For most of my life I’ve written every day. Summers always slump in productivity because I allow myself to bingewatch too much t.v. and eat can upon can of Pringles without feeling guilty. Writing always goes by the wayside. It’s a habit I intend on breaking this summer. Somehow.
I have kept every notebook of mine since I was about 12, which means that there are dozens of Barnes & Noble discount-rack, spiral-bound notebooks cluttering up my life and bedroom. They’re like cheap time capsules. Maybe the most interesting about them (because 85% of their contents is awful-squared) is how my handwriting has transformed from giant letters to tiny print. I think it shows how secretive I became as a writer. A friend of mine told me that it was incredibly narcissistic that I thought someone would be interested enough in my work to snoop, but I think it’s in people’s natures to stick their noses where they don’t belong.
As great as it is to write small and neatly, the change in style also means that it takes me twice as long to fill up a notebook. This past semester kept a large green notebook in my purse for about 6 months, which is way longer than I’ve ever had another book. Like any relationship, it’s nice when it starts out. You and that notebook have all these crisp, clean pages to fill up together; but as time wears on, the notebook begins to get worn out and you get tired of looking at the same thing day after day.
Eventually though, if you hold true, you get to that last page and have the sensation of completion and pride. The me that wrote in the green notebook 6 months ago is not the same person who finished it. How incredible is it that you can change so much in that short amount of time? The last page in my notebook is a letter to my ex-boyfriend. It says how much I’m hurting and how much I hate him. In 10 years I imagine that will seem melodramatic. For now, it seems like an appropriate cap to a shitty personal year. The green notebook represents failure.
Today I went down into my family’s basement where all of the pieces of my old life are being stored. It was haunting in a way, though I’m sure that was due in part to one of the lights not working. At one point in my life, those were the things that furnished my home, my life with a person I loved. More importantly: I went downstairs unpacked a box. Just one. Inside were all of the notebooks that I’ve yet to fill. They’re all beautiful. There are some of those cheap wired ones mentioned before, but there are nice ones that are bound and others that are leather.
When making a choice, it seemed almost natural to go back to the cheap notebook because that’s what I started working in so many years ago. Its pastel colors and little flowers remind me of spring. It reminds me that this is my chance to start all over again. Nothing is stopping me. Nothing is stopping YOU. Let’s get to work.