A while back I made the decision to use just one notebook for all my handwritten things. This is notable for a long term sufferer of SSPA (Superfluous Stationery Purchasing Addiction). Many of us have it, you may well be or know a sufferer. It first began for me around the time I was first given means to replenish my own pencil case for back to school in the late Seventies. The compulsion to buy scented rubbers (erasers!) in everything from watermelon to swiss roll was real – (the latter was a real thing and smelled good enough to eat which was something that would never get past Netmums these days).
Anyway, back to my notebook. Not fully ready to give up the superfluous aspect of the addiction, my chosen notebook was a Moleskine, the Mercedes of notebooks, in orange and without lines. I recently discovered how much I like a line-less page. A Facebook post at the time revealed to me that this was perhaps a quirk.
So, my little orange Moleskine became the vessel for everything that flowed from my pen and I took it with me almost everywhere. A few weeks ago it became full. Whilst I considered my self free of SSPA, I cannot deny that the permissible and essential NEED to replenish stationary made my heart beat a little bit faster. As the orange one dwindled to remaining pages in single digits I deliberated over my next colour. Orange had been good to me and made me happy. There is something very cool and “ad-man” about a black one – but was I ready for black? In choice that may or may not mean something, I chose pink.
But after all this, the reason for this post is what I discovered in flicking through the contents of my outgoing orange Moleskine. You will remember this was my only notebook for the period of time for which empty pages prevailed. This timescale began when I was an expat in Malaysia and concluded 9 months after my family’s return to the UK. The first entries were from Feb ’15 and were a series of 10 minute flow writing pieces from prompts (these are quite fun to do if you are this way inclined, you just write non stop on a subject without stopping to think or edit). The second one in my book was called “Someone is Whistling and I really enjoyed reading it, despite me being the author it had a twist that actually even surprised year older me. (The others were rubbish).
Then began a series of mind maps for articles that became content for the web portal Purely B in Malaysia. I found all kind of diagrams about potential and already started novels (under normal circumstances these would’ve had a new notebook purchased just for them with a few pages optimistically filled and forgotten as the next notebook was purchased). I found lists of account numbers and references about a tax bill that quite brilliantly went away by itself. Ideas for short stories. Pitch ideas for UK magazines. Sketch notes for the contents of this very website. The last quarter includes all the meeting notes from my past few months of gainful employment working as Marketing Controller for Del Monte. I found the rough notes used for the speech I gave to Colin my husband on his 40th birthday on a boat on the Thames. See below in action! It wasn’t a diary but it sort of was!
Interestingly, I also found a few streams of consciousness about “issues” based on that idea to write for catharsis which I do find effective (even if I’m that makes me a knob). Some of these such rants in Orange Moleskine I have to say made me tell year younger me to man up and get over it (you knob!). Going also to show that things that seem like the end of the world at one time soon will seem ridiculously pointless.
And so, I’m looking forward to filling up Pink Moleskine. It’s first pages include notes on the snowflake method of novel writing and some notes on how to navigate a canned fruit database. This thing could go anywhere!
And herein lies the metaphor. Life is like a series of notebooks, we just gotta fill each one up with the best stuff we can and if it turns out to be rubbish – who cares, we’re never too far off a fresh new page to fill.