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On Becoming a Scribbler

Updated: Jan 28, 2022

I'm a sucker for a pretty notebook. I swear, my collection of (mostly unused) notebooks can tell the story of my life. From the cute whimsical ones, to the darker more staid ones, to the fancy Japanese and Italian ones ... they all tell me a little bit about what I was thinking and feeling at the time they were bought. And I'm talking about the covers of the notebooks, not the contents, because the problem with a pretty notebook or journal is that you're (okay I'm, because you might not be this neurotic) sometimes reluctant to sully them with poor penmanship.

Over the past few years it's been changing for me, though. In the Dry Years (that's how I think about 2016-2020 when my rage was high and creativity low) when it was difficult to even consider finishing a full-length novel, I started more frequently scribbling ideas in a small notebook. I carefully chose one that wasn't that pretty, that I could easily dispose of or lose without any real heartache. Now that notebook is almost full, very tattered around the edges of the cover and looks like it's been through some things. But it's also ... priceless.

I often woke up in the middle of the night, or looked up while in a checkout line at the store and realized that I had something I wanted to remember about a story yet to be written, or a character yet to be developed and needed a place to write it. That trusty, homely notebook came in handy. Now, lately, as it grows more shabby, I find myself wishing that I'd put all those ideas in a place more worthy of them. And the ideas are more plentiful, almost as plentiful as the pretty notebooks I've been hoarding for years, to that's it, y'all ... I'm going in. Not only am I leaning into becoming a scribbler, I'm giving my scribbles nicer digs. Lord knows, I have more than enough places to give them to live.

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