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the yellow notebook

Posted Nov 27 2012 5:00pm

A thin layer of snow collected on the ground this morning. Snow, finally. Fine white flakes tucked into golden brown grass. I watched it cling to the pine trees outside the kitchen then office then bedroom window. I followed the snow from room to room. Too cold to step outside.

yellow notebook

After I wandered through the house and noted how the light changes during New England’s colder months, I decided to unearth something bright. Something yellow and new. A notebook. An 8 x 8-inch blank paperback: gold cover, white pages, flexible spine. It reminds me of a field of stilled goldenrods, folded into a portable square. It also reminds me of the art store in Nashville where I found it.

As perfect as the notebook is, I hadn’t until minutes ago, written a single word in it. I was holding out for an idea or story worthy of its idealized form as if I could possibly write every story I’ve ever played out in my head into 240 pages with pencil. It’s silly to think that way. Notebooks are meant to get wrecked, run over, stomped on, and to emerge wholly transformed with color and life. Or not. It doesn’t matter either way. A notebook is a container for ideas, story fragments, pieces of time. A place to remember and to forget.

inside yellow notebook

I sharpened my pencil, opened the notebook, and wrote one word. Pool. I imagine the notebook will continue on with the photo series I’m working on around swimming pools. Photos and writings and pieces I collect as the project develops will be taped, stapled, glued, and folded into the pages. So what’s my point? Start now. With whatever project or ideas that are already in your head. Choose a subject for your notebook and fill it with everything you know and don’t know about your subject. It doesn’t matter how rough or disjointed the notebook reads at first. Eventually, you’ll fill the pages and discover that you’ve somehow created a version of a book that you’ve always wanted to read. This is my hope anyway.

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