Monday, January 3, 2011

A New Year and a Blank Page

I have a not-so-secret habit; I collect blank journals. Well, I don't actually collect them, like I don't seek them out and try to acquire sets or certain ones; I just like them and buy them without necessarily any thought of how or if I'm going to fill them. Starting when I was a kid and up until my mid-twenties, I kept a journal and I was often on the lookout for just the right book to use; it had to have a sewn binding that would lay flat and it had to be pretty. It didn't necessarily have to fit in my purse but that was a plus.

I started out with silk-covered ruled journals I bought at a store stocking Chinese imports, then in middle school I had an ugly book with a picture of wood ducks on the cover. The cover was a sickly yellow colored waterproof plastic with a cheap paper illustration glued on. I wrote prolifically just to finish that book!  Sometimes I'd even write about how much I hated it. My favorite journal was a large book, probably 7x12 inches or so, with unlined ivory pages and covered in a beautiful, silky red floral fabric. That journal lasted throughout college and was an absolute pleasure to write in. The large size and the unruled paper meant I could really unfurl my thoughts across its pages without the limitations of a cramped size or straight lines.  I've never found anything like it.

I stopped keeping a written journal sometime in my mid-twenties but I still like my blank books. And I'll buy them, whether or not I plan to use them. Or, rather, I almost always plan to use them. I have one book I titled "Gardening," and in which I actually kept gardening notes- for about a month, until I realized I actually have no interest in gardening. There are several that I started for writing poetry, or for writing a novel, but I do my novel-writing on my computer and barely use the notebooks even for notes. A success story- I won a beautiful leather-bound blank book in a giveaway from Karen of Scobberlotch, just for the purpose of writing notes and ideas for a novel and I've actually used it just for that.

But most stories don't end so well. I keep a small Moleskine journal in my purse and I use that for shopping notes or ideas when I'm out but that's not even a quarter full and I've had it for over a year. It seems like there are stacks of blank books all over the house. One I use for notes for work- ideas, brainstorming and so forth- but the glue on the binding gave out about half way through and I actually picked up my old Gardening notebook to take its place. But most of them are just... blank. Or I've written in one or two pages. But I keep buying them anyway, because they're beautiful or they appeal to me or I just think, someday I'm going to do something wonderful with this book. Maybe this is the year!