Friday, February 28, 2014

Long Live the Post-It

By Sarah Reichert

I have a file box.  It’s a veritable ark of writing covenants.  In it, is every intelligible musing, every late night wandering, and every spur of the moment moment, that has ever caught my fancy.  Some of them are disjointed poems, written in Omni-directional twists over the face of envelopes.  Some of them are three word bursts of story ideas scrawled on Post-It notes stolen from the doctor’s office.  Words, ideas, wonderstruck brilliance that couldn’t wait for proper paper.

Now, in my ‘sophisticated’ adulthood, I carry a small moleskin notebook and a fanciful palm-sized flip-book with a quill on it.  Because I’m a writer, and I should invest in things that prove it, right?  I have dozens of my favorite pens stowed away in every pocket within a hundred yard radius.  I am at the ready when inspiration strikes me.

Here’s the kicker though; these notebooks remain relatively empty.  Sometimes, you see, the quality of these permanent notebooks, each costing more than I knew I should spend, causes me to halt my flitting train of thought.  Is it really worth a page in this beautiful vessel?

As a writer, you know what happens when we pause in the midst of a brainstorm.  We censor, we doubt, we hesitate and come up with a reasons why that idea is not sellable, or marketable, or wanted.  And nothing happens.

But that idea, that phrase, that thought, is like a seed.  Seeds aren’t always pretty.  Often they are dried up and dark.  They are small.  Seeds are not indicative of their full potential.  They needs water, and light, and time.  Our writer’s tools, are these things but they do no good when spent on bare ground.

Bring back your Post-Its and your cocktail napkins.  Bring back your 99-cent composition notebooks.  Bring back the freedom to record any little idea that filters in like dandelion seed through the open window.  You never know when the idea of a girl fighting a dystopian future with her bow will sprout into a world of beauty and captivate a reader.  You never know which random, historical blurb of interest in the paper will grow into the vibrant tree of a man who escaped not only months at sea but also a POW prisoner camp, and still manages to ride a skateboard at 90 years old. 

The tiniest seed, that three word musing, can give birth to the biggest and most magnificent garden of words.


Patricia Stoltey said...

That's so funny! I also have lots of near-empty notebooks but piles of little notes I write using the recycled print-outs that I carefully rip into four pieces and use the blank backs.

And yet I'll still buy another notebook if I see one I like. :D

John Paul McKinney said...

Me, too. You ought to see all the little leather bound empty notebooks around here, some with little pens, etc. Wonderful post! Now I'm going to go around the house and collect all those scraps I've written on. Who knows, maybe they're seeds needing planting. It's almost spring. Thank you, Sarah

Sarah Sullivan said...

Well said and so true!! Thank you for the post. Those are good thoughts to think on.

Shirley Drew said...

Great metaphor, Sarah! I, too, have notebooks of all kinds (both the inexpensive and expensive kinds). But I finally gave in and started writing in the expensive ones too...

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