Thursday, May 28, 2009

Keeping a Notebook

I've never been a little notebook person. I used to use index cards back in the olden days when I did research and wrote my quotes on the cards. I haven't used that method since 1987 or 1988, and somewhere, in a box, I probably still have all the index cards that I wrote in those first years of graduate school, all those useful quotes and bibliographical information, painstakingly written out. Then I decided it was easier to use a copy machine, even though I lost countless coins as I tried to capture those pages that were never designed for standard copy machine paper sizes.

Since the 1990s, I've kept my journal in an 8 1/2 x 11 notebook or legal pad. When I travel, I tuck a lavender legal pad in my backpack.

At the creativity retreat I went to (a month ago--how quickly the time passes), we were given a small journal, 4 x6, bound with a hardcover. At first I thought, how useless, not my style, I should just give this away. But then, I needed to jot down some notes, and I used it. I loved it.

It's the perfect size to write one note, one image, one idea. Then I can go on to the next page, and write something else.

I don't know if I'd like it if I wanted to write expansively. Probably not. But who knows.

I also liked this book because I could take it with me. I could tuck it in my pocket, and it would emerge, no worse for wear (unlike spiral bound books).

Of course, I know that many people are now using their electronics. Even if you don't have a fancy Blackberry, iPod, or other PDA, you might still have a cell phone feature you can use. Our houseguest showed me her note feature on her cell phone. She can't write a very long note--but she can write as many notes as she likes (so, if she needs to write a long note, she does it over a series of small notes).

My biggest problem is remembering to take the notebook with me. I've always wanted to be that person who has a notebook at the ready. But I'm not. So far, I haven't lost too much to the muck of my memory. But lately, I do try to write down my inspirations sooner rather than later.


J.D. said...

I simply use my present thoughts as a notebook. I keep an idea at the forefront of my mind--turning it over and over--until I am home and have a chance to develop it.

This, of course, means that I blatantly disregard all of the other things that should be occupying my present thoughts at a given moment--stoplights, the need to pay for items before leaving the store, other human beings, et cetera.

On second thought, maybe one of these tiny notebooks wouldn't be such a bad idea after all.

Your blog looks interesting.

Kristin said...

Thanks for stopping by! I can relate to getting so lost in my thoughts--especially when I'm trying to remember a good poem idea--that I forget other things of importance.

Shefali Shah Choksi said...

i've learned to never throw away store receipts since they have a blank side. i keep them in my car because some of my best ideas surface when i am stuck in traffic. my desk looks a mess with these scraps of paper lying around, waiting patiently to be validated.
maybe a notebook might be more practical, if only i can remember to keep it with me.