Jottings from a writer’s notebook

March 16, 2013 at 1:26 pm Leave a comment


It hasn’t always been my practice to carry a notebook, but since I’ve taken up writing, I make sure to have something to write on, whether it’s a small notebook or a few pieces of paper, and at least one good pen. I practise what I tell my students to do— to gather fodder for story or poem, inspiration for a day when the well seems to have run dry.

There’s a notebook, usually coil bound, at my bedside table for the late or middle of the night inspirations, a notebook in my car, and one in my purse, albeit a tiny one. And pens—well many pens around me—but not always many in my purse.

My office was recently renovated and is now back in working order, and so I have not yet located all of the small notebooks with jottings in them, but I did find one such book. Here’s an undated entry from a  dog-eared notebook that bears the dates 2005, 2004 on other pages:

“We are like grass withered and brown; our bodies perish, our souls flee. Surely there is some trace, some remembrance of our time here when eternity comes.”

What triggered this entry, I wonder? Was it someone’s death? Was it a note to self to leave something to remember me some day? Was it before my book in which I wrote about growing up? I don’t know, but I think there’s something here to work with. Was this soul fleeing from the tired, worn-out body at the moment of death?

Another jotting that sounds like the making of a poem:

“Earth’s morning jolted from a dreamless sleep, seamless as the evening sky.”

Poetic, and again no date or reason for writing it. Where was I? What was I doing?  Maybe it doesn’t matter when or where, only that it’s there.

One, dated April 7, 2005, about my relationship with God:

I, sinful and weak

break my word to you time after time

year after year

but you have not turned me away

have not given up on me

Who would give me so many chances…

Indeed, who else?

Some of these entries are jottings during our pastor’s sermon. Words, phrases that I want to remember, sometimes in a notebook, other times on the back of the service bulletin that I save with my other notes. I quickly scribble down the line so I can write about it later—Sorry, Pastor, I’m still listening, sort of. My mind is taking a rabbit trail from your sermon. Always a writer’s mind here, you see.

Even now, I have three pens laying on the desk beside a newer notebook, even while my fingers work on the keyboard. I still love using pens for my first draft. My fingers can more easily keep up with a flow of words when they come to me than typing on a keyboard, for when I type, I keep correcting things. If L. M. Montgomery could keep up to her story while using pen, then it’s still a good thing, and I have the best of both worlds when I can use the computer for revision.

Another jotting, and I know where it came from:

Dimpled hands reach

arms wrap around me

something to hold on to

grabbing hold of hair  ears

whatever can be clasped by tiny fingers

wet kisses on my cheek

I return the hug gladly

Not polished, nevertheless, something I want to remember. Who knows where it will appear someday, or in what form.

I’ll keep on carrying notebook and pens, because I never know what gem I may discover. Stories comes from living life, not only from sitting behind a desk, typing.

What treasures do your notebooks hold?


Entry filed under: arts, authors, blogs, books, entertainment, faith, family, poetry, writing. Tags: , .

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