Cotton Rag

Cotton rag
I’m a starter, not a finisher. I always liked the idea of keeping a journal but never sustained one. I’d launch in with a burst of energy, but end up writing only when cranky and miserable. This was self-fulfilling. I never wanted to reopen those pretty books full of whining self-doubt.

I bought a new notebook a few months ago (the week before I started this blog, in fact). Soft black leather covers and creamy yellow paper, and a nice little Velcro flap. With this one, I think I’ve cracked the problem. It’s not a journal, in the mouth-breathing, pencil-sucking ‘Dear Diary…’ sense. Rather, it’s a commonplace book, where I scribble down whatever catches my fancy—poem fragments (by other people), conversations, obsessions of the week, small essays, journal entries, shopping lists, quotes, things-to-look-up-later. It’s a good format for a Victorian grasshopper.

Best of all, though, is that I’m now allowed to write on the right-hand pages only. It wastes paper, but not as much as the notebooks discarded around my apartment with only five or six closely-written pages filled. Once I’d got over my tightwad shock, this act turned into a delicious luxury. As a schoolgirl, I had looked forward to the very first page of my new copybooks. I always wanted to start them with an essay, rather than a spelling test or a grammar exercise, so that I could fully enjoy the pristine whiteness. Seeing the looping, sloping handwriting march across the blank space was a perfect small pleasure.

Being a grownup means writing on a new page every day—and staying up late to do it, if you want.