninety-percent of the writing for my first novel, Red & Blue Make Green. Thus, these notebooks were mostly used as diaries and as a place to jot down things. No long-form writing was really done in them. There are a few ideas sprinkled throughout, but it’s mostly poetry, which is kind of odd, and daily goings-on.

These are the notebooks I used in 2016 [some will show up again in the “current notebooks” section, but they were first scrawled in during 2016]:

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Charcoal 2016: Everyday 25, full-sized, book-bound, year/month calendar, full-page day-timer

Cherry: Ibis, quarter-sized, spiral-bound, strapped, lined notebook

Silver: Paperpack, quarter-sized, book-bound, “1-Paragraph” per page diary

Teal Sushi Graphic: Waru Waru, minature, spiral-bound, lined notebook

Beige Sushi Graphic: Waru Waru, A4, spiral-bound, newsprint, blank notebook

White Sushi Graphic: Waru Waru, A5, mid-fold, lined notebook

I’ve listed the notebooks of 2016 in chronological purchasing order so that I may easily refer to the last two Waru Waru notebooks as also being currently used now in 2017. No matter, I opted for a larger day-timer in 2016 and immediately fell in love with the idea. I didn’t really use that day-timer as a scheduler. Instead, I liked the idea of already-dated pages! So, it’s just a notebook with the dates already written in. It worked out quite perfectly, actually. The red spiral was our trip-planning notebook for our 2016 ETMC Travels: Vancouver Edition. Thus, it holds all of the pertinent information needed for international travel, as well as other such info for the trip itself. Upon our return, the notebook doubled as a scrapbook after I glued in all of the receipts and fun mementos from the trip. The totally fucking awesome silver “1-Paragraph” diary is, by far, my favorite notebook purchase of all time and will be the notebook of choice for every forthcoming trip I ever take. The concept is simple, there’s a date line at the top and then only enough lines to write one or two sentences. It was so incredible to use on a vacation. I mean, no one really wants to sit and journal every single second of the day while you’re trying to enjoy each day. But you can easily jot down a quick note, no problem. Hence, the totally fucking awesome-ness of the silver diary. I absolutely love it! I can’t wait to get my new one for our 2017 ETMC Travels: Sydney Edition! The small blue sushi notebook holds all the little notes from editing my first novel. And that’s probably enough about that. The large beige sushi notebook holds all of the secrets for my fiction writing. The small white sushi notebook holds all sorts of gibberish that doesn’t really need to be remembered for an extended period of time. It’s sort of a catchall for things like Instagram captions, yoga challenges [where I write the name of each day’s posture, etc.], a running list of numbers that coordinate with pictures I want to keep while filtering through my SD card after a shoot, and other such nonsense that doesn’t need to be remembered and documented for all time. Some things get transferred into more permanent notebooks, but most of the stuff that is written in this type of notebook, for which I find this particular notebook to be perfect, is frivolous.

Now, to the good stuff: The entirety of my current Collector’s Notebook collection, i.e. notebooks I’ve either bought or have been given but have no intention of using. Here they are:

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I don’t really feel like there’s a need to go into great detail about each since I don’t use them. I realized a while ago that I had a little problem, and that problem is as follows: I have a really hard time using new notebooks. Obviously, I am more than capable of using a new notebook, but sometimes, when I buy a new notebook for myself and don’t exactly have a perfect use for it, I just won’t use it. Other times, the notebook itself is just too damn gorgeous to sully with my idiocy. Thus, I had a revelation! Maybe I can just be a notebook collector, duh! And so, I am. Case in point, this thing of beauty:

notebook-26

This notebook was a gift from my lifemate on my most recent birthday, AND it is the impetus behind this post. I love this notebook so much that I cannot ever use it. There’s no way I will ever use this beautiful piece of bound paper. I mean, it’s just absolutely stunning. And then, this was when this became not about that. I thought that this post was just going to be a simple photo essay of my notebooks past and present [since 2014], but then it sort of dawned on me that this is a full on documentation of my relationship with myself as a writer. Really, though, I should’ve also printed off all of my digital documents and had them bound by month and year so that I could get a seriously good look at all that I’ve written since moving to Korea.*sigh* I’m not entirely sure what my relationship with myself as a writer truly is, but now that I’ve spent so much fucking time photographing every single notebook in my life over the past three years, I am realizing that maybe it’s time for a nice, long heart-to-heart with myself about my “career” as a writer. Ugh. In the meantime, I bet you’re dying to see my currently-being-used notebooks! I will warn you, though, the notebooks of my present are quite serious compared to those of my immediate past.

Nevertheless, here is a glimpse into my current notebook situation [there are a few notebooks that I’ve intentionally left out because I just can’t get myself to share all of myself, so there’s that]:

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[pictured above]

Aquamarine 2017: Morning Glory, full-sized, book-bound, year/month calendar, full-page day-timer

Black & White: Oxford, study-style, vertical, book-bound, lined, mathematics notebook

Mint Shrimp Graphic: Ibis, miniature, reporter-style, lined notebook

Blush Sushi Graphic: Waru Waru, A5, mid-fold, lined notebook

White Legal: Oxford, A5, lined legal pad

Yellow Legal: Oxford, A4, lined legal pad

Beige Sushi Graphic: Waru Waru, A4, spiral-bound, newsprint, blank notebook

White Sushi Graphic: Waru Waru, A5, mid-fold, lined notebook

My 2017 day-timer is fully used for scheduling my day-to-day to-do list, and it also doubles as a predated notebook. I schedule each week on Sunday nights. I use the monthly calendar to write the actual total of each fiction-writing quota, i.e. if I have a 6000 word quota for a particular metric week [ten days], I’ll write the actual word count, say, 6340, and I keep track of what number each |how.odious| day actually is. The tall, skinny, black notebook is something about which I don’t really want to share because maybe I just don’t want to share my best ideas. So, I’ll just leave it at that. The mint shrimp, reporter-style notebook is used for meal planning and grocery-list making. The notebook itself will soon have no paper in it since the lists are torn out when we go grocery shopping. The blush sushi graphic is a replacement notebook for the white sushi graphic and will most likely be used in a very similar way. The white legal pad is for scratching out shit for nonfiction writing. I use it to take notes while reading research papers and whatnot. It’s also the first place I write down citation info before they are entered into my official references document. The yellow legal pad serves as a place where I note each phase of my fiction writing. I use it as a place to document a sort of timeline to help keep my shit together while writing fiction. I do not use the legal pad for writing ideas or any sort of writing. It’s a mere notepad whereupon notes about my own fiction collect for organizational purposes. Unlike the yellow legal pad, the beige sushi newsprint pad is where the fiction magic happens; new ideas are almost strictly written into it. I also use this pad as a place to work through sentence structure if I’m having a problem with how an idea is coming together. AND … I’ve already discussed how I use the white sushi graphic.

Finally, we’ve come to the end of this truly banal post. I hope, if anything, my notebook collection is somewhat interesting to you. If not, I guess whatever you think doesn’t really matter. So … yea. Thanks for reading! Catch ya later with [hopefully] something much more interesting next Friday. Laters.