The first draft of this blog post found its origin yesterday, in the laundromat, while I waited for the first dryer load of the day to do its thing. No laptop for these laundromat trips, and, earlier in the morning, I’d balked at the thought of lugging my whole bullet journal (I use a traveler’s notebook setup, with four smaller notebooks inside one cover that holds them all.) Even without that notebook of notebooks, I would be lugging a double load across two crossings (we live kitty corner from the laundromat) and, after that first foray, would be repeating the journey again, with a larger load.

This clearly meant that I needed one notebook for my bag, so I’d have something to write in, without the big pink monster (Big Pink? Would that work for a bullet journal’s name?) tagging along. Not wanting to delay my start any longer, I grabbed a spiral notebook I’d snagged from a Michael’s dollar bin some years ago, with grand intentions of using it for a novel that is currently in a resting phase. I only had to tear out a few pages (no worries, this is a ring-bound notebook) to make it a completely blank book once more. Blank except for the designed heading on each page, that is; give me a pretty page, and I have a biological urge to put my handwriting on said page. This is a proven fact. Add the clicky black gel pen I snagged when Housemate cleaned out her pencil cup (yes, singular) and off I went.

Since I didn’t have any idea what to write in that book, I went to my fallback, writing about writing, of which I am doing a lot, anyway, with the current writing challenge. When I’m starting a new notebook, like this one, destined to be a commonplace book, and I truly have nothing on my mind, I start writing about the notebook. This particular notebook, I’d grabbed because I couldn’t, at the time, get the notebook I really wanted for that particular project (hardcover deep pink Moleskine, 5×8 inch size, lined pages, for those keeping track of this sort of thing) and, surely, the deep pink background, plus pretty pages (also lined in deep pink) should be enough, right? Eh, not so much. since I only had to tear out a few pages in order to make the notebook “new” again.

Writing about the history of the notebook brought up a lot of feelings; frustration, anger, despair, and, most importantly, the love of writing. My pen filled page after page. I’d thought about transcribing what I wrote, word for word, but that book is at the other end of the house, where Real Life Romance Hero is taking care of a few things, and I’d rather not get in his zone at the moment. The spirit of those pages will have to do.

If this notebook were a child, it would be in elementary school by now. That’s how long I waited for the “right” time to go back to it. I do plan to get back to that story someday (today is not that day, but someday) but the notebook itself was too pretty to let sit. I’d hauled it all the way from the old country when we moved, and I didn’t want that to be for nothing. It wasn’t. Yesterday, I needed a portable notebook of that size and thickness, preferably with pretty pages, so into the purse it went. The pen, too, was from a brand I’d been wanting to try forever (Sarasa,) and, when Housemate plucked it from her cup and asked if I wanted it, I wasted no time making with the grabby hands.

I could have saved the pen for a proper pen test, in my swatch notebook (pen/paper nerd, so, yes, I have a swatch book for pens/markers/highlighters) but what good would that have done? I’m over saving the good stuff for a special occasion. Today can be a special occasion. I’m writing. I’m making something that never existed before. That’s special. Sure, great things have been written on the back of the security envelope from the electric bill, in generic blue ballpoint, but, for me there’s an extra layer of lusciousness that comes from using the good stuff.

Up until now, I’d preferred to save the really good notebooks, the really good pens, for the really good ideas. That meant publishable fiction, naturally, the kind that flows from pen to page, ready for bestsellerdom. The kind, as it turns out, that does not exist. So what was I waiting for, then? Something that would never come? That doesn’t make much sense. I got the good stuff -good, as in it makes me happy to look at it, touch it, put ink on paper, not good as in expensive, because that’s not going to happen right now)- because I love it, not because I want it to sit in a box. I got it so that I could use it. Interestingly enough, that’s pretty much why I have this writing part of my brain. No sense keeping that in a box, either.

Keeping certain pens, certain notebooks, certain ideas on a shelf marked “precious,” to be saved until some nebulous time in the future, when something will be good enough, that’s…well, it’s been standard practice for a while with me, but, now, I’m not so sure. That’s a lot of pressure to put on an inanimate object, and a lot of pressure to put on a writer.  Better, by far, to ink that pen, open that notebook and splash down some ink.



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