Tuesday, March 23, 2010

365 Photo Project - Day 81

Taken: March 22, 2010, 11:30 p.m.
Location: Healdsburg, Ca.

Writers write. Obviously. But I don't just mean putting pencil to paper, hands to keyboard -- it's not always about filling a blank page. I know it's not for me. I'm always thinking about writing. Always. It remains the best and worst thing about the way my brain works. In it, I'm always writing, creating, thinking about writing or creating, making up words and characters, dreaming up plots, people, places, words, ideas, and on and on. I couldn't shut it off even if I wanted to.

A favorite cousin once impressed upon me to never go anywhere without something to read. He's right; you never know when you're going to get stuck somewhere -- in a line, waiting for a meeting, or a meal, or at a doctor's office -- only to discover the only reading materials is a Readers' Digest from 1980 or a pamphlet about your colon. PDAs are one thing but even I get sick of staring at my iPhone screen 24 hours a day.

That's why I always have something on hand to read (usually a book).  And because I'm a writer, I also take a notebook with me everywhere (and hopefully a pen too). If you know a writer personally, you may know we can be particular about our writing supplies. (I fear this comes from too much time spent alone in dark rooms with only our own thoughts to keep us company.)  My loyalties lie with micr-fine point uniball pens and Moleskine notebooks.

My current favorite its the reporters' notebook which opens from the bottom up -- though the one pictured above is a small version of the classic. I admit to being romanced by the legendary history of Moleskines. The originals were said to be favored by Hemingway and Picasso among others. One has to be romanced by a blank notebook that costs a ridiculous $12-15 each (because it sure ain't gonna help you write or paint like those guys).

Ah, but yet could there be something more? 

I believe it. To hold a Moleskine in your hand is to understand the love. They have a perfect weight, are sturdy and practical (the ribbon bookmark and elastic band are genius) and yes, they inspire thoughts of mid-20th century Paris and New York, Spain and Venice, of the Algonquin, El Floridita and the terrace of Deux Magots of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Dorothy Parker, of Graham Greene. Of smokes and extra dry martini's, scotch neat and the clickity clack, whiz of Underwoods. Like it's part of the writer's uniform. Romance indeed. (And no, the Moleskine people are not paying me to say this. If they were, though, I'd ask for more notebooks.)

I write in them all the time, all sorts of things from notes and outlines to pages and chapters of my novels to my non-artistic scribblings. They are filled also with notes to myself about character names, songs and movie titles, musings, mini-diary entries and phone numbers, addresses and favorite restaurants.  I own dozens of them. They are scattered all about my life, in my office, my car, under my bed, on bookshelves, in boxes, big ones and small, hard cover and soft. Like in the image above, they are all filled with the writing I do when I'm not really writing (that nonsense above was a grain of an idea for a movie I wrote years ago). And though my not-so-legible personal shorthand code may or may not make sense later, even to me, they are necessary to my crazy creative process. They are, literally and literarily, the seeds I scatter on the ground as I walk through my own dark forests, so I can find my way back home again.

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