Monthly Blog: Back to "School"

It's mid-September and the leaves are starting to change on the trees outside my home-office window. Despite some 80+ degree temps in Chicago, and my A/C still running, we are on the verge of Fall.

Those cute booties I packed away months ago are already calling out "wear me." The three hangers of pretty scarves in my closet are ready to make their reappearance.

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I am a huge fan of fall (aka less sweat and pumpkin spice). Still, if there's one thing I truly miss when it gets to be this time of the year, it's back-to-school shopping.

The fresh set of pens and the notebooks that just begged to be filled with words...some of them even school-related words! While the studying and homework part lacked appeal, knowing that I had college-ruled pages available, made me giddy.

Perhaps that was when the addiction started.

Suffice it to say, as I writer, I still buy notebooks to write in. These have much more personality than Mead or Five Star could even attempt to bother to design. They come from a variety of places--bookstores, book fairs, museum stores, etc. My boss used to get them at conferences, or vendors would send them his ("my") way. Sometimes Walgreens even has a unique option.

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Wherever they come from, for some reason, each notebook has it's own distinct purpose. Taking notes for creative writing classes, journalling, brainstorming story ideas, sightseeing ideas and results of trips we've taken. I have one textured notebook with gold-tipped pages that I started journalling in five years ago. It started as a place I'd put ideas for my novel, website, blog, but then it became a place I would celebrate accomplishments or bitch about life. The last two years, the entries have become few and far between. I usually write a brief update about what's been going on lately, just to catch up with myself so to speak. I know this lack of "dear diary" is due to my intense guilt (I have it now writing this blog), that any writing I'm doing should be focused on my current novel. But I like knowing that I have that notebook. That I can pull it out, grab a pen and just write--manually.

There's something about writing longhand with a pen--the right pen--that is almost therapeutic. It not only takes me back to my teen years of when I would write my stories in those boring old spirals, but it allows me to think. Typing is sometimes too fast for my brain to work out an idea. When I am hand-writing something, it gives me a chance to think of the next words as I neatly, in cursive of course, parse out my thoughts.

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but give me a smooth ballpoint and a notebook and I can write for hours. Stick me at a keyboard and I feel that the starts and stops merely disrupt my creative juices. I guess that's why I keep lined paper in the drawer under my laptop. 

Sometimes, you just have to go old school.