When I was younger, it struck me that I might like to be a writer. I tried my hand at writing some poems, some songs, and some short stories. It is the conceit of the young that pouring oneself out on paper in paper means something, and I signed on to the program wholeheartedly. There was angst, there was joy, there was pain, there was more angst – pretty much the whole gamut of teenage emotion.
The older I got, the more I felt silly putting emotions rawly on paper. I still had the emotions, but it never felt like they got transferred to the page well enough. Somewhere along the line, I just stopped. Stopped writing, that is. My brain still had delusions of powering a writer and would occasionally still throw ideas at me – snippets of poetry, a line of a song, characters for a story. Once my brain even made me dream a whole movie plot while I was sleeping. I woke myself up and wrote it down and still have it somewhere, but that’s probably all the farther it will ever go.
Still… I just couldn’t get past that what I would write wouldn’t ever come out anything like what I imagined it should come out like. If I couldn’t do it right, I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t know how to work at it, and there was no guarantee that I’d work at it even if I knew how to – I’m notoriously resistant to working on things, especially if it’s something to better myself. I couldn’t seem to give up on it completely, though. I’d still mull the plots and snippets over in my mind, I just wouldn’t put anything in writing.
One of the things I always heard that writers should do is carry a notepad around with them to write down ideas as they would strike. Writers, painters, poets, comedians, any creative sort – it was a practice they all held to. I’d tried it a time or two, but the notepads that were the right size all were spiral-bound, and they didn’t fit in a pocket very well. They’d constantly get caught on threads in the pocket and even tear holes at times. I gave up quickly any time I tried.
A while back I noticed these very nice notebooks at Barnes & Noble that were perfectly sized and not spiral bound. They were like mini-books, bound on the side with a heavier outer cover. They were called “Moleskine” and the packaging proclaimed they had a history. The website says
“Moleskine is the legendary notebook that the European artists and intellectuals who made twentieth-century culture used: from Henri Matisse to the turn-of-the-century Parisian “avant-garde, from Louis Férdinand Céline to Ernest Hemingway.”
Quite the pedigree.
I didn’t buy one right away. They cost enough to make it a bit more than an impulse purchase, and I wasn’t convinced that a better notepad would make a difference. After a couple of weeks, though, I decided to get one. Just as it proclaimed, it’s the perfect size. It doesn’t have a place for a writing utensil and I still don’t have enough pockets to comfortably carry it around, but it’s a first step. It’s a long journey from here to The Old Man and the Sea, but only time will tell.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, right?