For the last year or so, I’ve been carrying around a small notebook with me. I like it to be small enough to tuck in my purse no matter what the size, though that point is pretty irrelevant, since I tend to carry what my mother and father call “luggage”. What? I need to. I need my wallet that’s stuffed with my last 50 receipts, 5 different kinds of chapstick, three colors of lipstick (which I rarely wear), my cell phone, my Kindle (I know, there’s a Kindle app, but I hate reading on backlit screens), and possibly a book. Anyway, this notebook. I got the idea from reading a David Sedaris essay where he talks about the notebook he carries around.
Side note/shameless self-promotion: I met David Sedaris. And he wrote about me.
Since I most enjoy writing about my life and experiences, it makes sense that I would make notes throughout the day, then I would make these notes into essays (or stories, since when I say essay, people expect a list of works cited to accompany it) later on. I generally jot little notes about what I did that day, other times it will be a phrase or song lyric that I wish I had come up with. Mostly though, they’re just illegible notes that only I’ll be able to decipher. This has served for inspiration for a few pieces, but not many. Mostly because I don’t reference the thing very often. I write plenty in it, but I don’t reference it very often, I just write about whatever issue is bothering me or about that memory that won’t get out of my head.
But I went through some of them, and they would actually make for some decent work if I just utilized the notes more often.
June 17, 2011
- Ryan getting picked up from Badger Boys Camp by his “cousin” Taylor
- Silliness of first love
- Ferris Bueller’s Day off
- Responsibility vs. Immaturity
June 21, 2011
- This American Life – 3 podcasts – psychopath test, Jon (!!!!!)
- Yesterday: Ran w/Bill, Subway, & drinking game out of Breakfast at Tiffany’s (cat, Fred, $, darling)
- Defining love
- Kenny Chesney – Hemingway’s whiskey. What gives him the right to write about Hemingway’s whiskey?
- Love – better now? More passionate with the looming threat of departure? I feel a certain level of hunger now for him.
August 19, 2011
- Ryan’s 1st football game
- Team warmup and formation: producing an odd nostalgia, tear jerking. why?
- Fans still painted up as they were 6 years ago, just with the college beer gut. The unnoticed tragedies of a small town.
- “For your moments of inertia”
October 19, 2011
- Put down Hallie today. Cloudy, windy day. Everyone quietly coping.
- It feels forced and exploitative, taking pictures of her just an hour before we’re going to kill her.
- We’re all grieving while she’s wagging her tail.
- Isn’t it a little cruel that the last car she’ll bark at is being driven by the guy who’s going to kill her?
- “Donna at work was crying for me” Don’t bring some stranger into this moment.
Each of these days would produce a decent essay. Sure I just have little details or fragments of thought, but that’s the beauty of writing memoir – all you need is a little fact and then the rest is what you think you remember, which is essentially fiction.
For my next four posts, I’m going to write short essays using those notes. To demonstrate to you – and myself – that there is a real reason for me to be writing little things in that notebook. Or I might not, if more exciting things present themselves.
That idea just came out of nowhere. It may or may not be a terrible idea. We’ll see.
I’m not sure if you were able to infer from my lack of posts, but life over the last week or so has been uninspiring for writing. So, I’m taking Jack London’s advice in a very passive way: You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.
I’m pretty sure he means you’re supposed to live an exciting life, but there’s only so much you can write about office work, regretful dates, online correspondence, and bartenders who shouldn’t be texting you anymore – so I’ll just go ahead and revisit my past inspiration.