06 January 2018

Return of the page.

If you know me you know that I believe in paper. I annotate student and friend poems longhand. I emblazon papers with notes in green and orange and pink and light blue. I use a paper planner in addition to all my calendar and list apps. I devote a significant amount of my life to editing a book series where paper books are also art. So then why is it so much trouble to write lines for poems down longhand in a notebook? How come I'm not like so many poets who keep journals? Should I be blaming the twitter for this? Blaming myself? 

Over the summer I decided that the first step in getting back to paper was investing in a nice notebook. Green is my favorite color, and I value paper that feels good under a pen, so this one looked right. It also couldn't be too fancy, or else I'd be afraid to use it. It couldn't be too big, or I would come up with excuses for leaving it behind. Ideally, it would have that wholesome book smell when opened. I also hoped to return to my early, pre-computer habits of writing things out. When I went to college it was with an electric typewriter, and I typed my poems but wrote them by hand first. Somewhere along the line, I deferred to composing exclusively on computer because I can type faster than I can hand write (thanks to all those secretarial jobs in the 90s).

Typically I jot notes in my phone because my phone is handy. In a couple of weeks I'll be insisting that my Writers on Writing students invest in a tiny notebook for hanging on to interesting phrases. I keep a wee notepad in my purse, but most frequently defer to the notes section of my phone. However, it's not exactly instantaneous when I'm looking to jot something on my phone. In fact, I often end up in the wrong folder of "notes" and have to punt and go all the way back to the beginning, and in the process I could easily lose a fragment of my fragment. Once I attempted recording notes to myself, but I messed it all up and retained an audio transcript of some fumbling and swears.

Even though I didn't make any solid 2018 resolutions, I'm trying to write things down in the green notebook more often. One bonus: upon returning to it after a while away, I found a bunch of useful poem notes that I'd forgotten about. Since beginnings are difficult, I set a tab in the notebook halfway through, and started there. And finally, I keep reminding myself how smooth the paper feels under my pen.

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