I keep two books for writing things down. The first is a leather-bound journal into which I copy quotes or poetry that I love. I am careful with it, and have never lost it. If the house was on fire, and I had time (assuming everyone was safe, of course), it would be one of the things I would grab on my way out. My scripture. Sacred.
The other is a Moleskine notebook. This one is less sacred (though no less loved), and collects all sorts of notes. If I’m in my car and see a house I like and want to look up online when I get home, I’ll scribble the realtor’s information onto a page. If I think of a seed for a post or something I want to remember, that goes in, too. Music I’ve heard and want to download. A website I want to check out. A word, a line, a paragraph, the kitchen sink–it all goes in.
I jot notes down all over the place, though. I’m fairly indiscriminate about using any available scrap of paper. The result is a hodgepodge of scraps in need of a permanent home (often, the most fitting place would be the trash can), and those get stuck into the very handy pocket in the back of this notebook until I get a chance to copy them into it.
Tonight I was flipping through my Moleskine, looking for anything that might spark an idea for a guest post I’m supposed to have finished by tomorrow (shh, don’t tell JCK I haven’t started yet).
On one page, there was one word: Lost, underlined three times. I know it’s not a reference to the TV show, since I don’t watch it. But I have no idea why I wrote it down. Do you ever do that? It’s in your own handwriting, so you know it came from you, but you have no memory of writing it? Happens to me a lot. Whole paragraphs, sometimes, that I’ll find scribbled on the back of a utility bill envelope or a Starbucks napkin, that amount to little more than a blur in my memory.
On another page, there’s the name of a place near here that piques my interest every time I drive past, as I did a few days ago. Along Highway 188, a sign announces Mad As Hell Ranch. I just know there’s a good story there, and I think I might try to find out what it is sometime. But turning down that driveway doesn’t seem like the best idea, you know?
There’s this, that I wrote many years ago, thinking that I would write a story around it (I copied it into the notebook so that I would think to work on it sometime). So far, it’s all I’ve got:
“How much do you love me?” he asked her. He needed things from her.
Into the dark, she answered, “With all my heart.” He pulled her closer.
She did not tell him, and never would, how small her heart had become, how heavy. A stone.
Turn another page, and there’s a lame pickup line that I wrote down one evening when I was with the kids at Cracker Barrel. Behind us, at the next table I could hear a man going on about the country music career he was trying to create for himself, and in the window reflection I could see that he was bedecked in more turquoise and silver jewelry than I’ve ever seen on one person, let alone on a man. And then I heard him tell his friend, in reference to the waitress as she walked away, “I’d be all over her like snow on a mountainside.” That’s one I’ve never heard. Give the man points for originality, and then run like hell. I expect that line will come out of the mouth of an odd character in a book someday.
Maybe all of these notes will amount to something in time. Of course, the chances of that improve if I can remember why I wrote any of it down.
How about you? When you turn to pen and paper (you know, like in the olden days), where do you like to make notes? Legal pads? Post-it notes? Bound journals? Your hand? (Not paper, but useful. I do it, too.)