Like most writers, I have approximately 8, 942 notebooks that I’m currently using. They all have different purposes. One is for calligraphy practice, one is for taking notes at events/interviews, one is for my Morning Pages and so on and so forth. One notebook is what I call my “everyday” notebook. It’s a black Moleskine that I carry with me at all times if I have a big enough bag. If I have a tiny bag, I use my mini-Moleskine.
I use this Moleskine for those aha moments on the train and in the café and on my weekly artist dates. I also use it for the writing exercises I get from an iPhone app called Writing Prompts. I’ve had this particular “everyday” notebook for about a year, which is when I moved to the place I live in now. One year ago was a kooky crazy time for me. I was delving back into single life, trying out new freelance opportunities, living alone for the first time in years and generally trying to keep it together.
I just happened to flip through the notebook today as I was looking for something and I ended up getting caught up in my past writing. For one thing, my Writing Prompts exercises were pretty good. I need to start doing those again. But the main thing that caught my eye was the vast amount of lists. If I read nothing else in those pages, the lists alone told me everything about where I was in my life at those moments.
There’s a furniture budget list that is itemized and organized by room. My natural handwriting is atrocious, but this list is damn near flawless with its straight lines and consistent spacing between letters. I was being meticulous. It was difficult for me to put that list together and have to think about the practical parts of getting my life on track as I simultaneously dealt with the intangible issues. I’m not in that head space anymore, but just seeing that list and the mounds of effort it must have taken me to write it, I was put right back into that moment. Glad I’ve moved past that and have now re-embraced my usual sloppy ass handwriting.
Then there’s the list of back to school supplies for my mentee’s first day of college last year. She didn’t know I was getting her anything, so I just kind of winged it as far as what I thought she might need (and asked some “innocent” questions about what kind of school shopping she had done). That was a fun list to make. Made me feel kind of giddy even though I wasn’t the one heading back to school. Exciting. I appreciate that she brings me these unexpected moments of joy. Oh and she was so surprised when I gave her the big ol’ bag of goodies! Nice moment between us.
I have tons of lists of story ideas for various publications, for this blog, for short stories, etc. About half of those ideas have been executed. Probably about half of the rest should be scrapped. But that quarter that’s left? Definitely need to revisit those. I like visual evidence of my peaks in creativity. Motivates me.
I could go on and on with these lists, but you get the idea. My lists are a glimpse into my moments, my thoughts, my emotional well-being. A life in lists.