I found an intriguing draft in my notebook, something I probably wrote in July or early August. I don’t always put dates on my poems, but I started doing it in Toronto. I wanted to remember what specific events occasioned the words that followed, or at least have a general idea. The fun thing about notebooks is that, in the margins of story scraps and poem drafts, I find little notes about my day–a quote, a verse of Scripture, the like. Test scores are fairly common as well. I usually have a notebook for whatever novel I happen to be working on and another for poems and such.
Lately, I’ve been using a 5-subject notebook that I’ve had at least since sophomore year of high school, although probably longer. The first section contains the beginnings of a side-project that never got fully underway, an extension of a novel that I also haven’t finished. (When it comes to writing, it usually feels like I’ve got more ideas and tentative forays than finished product, but that’s another matter.) The remaining 4 sections are divided as follows:
1. Short Stories, Quick Writes, and Drafts–for all the one-shot stories and miscellaneous scribbles. 2. Aiden & Asher–for the story I’ve been working on since December; when the computer is inaccessible and I need some long-hand space. 3. Poems–because really, I have to have somewhere to scribble when the sun sets or the panic persists. 4. Storylines, Names/Places, and Notes–for all those random ideas that hit me and which, if not written down somewhere, I will more than likely forget.
Evidently, I was smart enough to mark these sections in pencil, in case I needed to change one or two later on. I have a feeling that the “notes” section will be renamed “Cemetery Valley”, so I have long-hand space for the newest story I’ve been working on. It’s from an idea I had during the spring, but I knew it was too long for a short story and couldn’t write it for my Creative Writing class. Over the summer, I added some notes to it and worked out a general(ish) plot line. I started writing it a few weeks ago–nothing too structured, just wandering my way towards the event that sets the stage for everything else in the story. It’s been fun, getting to know these new characters and using tools I didn’t know I had.
Now, why am I saying all this? Well, this post was originally going to be a poem, but I got to reflecting on the fact that it was written here and I kind of just rediscovered it. And then there was the whole thing about dates and timing. And then remembering how I’ve always written important reminders and little notes in the margins, and…. Well, you get the point.
I have posted before about my not so great memory, although I haven’t done so recently. (It’s still terrible, just so you know.) I was simply curious, intrigued, caught, by the fact that I seem to give myself clues, reminders, of who I am, of where I’ve been, of what I believe. I have a trunk–somewhere in storage right now, probably–full of notebooks and sketchbooks in chronological order. Long-hand manuscripts, probably hundreds of poems, and lots and lots and lots of therapy. And in between the lines, outside the margins, are glimpses of a life that only I could have lived.