Marginally Speaking

Third time I’ve started this blog entry, and both times, I bored even myself, so I am going directly to my last-resort backup, because then I get to take a reading break. That backup is playing show and tell with a favorite notebook. In this case, it’s a hardcover Case Mate, which appears to be a proprietary Wal Mart brand.


insert own obligatory “black and white and read all over” joke here.

I have two of these Case Mate notebooks already, one blue, and partially written in, always with blue ballpoint (though that may change) and currently living on the kitchen counter (which will probably change) the other purple, and as yet untouched, as I have vague plans to start some kind of purple notebook family/dynasty (this may be the subject of the next blog entry when summer and its bestie, insomnia, have used my home for yet another non-sleepover) but when I saw this one in the back to school section (the notebooks in the regular office supply section are the same inside, but have neon covers, which does not fit with my aesthetic) I had to have it. The notebook also comes in pink and aqua versions, which may yet happen, but I can’t have every notebook (where would I put them?)

Here’s the best thing about the Case Mate book:


Only marginally important. Get it? Marginally? I’ll see myself out. No, this is my blog. I’m staying. I’m punchy. Deal with it.

Ivory paper here, which I far prefer to white, but it was the margins that sold me. part of me would like to see the margin on the facing page on the outside instead of inside, but it’s perfect for making notations on what I’ve already written, the perfect place to affix sticky note flags and the like. I don’t currently have any sticky note flags tucked into this book (partly because it does not have a pocket) but I did stock it with the basics; two different colors of square sticky notes, and one of a larger size. Still working on the color scheme; would love to keep it black/white/red/gray or in that neighborhood.


Top square sticky looks lavender, but it’s light gray. Trust me.

Only semi-hacked, no fancy end papers, but I already feel the calm that comes with moving into a new notebook. I’d started to feel itchy when, every time I had to switch bags, I had to dig for my pen pouch and the one all-purpose notebook that was supposed to come with me from bag to bag, be filled by now (it’s about halfway there)  and possibly grant wishes or something. I don’t know what I was thinking at the time, but I am going to assume best intent and believe that I was going for efficiency and avoidance of adding anything to the stack of whoops-that-wasn’t-their-purpose-after-all notebooks.

Whatever it was, the fuss of hunting and switching overrode the supposed ease of a one size fits all kind of deal, and so the idea popped into my head, shortly after I brought the new notebook home. My usual summer tote is black and white stripes. I have a black and white chevron case my black rimmed glasses sleep in every night. I have  gorgeous black and white chevron afghan, for when temperatures drop, and my new pen pouch is black and white, so why did I have a notebook with a color photo as my book for that bag?

As soon as I made the switch, I felt a click. This combination looks like it belongs together. It looks intentional. It feels like me, like where I want to be going. Not a magic fix-it to all my problems, not a huge thing, even, but it feels right, and that’s good enough.  It’s listening to that creative impulse and not shushing it with “shoulds” and “you don’t need thats” and “bare minimum and/or status quo is good enough,” because no, no, isn’t. If it were, then it wouldn’t feel right when I made the change. I am learning to listen to my creative brain when it says things like this. “Let’s try something different today,” or “what if we did this instead of that?” Learning to say yes when a writer friend asks if I want to bat around a story, just for fun, because we’ve both talked each other down from ledges this week, and, dangit, we want to touch the joy.

It’s easy to get away from the joy, easy to get lost in the shoulds, but easy, too, if we allow ourselves, to feel the giddy pleasure of cracking open a new notebook and leafing through the empty pages, reading the words that will be written there, imagining which ink, what format – story notes? to do lists? doodles? drafts? all of the above?- and making a conscious decision that yes, my writing has value, and it is worth the investment. It’s worth the investment of the right notebook and pens, that feel right in my hands and right in my spirit, look right to my eyes, and it’s worth the investment of my time, to get away from the rest of the world and follow my imaginary friends as they live their lives, copy it down and then put it in order.

Where am I going with all this? Well, I don’t have to go anywhere, really, since I’m already far past the magic seven hundred, nattering on about a notebook in which I’ve only written one page, and that to test ink, but I know where that took me. That took me into writing mode, into the urge to open the document and poke it with a stick, even if I have only a few minutes before family descends and I need to switch gears. If that’s the outcome, is a new notebook frivolous? Not from where I’m sitting, which is, in this case, on the edge of the eighteenth century, so if you’ll excuse me, I’m needed there.

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