quaking aspen, previously

an online notebook

Posted on: November 30, 2006

notebooks3Well, well. Thirty days of blogging, drawing to a close. And I haven’t nearly run out of topics yet. A sad testament to my ability to come up with random crap and foist it upon you, the unsuspecting public. Today I’m thinking about why I blog.

I love the t-shirt offered over at Kerflop – “I publish intimate details of my life on the internet and I don’t know why.” I actually (in some ways) do not feel that the details that I publish here are all that intimate, but either way, I don’t always know why I do it either.

Goodness knows, no one asks me to. I have a few friends who read here (hi, friends!), mostly because I suggest it to them, a bit of family, a few trackback-type visits from people whose blogs I comment on. But on the whole, I’m very much a little fish in a giant pond, a little sapling in a big forest, and I don’t expect, or necessarily even want, to get much bigger. I dream of many things, some of them pretty ambitious, but blogging fame isn’t one of them.

So why bother? This month, this blogging every day thing has been, frankly, pretty easy for me. Probably because of the blessedly low pressure — just blog something every day, nobody said it has to be good, or funny, or anything in particular other than THERE. I still have several ideas, half-begun entries and so forth left over, probably at least another month’s worth. (I dislike being obligated to post on the weekends though. Hmph, I say to you.) I like having a place to babble a little, to put things I’ve been thinking about, or more often, entertaining or interesting things I find online.


Mostly, I like to have a place to participate. Because I read these other blogs, and some of them mean a lot to me. And for me, nearly always, when I experience something I love (reading, music, whatever) – I want to do it too. So this is where I do a little of that.

And also? I have felt so accomplished this month, actually doing this, actually finishing now. Pathetic, perhaps, but it’s a sense of satisfaction that I could do with a little more of, so hey, I’ll take it where I can get it. (NaNoWriMo is another matter, obviously unfinished, but I’ve learned a lot from what I’ve done so far.)

notebooks1 Now you’re wondering what the photos have to do with any of this. (Or maybe you’re wondering when I’m going to shut up? Either one.) These are pictures of another accomplishment – all thirty of the numbered writing notebooks/journals I have been keeping since 1996/7 (technically I think there are actually 32 or 33, but I’m writing in one labeled 30 now). They don’t really start in earnest until October of ’98, and the amount of time each spans varies wildly: from a whole year for a notebook, down to a month exactly for one (a black paper one I had to write in with metallic and bright colored gel pens). The average is 2-3 months, and 120-130 pages filled for each one. They are plain spiral single subject notebooks, occasionally a fancy-ish one (like the purple flower cover, my current one), but very familiar; unimposing and non-threatening. I much prefer college-rule over wide-rule paper myself, or I’d probably have more cartoon character covers (especially Snoopy, I love Snoopy). I’m a little obsessive – I almost always have my current notebook with me, even in situations where I won’t possibly have an opportunity to sit and write for 15 minutes. (Lately I’m trying to let go a little – I’ll take along a mini notebook or a couple index cards instead, and paste anything necessary into the big notebook when I get home.)

What do I fill these pages with? I started them, inspired by Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones, and all the writers I’ve ever heard talk in person. So really, I fill them with whatever. In theory they are “writer’s” notebooks, with bits of dialogue, description, timed writings, story ideas, poems. In practice they have all that, but also a lot of journaling, mind-dumping, list making, doodles, scrapbook sketches. Let’s not forget drawings courtesy of my kids on Sundays, keeping them quiet in the pews at church.

I have a system that’s working so well right now for me, as far as keeping notes on what my kids are doing: I set aside a few pages at the front when I start a new notebook – after the first page, where I always put a few quotes, usually on writing – and whenever I want to write down a milestone or a funny story, I put it there, in the front. Then when I finish the notebook, I pull out those pages and put them in a three ring binder, so I have all the Kid Notes together.

This blog is something like an online version of these notebooks. Which probably explains why it has no real cohesive theme or anything; the point is to keep creativity, observation, awareness, writing, keep them all part of my harried everyday life, something that’s not such a big deal, something to be done with as little pressure, but with as much consistency as possible. I daresay that, in both online and offline versions, you can find treasures among the compost.

5 Responses to "an online notebook"

Notebooks make me squeal with delight. I love me some paper. I’ve been journaling via paper since I was a tiny little thing just learning to write. As fun as blogging can be, I don’t think I’ll ever give up my notebooks.

Hello, friend!

Holy double MOO COW on the number of notebooks.

I bow before you.

Seriously, SERIOUSLY not worthy!

These are like journals you’ve kept over the years or were you writing in them something specific?

If they are journals, all I have to say is… WOW!

[…] Finally, I wanted to share this, similar to an old post of mine. […]

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