I carry a notebook with me pretty much all the time. Even if I abandon the steamer trunk bag I usually carry for a simple wallet, there are scraps of blank paper inside, for me to write down where I took a photograph, or an overhead snippet of conversation, a phone number, or an idea for a story or scene.
For Christmas this year, I treated myself to one of the moleskin notebooks everyone raves about. You know, the kind Hemmingway was reported to use. I used to scoff a bit at the way writers and artists went on and on with their rhapsodies and odes to the moleskin.
I will scoff no more.
The moleskin came with me to New York, and I treasured it. It IS better than a regular notebook. The soft warmth of the cover, the texture of the pages, the stretchy strap to keep it closed, the pocket in the back that is just the right size for a postcard, an empty subway pass, and the business cards collected at the conference.
I wrote in the notebook every day: on the train in from New Jersey, in the hotel lobby, at the NYPL branch on 42nd, in restaurants, on a bench at Grand Central Terminal.
And I wrote during every conference session. I don’t take notes during presentations because I am afraid I will forget. I seldom go back and look at the notes later.
I make my notes because it helps focus my listening, because I love a clever turn of phrase, because when I write something down with my hand the idea lives in me more fully than if I only hear it with my ear.
My new notebook got a workout. And I have written very little since.
I thought I would come back and post all kinds of thoughts, impressions, photographs, reviews (oh my, the New York food… OH. MY.) But I haven’t done that. At least, not yet.
In the ten days I’ve been back, the ideas and experiences have been working their magic on me. I have been a black cauldron of witch’s brew after all the ingredients are added, simmering, steaming, waiting for the spell to take.
Now I feel ready to write again. So, I’ll do that, and come back here to talk about the conference and the trip another day. Until then, I’ll leave you with this, because I love me some Savage Chickens.
Even though this was a conference for children’s book writers and illustrators, it was – for the most part – attended by adults.
Adults who might appreciate this cartoon:
(Even if it wasn’t like this at all, at least not for me. I hear the LA conference is more of a party – maybe that has to do with the difference between New York in January and LA in August.)
listening to: Coldplay, Life in Technicolor