I am surrounded by the written word; the floor to ceiling bookshelves that line my house, the writer’s notebooks that lie on the floor next to my desk. The written word has always been my refuge, whether it was by disappearing into a book and the world it created or whether it was the solace I found in placing pen to paper. A lot of what I write down is just short thoughts and observations- a person at a restaurant, a man on the subway, a small sketch of a town, or crowd.
The written word has also always been my shorthand with others. It makes conversations so much easier if you only have to say a word or phrase from a book for someone to understand the context of what you’re saying. It makes relationships easier if you’re both comfortable spending the day in silence as you each curl up with your individual books. There is a shared connection with other that comes if two friends both love the written word.
And it’s not just loving the written word, it’s how you love it. I throw out dust jackets because they annoy me when I try to read hardcovers. I crack the spines on all my books as soon as I open them. I use post-its and postcards and random slips of paper for bookmarks.
My writer’s notebooks are covered with things I have cut out of magazines, photos I’ve taken, comics my mother has sent me through the mail, postcards from friends or places I’ve been. They become mini scrapbooks of what my life was like and what I was doing at that time in my life. My notebooks are full of multicolored post-its and different shades and types of pens. These things help me organize my life and thoughts. Some of the jottings become stories or poems. Sometimes they are just observations that I go back and comment on. I laugh, I regret, I smile at the things on those pages because they are me. Horrible me, mean me, scared or embarrassed me, but all me in my truest form. I don’t write them for anyone, although I have been known to share some of the things I write in them. I don’t put dates on them, because they are not the whiny drivel often seen in journals, although the things written in them are very personal. They are numbered, because I see them as a progression, a growth. They are colorful because I surround myself with images and color code everything.