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That time I lost my notebook...
And general notebook love
I lost my notebook.
It was years ago. I was working on my second book - it was on contract and it was about time travel and riddled with paradoxes that needed fixing, all while working a full-time job. So there was a lot of pressure and a lot of moving parts. It was a red moleskine notebook and it was my whole life. When I didn’t have the notebook, I used sticky notes at the office, pasting them into the pages later. I had diagrams of timelines and thought webs working through time travel paradoxes. The book was nearly full.
And somehow, I lost it.
Somewhere, in the city of Toronto.
Probably on the subway.
It shouldn’t have been particularly surprising that I lost it - I’m the sort of person that has had to replace 4 debit cards in the last year. I get to day dreaming and if my possessions aren’t strapped to me they are very likely to be left behind.
But a notebook is different. It’s a deeply personal thing. And losing this one, I was near panic. The idea that someone would find it, would see the pages of tiny letters and diagrams and sticky notes…..cringe. Have you seen the opening credits of Seven? The notebook looked like that. My one solace was that I intentionally wrote really teeny tiny and scribbly so that, should my notebook ever fall into the wrong hands, the reader would be so frustrated and baffled by my illegible handwriting that they would give up altogether (the problem wit this brilliant security measure is that often, I, too, can’t decipher what I wrote).
The book was gone. All my story notes. This was something I had to accept.
A couple days later, I got an email. Some good Samaritan had found the notebook and my email on the front page and reached out. It was a miracle. I was over the moon that someone could find these pages of chaos and realize it must be important enough to someone to take the time to see it returned. We arranged to meet at a coffee shop near the subway.
I didn’t have much money and the notebook rescuer didn’t ask for any, but still I wanted to give something to show my gratitude. I found a chocolate $100 bill which I thought was funny and headed off to get my notebook back. The notebook rescuer didn’t say much and didn’t crack a smile at the chocolate bar (which, I guess in retrospect, wasn’t as funny as I’d thought), he just handed me the book, said ‘no worries’, took the bar and left.
And that was that.
I had my notes, and I finished the novel - including a sequel! And its still one of my favourite stories I’ve ever written. And it probably wouldn’t have worked out if I hadn’t gotten that notebook back.
To this day, I often think of this stranger who bothered to take the time to return this grubby notebook. Every time I start a new notebook, I make sure to write my email and wonder how many people like my notebook rescuer are actually out there and would recognize the importance of a dog-eared, scribbly journal found unattended on a subway. Probably not many.
And I still think that getting that notebook back was one of the most amazing things that’s ever happened to me.
My notebooks don’t go out in the world much these days. Mostly they stay at home, right next to my pens and inks and art supplies. At the moment, I have my wip (work in progress) notebook, my scratch doodle notebook, my nice doodle sketchbook, my planner and my Authorstrator idea book.
Each one has a style and a purpose, and each one is very personal. I’ve been writing mostly in my notebook the past couple weeks so I’ve had notebooks on the brain. I found this old post from August 2022, if you want more notebook nerdiness. It holds up - I’m still working through the beautiful gift notebooks and refusing to be intimidated by their beauty. I recently did a tour of my current wip notebook for paid subscribers here .
There’s no right way to notebook and no wrong way. There’s only the way that works best for you and what you need it for. Whether your notebook is a work of art in itself, with stamps and stickers and washi, or a mess of scribbles and scratches, whether its meticulously organized or a jumbled collection of chaotic thoughts, whether its mostly for doodles or mostly for writing, or both, whether its an endlessly evolving To Do list or a diary, whether it stays at home or follows you everywhere…
…write your email address on the front page. You never know who could find it some day.
What I’m Working On
The edits have come in for my AI story and I am excited to dive in! That will take most of September.
I’m trying to get my Oz middle grade novel done (it’s very slow going) and the notebook has been my whole world while I try to sort out the dreaded messy middle of the story. Here’s a fountain pen ink doodle from one of the pages - I documented the whole process and will be sharing how I use fountain pen ink for drawing with paid subscribers on Sept 1.
We started a game in the Authorstrator chat! The Quotebook! I’ll be posting movie quotes and book quotes with a theme for reader to compete for awesome points! The Awesome Points champion this week was! I’ll drop the answers in the chat for anyone wondering.
If you want to join the next Quotebook match up, join the chat! Instructions here.
What I’m Reading
This post about colonoscopies fromhad me legit lolling.
This post fromabout book marketing is a two part-er and a very informative read for anyone with a book coming out.
A little treat!
Whenever I post on Instagram or Notes about writing in my notebook there’s usually questions about dip pens and the ink I use.
I’m a creative ambassador for Ferris Wheel Press - they’re a Canadian stationery company near where I live and they make the most beautiful inks and I absolutely love using them. Because I’m an ambassador, I get to try out all their colours and new shimmers and sparkles and sheens in exchange for posts and reviews.
And I wanted to share here, in case you are looking for inks for your fountain pens or dip pens! You can use my code: MEG for 10 % off at their website. They ship anywhere!
Til’ next time!