Monday, April 09, 2007

Tout Noté

On Saturday after an exceptionally long gym class I got the metro up to Blanche so that I could buy a new notebook from my favourite stationery shop. In the past I would go out of my way to go there to buy cards; it was the only place in the north of Paris (in my opinion) that sold decent cards. They also sell photo albums, things, handbags I’ve noticed, wallets, pens and notebooks.

I bought my first notebook up there in August 2005. It was a conscious decision, the one and only thing I had to do that day was buy a notebook. I remember that what I liked about it was the feel of the cover; it felt soft and sexy under my fingers. Inside the pages were cream coloured and stiff, you can flick them and they don’t bend. It was spiral bound so you can turn the pages a full 360°; two little silver rings hold it together at each end. It was burgundy, the colour of wine. It was A6 size, compact enough to fit into a bag or pocket, but large enough for my thoughts. The first line in it is: This is today’s method of saying yet again: ‘Today is the start of the rest of my life.’

I started the second one on the 1st April 2006: So it’s the first of April ha ha! And here’s what I have discovered: I am seriously allergic to something. Yeah, it turns out it was strawberries; hysterical huh? Anyway this notebook is olive green and by then I seemed to have developed the habit of using only my parker fountain pen to write in it. In fact I distinctly remember making a note about it one day when I was without it. Ah yes there it is: Left my pen in Gluepot’s office yesterday, will that make my thoughts different? Apparently the answer is yes; because that was the day I experimented with trying to deal with everything as a man! Four months later I had completed this notebook and this one ends on a beach in Bali. It was my last day in Bali and I think I was feeling a little melodramatic. I think I should add beneath this entry (there’s a little bit of space): please shoot me if I ever write a line as bad as this again.

There was a bit of a break between ending the 2nd one and starting the 3rd one; moving got in the way I think. Anyway eventually I bought it and I started it with the line: I knew this one had to be blue, which of course it is, and it’s not finished. In it are scribbled lines of poetry, beginnings of stories, ponderings about my life, thoughts about books I’ve read, ideas for posts, lists of things to do while on holiday, analysis of my dreams, how I will stage the Crane Wife (well a millisecond of it and it’s the costumes that are clear in my head more than anything) and then this poemy thing:

I watched him play with time
between his fingers:
stretching it,
snapping it,
stopping it
as if it was a pliable material,
like plasticine,
instead of the steady march of
seconds,
minutes,
days and
years
that I knew it to be.

Copyright, 2007. Verilion

Since then about 18,000 more words have poured out. In 2004 I wrote 36 chapters, the furthest I ever got. There are nine different versions, each one ranging between 6,000 and 30,000 words. Out of all those words, one idea and the name of one character have stayed the same and I think I know where I went wrong before. So I bought a new notebook. It’s red, it’s just a bit smaller than A4, the paper is still blank but thinner because I may rip pages out. I’ve divided it into sections: possible titles, characters, drawings, time line of events, glossary of terms and the rest for actually writing the damn thing. I think I’ve got it all. I’ve planned out all the events; in more detail for the bits I’ve actually written and very sketchy for the middle and end, but I know where I’m going, it just seems right. In the past chapters 12 – 14 have been where I’ve got super stuck, so I’m avoiding chapters for the moment, it’s just one long stream titled things like: the bit after the beginning, the next bit after the beginning. I don’t feel like I’ve got to sit down at my computer and spew for hours on end in case I forget it. It’s growing, it’s taking on a form of its own and eh... well that’s it really. Suppose I better go and write some of it now.

7 comments:

Marie said...

I've got notebooks all over the place but most of my writing is done on the laptop.

Nice poem, by the way.

Verilion said...

Yeah me too, although today me and the red note book went up to a little park behind Sacre Coeur to catch some rays. Me and every other HUMAN BEING in the Parisian Region. I was mentally killing tourists on the way home and then I heard some guy saying: "It's so different, I was here in August and it was dead." YEP THE WAY I LIKE IT. Next time I'm going to the cemetery. Ehm sorry, a bit of rant there. I'm also mad cos I was just tootling about Google Earth and I found my neighbourhood flagged up as an unspoilt slice of Montmarte. Not any more you dingo head. Just flag the place for the whole world to visit. OK I've finished. I think. I'm glad you like the poem by the way.

Verilion said...

Ehm I've just re read that and it doesn't make sense, Yeah me too, I do most of my writing on the lap top, but it's not so portable as to be able to take it out and sit with 3 million other folk. Right I really have finished now

Atyllah said...

I think notebooks are something of an addiction for all writers. My trouble is I keep buying new ones and scribbling in them and then can't find any of the words I'm looking for when I need them!

And good luck with getting that story down and in one piece!

Susan Abraham said...

I enjoyed this post, V. Maybe because I could relate so well to it.
I love notebooks too.
I think of 3 especially that are coloured a sky blue - all of which I bought in a set in different sizes, in a Japanese bookshop in Singapore. Japan is famed for its stationery. I carry the notebooks with me everywhere. I'm laptop savvy but am writing poetry in longhand again which is a good thing. :-)

Debi said...

Blessings on your notebook, V. May it be filled with inspiration. Sounds like it already is even before the Parker has hit the surface ...

Verilion said...

Hey all,

Yeah Atyllah and Susan I think you're right. And for me they have to be the right note books. Countless people have bought me note books and I always think it's so kind of them because they have put thought into the gift, but they're not spiral bound, or the pages are lined, or something is not right with them!

And I guess I will stick chapters in eventually but like Marie, I'm not even writing it in order at the moment.

And thanks Debi. I think I need blessings. Yesterday I was so frustrated because I had forgotten it was Easter Sunday (MONDAY even - I guess that's what happens when you're an atheist) and I was thinking: 'I CAN'T WRITE' but then I got going at about 10 and I remembered that I write best at night, from about 10 until about 4 in the morning sometimes.

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