I have always had a love affair with notebooks. Every project I’ve ever started, every class I’ve ever taken, at the beginning of every new year, there has been some sort of blank page waiting to be christened with new ideas.
From the classic Composition Book to elegant leather-clad planners, every event deserves its own, fitting stable. I have always preferred some method where pages can be added and deleted easily, as I perpetually make errors that need to be removed and forget things that need to be put in place at a later time, so ringed binders of varied design and size are generally my go-to. But, there are others for those items that I want to be permanent – those are contained in traditional, bound notebooks where a missing page would seem an affront. Most have a pocket or two to keep errant slips of this and that, some have a strap or zipper to effect containment, the most elaborate have special places to hold pens and pencils and paperclips. The one thing they all hold, however, is promise.
To put pen to paper is a commitment. From the efficiency of a to-do list to the beauty of a sketch, from the first lines of a first novel to the last lines of a last will and testament, a commitment has been made to capture a thought. Yes, of course it can be crossed off, erased, backspaced, torn out. But the journey from the mind to the world is a wondrous process, one to be respected and revered, even if only by the author themselves.
Looking back through old notebooks, I gain a sense of former self. As disparate as they may seem individually, they make up an unintentional timeline of my life. Even looking back though my binder of old recipes torn out of magazines and scribbled down while sitting at a kitchen table of my past I am reminded of who I was, what my likes and dislikes were, who I was trying to entertain and impress. They memorialize me in a way that I would be unable to if I were to sit down and make a concentrated effort to record my life. They are a source of amusement, bittersweet memories, and calls to action. They are, to me, an absolutely invaluable resource.