I bought a new notebook today. It’s small and red with a butterfly on the front. I don’t need it. I already have dozens of half-scribbled-in notebooks scattered around the house. They’re tucked into my handbags, buried in my bedside drawer, stacked on my desk, squeezed between the books in the shelves and flung under my bed.
My name is Michelle Hamer and I have notebook issues. But I can stop any time I want…I think.
It’s just that there’s nothing quite like having just the right notebook when there’s occasionally time to write for me – not for the latest novel, article, editor or blog.
I can’t imagine a life without writing. I’m blessed to be able to write full-time as a journalist and author, but even if I had a different job I would probably still write every day. My fingers get twitchy if I don’t write for a while; they’re accustomed to the task of delivering the noise from my head onto a page or screen.
Personal writing has no deadline (oh joy!); doesn’t need to be finished, it doesn’t even have to make sense. It’s just random jottings, snatches of moments or emotions caught in words. Sometimes I write to process my thoughts and make sense of my life. Other times I jot down snippets of ideas or sentences that float into my brain, or turn people watching into a creative exercise.
Despite my extensive collection of notebooks I don’t always have one at hand, so I also have lots of jotted notes on the backs of envelopes, Medicare receipts, on crumpled brown paper bags that held my lunch and scrawled on the backs of bills that I really should have paid. I like how these scribbled thoughts are like fragments of history, caught on the ephemera of life. I keep them all, along with the diaries I have written since I was about ten-years-old. As the diary handwriting transforms from scruffy primary-school cursive to angry teenage scrawl and finally the harried scribble of a busy mum, I can track the landscape of my life.
One day I’ll gather all my notebooks, diaries and scraps of paper and collect them all in a box to pass on to my kids – who will probably take one look, shrug and put them out in the recycling.