The first words in a new notebook or journal are intoxicating. The first sentence and page set the tone for a month or perhaps a year of thoughts, ideas, lists, outlines, and plans. For a person who rarely makes it to the last page, the first one means absolution. Tabula rasa.
Tonight I’m breaking in a brand-new Moleskine journal. It’s purple and ruled and hard-covered with relatively narrow rule. I love it already, and I don’t regret abandoning my last Moleskine (a soft, reporter’s, quad-ruled notebook). While most of my first blogs came from that notebook (either in written draft form or in outline form), the action was all wrong. It was unwieldy at a table with other items, the soft cover made it impossible on the subway, and the quad-ruling didn’t quite fit my writing. It was great for doodles, but awful for writing. I’m leaving 20 pages unwritten in it.
My penultimate notebook was a special one. I bought it at the Metropolitan Museum of Art when I brought a German couchsurfer there. It’s a black, faux-leather notebook with textured lettering featuring the museum’s name. I brought it with me while we walked through the galleries. My couchsurfer, who was creating an impressive scrapbook of sorts, stopped frequently to sketch while I worked on one of my doodles (pictured in my “Meditation” post). For the next two or three months, I opened the journal every so often to think in writing and sort through a difficult year.
When last June came around, my life was in tumult. I sat at my computer to organize my thoughts into an outline. I then taped the outline into my notebook. For a month, I fleshed out that outline in the notebook during every moment not consumed with with resumes, tango class, or job interviews. I wrote at coffee houses while escaping the heat, on the subway here and there, in dance studio waiting rooms, and everywhere I had a free moment. By the end of the summer, I wrote all but one chapter of a book. ently to sketch while I worked on one of my doodles (pictured in my “Meditation” post). For the next two or three months, I opened the journal every so often to think in writing and sort through a difficult year.
I have all sorts of contraptions for writing. I can write on my iPhone or in my Nook while on the go, and I type rather quickly and easily on my laptop. Still, there’s nothing like that feel of writing that first draft. I start this new notebook tonight, reflecting on the new life I’ve developed since I sat down and scribbled out my book. I’ve defected from the NYC Department of Education. I’ve come to terms with some of my more annoying inadequacies. I’ve acquired my fourth tattoo. I’ve set my sights on bright plans. I’ve buckled under huge stress. I’ve asked for help. What might happen with this new Moleskine?