I’d like to say, “The notebook I write in doesn’t matter.” I’d like to say, “As long as there is pen and paper, I will transfer thoughts from my brain to said paper,” but that’s not true. It makes me uncomfortable to write on lined paper and unsure to write on thin paper and books that are too big or too small just don’t connect with my words. I also have a perfect fountain pen that I’ve become obsessive about writing with so that is a neurosis as well. A few weeks ago, I decided to challenge my discomfort by writing in old notebooks I had laying around and using whatever pen was nearby. It wouldn’t matter I decided, “Just write over the lines and sideways and take up the space anyway you see fit.” I succeeded. I wrote and I filled pages, but it felt different than when the pages begin blank and are of a certain size. These unchosen, random books had different weights as well- I could feel I was carrying them. I like to know my lover is nearby, without feeling an overwhelming presence and, it turns out, I like to carry notebooks without feeling the weight of empty pages calling to be filled. As well, I longed to have my fountain pen push forth ink with its mesmerizing grace.
This morning I had a day of nothing sitting before me. I wanted to spend it at one of my sacred places, but first, I went to another sacred place: the bookstore. I purchased a new notebook- black, hard cover, about 6×8 inches, medium weight paper without lines. There are dots- as it is designed to be some sort of make your own journal, but the dots don’t feel constraining in the way lines do against my ink. After purchasing the book, I stopped at a taco spot and soon found myself writing instead of eating. I was in a bitter mood and found disaster in every scene I had passed this morning. The world was making me angry and my observations were pouring out, ready to be caught on the crisp, clear pages.
Once I ate and had cleared enough bitterness from my heart, I moved onto the hillside overlooking my sacred water- acres of spring water emptier than I’d seen them in months. I stretched out my blanket and sat in the cool morning light, notebook and pen at the ready. In the next minutes, I reflected on a conversation from the previous night and thoughts poured forth. Then I swam. Throughout the day, I returned to my spot on the hillside and wrote; then swam and wrote again.
The book now sits next to me and there is a comfort in its solid black binding and open pages. I realize that I can write on anything and any paper is good enough to accept words I pen with whatever writing tool is handy, but there’s something special about just the right notebook and pen. Somehow, the right notebook and pen is like a good friend that listens and holds space for you in a way that unlocks your soul.