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Reflections of a working writer and reader



A Writer’s Notebook I

Why something goes into a writer’s notebook is fairly obvious. The notebook is there to replace memory. Memory is fragile and in any case it’s creative. A notebook on the other hand is not at all fragile. It’s a recording device. You have the thought, or you come across a group of words or an image and you jot it down in the notebook and you’ve got it. It can’t get away or be turned into something else.

These things are even more true when they happen in the middle of the night. For then, if you forgot to bring the notebook to bed with you, you have to get out of bed, go downstairs, switch on the light, find the notebook and get whatever it was came to you into the notebook. OK, there’s a slim chance if you don’t do this you’ll still remember it in the morning, but do you want to take a chance like that?

This is from my notebook:

A teacher in the local arts college told me about asking her new intake of students what were the three best and worst things in the world. One of the young guys told her:

The best three things in the world: cakes, my girlfriend, and television.

And the worst three: death, sprouts, and opera.

You see? Without the notebook I could have lost that.

3 Responses to “A Writer’s Notebook I”

  1. Ed Baker says:

    What is are we other than our Memory?




    cheers, Ed Baker

    jb says: Hi Ed, nice to see you here. Is your comment an invitation to discuss semantics? I think at least one of the things that make us interesting is what we forgot. Even what we forgot we forgot . . .

  2. Donigan Merritt says:

    While starting to play catch up reading your blog, John, I came across this list of your notebook entries. Like all writers, I suppose, I keep notebooks and write daily impressions and observations in a journal. I am sure I would not want to put the contents of those on my Webblog, but this does stimulate me to write something about notebooks and journals in general. There is a lot to read here, so give me some time. Meanwhile, I have added a link to this interesting site.

    jb says: Thanks Donigan. I know your site, and return there when I can.

  3. Notebook says:

    It’s a really great post you’ve got here. I agree with you that a notebook is to replace memory. And even now in this digital era, notebooks computers have gradually replaced a traditional notebook as well. Anyway, I really like your post here. Good job!