He’s absolutely correct. The few times I am silly enough to write in long hand, I can’t be bothered typing it up– it never makes into my blog, but I feel the therapy in writing it all the same.
It wasn’t always like this… I thought I had stopped writing for big chunks of time in my life, between high school and beginning this blog. I had– but those stretches of time weren’t as long and barren of expression as I had imagined for myself.
Long periods of silence… peppered by notebooks. Spiral notebooks, most of them– I still love a spiral notebook, and I’m not sure why; other notebooks fancier and far more expensive. It seems an odd paradox that itches at me as I look at them– the more I had spent on the book, the less I had written in it; and I can imagine my younger self trying to incite the magic of pen on paper without motivation or cultivation through the purchase of something for that purpose, never quite managing to allay the apathy or business or unwillingness to write.
I still have my notebooks- almost all of them, I think. I can’t remember ever throwing one out, but goodness knows I’ve probably misplaced one or two over the years– fourteen years, in fact, the oldest notebook I can find is dated 1997, and therefore written by my sixteen year old self.
These diaries, they’re staring to yellow, just slightly at the edges of their paper– when did I become that old, that my belongings actually look antique? In my mind they feel like books, full to bursting with someone elses mind; but I treat them with far more reverence than your average paperback.
I believe books– especially those hearty paperback novels that suck you into their covers and make you a glutton, eating them whole and returning to the real world hours later, glazed and slightly dulled by the story that’s still unfolding in your mind– are meant to be tattered and dog eared. They are meant to be shared, lent to people, donated to charities, borrowed from libraries, thrown pell mell into bags and have their spines cracked on commuter trains. You can tell how good a book is by how thumbed the cover is– or whether it still has its cover at all.
My books, my years of notepads, they feel ready to bubble and overflow with their contents. But they are not casual, to be lent or shared or tossed about. Some sit on my bookshelf, those used most recently– though even they date back to before the birth of my son, four years ago. The rest are kept hidden in two cardboard boxes, carefully stacked on my top wardrobe shelf. I get those boxes down very rarely, and when I do I lose myself for hours.
Is there anything more melodramatic and pensive and naively hopeful than the diary of a teenage girl?
There are pages of streams of consciousness, and I read them back now and wonder who the person who wrote them was– I know her handwriting, even her writing style to a point; but how did she believe what she did about herself? How was she so insecure for so long? I want to hug her. I want to tell her, if she could meet herself at thirty years of age, the age I am now, she would think she was one of the coolest people in the entire world.
There are lists in my notebooks, both profound and mundane. There are quotes from movies, songs, friends, books. Occasionally I’d try to sketch, and always failed miserably; but some of the multi–media collages I made in my early twenties were pretty freaking awesome.
There are letters I wrote and never meant to send. And poetry…so much poetry, so much of it utter crap; but every now and then I find one that I enjoy the lilt of, the jagged half rhythm of my fractured sentences.
As I’ve blogged before, Tony’s handwriting is on the back one of them. Another, a plain spiral a5 pad from my last two years at high school, contains the occasional scrawl of a friend of mine. I lent the notepad I was currently filling, one side of the pages only, to her. I trusted her with it– we weren’t the closest of friends; but she was, out all the girls I knew, one of the only ones who was, like me, a bit of a darkling.
I got the book back to find her comments littered through it; her thoughts and opinions written in messy, loopy scrawl across where I documented my life, no matter how small, and my disappointments, no matter how insignificant.
Nothing is insignificant as a teenager. Nothing is insignificant when you feel insecure. I remember feeling abused, as I I were naked and someone had scrawled their objections along my legs in lipstick. Until I begun this blog– were comments are always welcome, and rarely feel like an intrusion– I think that was the one and only time I let someone see so far inside of me.
Notepads, diaries, books, spiraled and bound. 23 that I can count in total. They begin in 1997, and I watch myself hop, skip and leap through the years after. There’s a huge gap where I had my children– while I have the functional family notebook we used (that of the Chinese take out order), actual ’writing’ is only evident in the first smattered pages of another. But, hey, again– some of it, not so bad. Not so bad at all.
And I’m not done yet, despite what the Doctor may imply. I have a notebook I’m filling right now. It’s black with Mickey Mouse on the front. And it’s another one of those ’functional’ rather than creative notebooks– all the creativity in me ends up right here, on RRSAHM. And that’s a good place for it to be.
There is something so inherently satisfying in writing in script, filling page after page, running your hand lightly over the paper to feel the tiny, uneven indents left by the pressure of hand on pen.
I know it’s not just me– it seems as bloggers, tech geeks and grown up girls who still feel sixteen; we all cling to those basic tools of communication– a pencil and a notebook. Preferably one that looks funky and is going to last quite some time– while I may revere them once they’re no longer used, my resident notebook seems to cop it hard while it’s in service.