Really, the joy of the Blank Page.
The tools have changed, and in some cases, dramatically. What amused me, dredging through my memories, I kept thinking that a “reporter’s notebook” would be the perfect way to keep notes, the perfect format, instead of the smaller Field Notes style that I’ve been using the last few years. The Field Notes style, three and half inches wide, five and half inches tall, with first a graph pattern then the dot grid? I found that worked better for my freestyle approach to daily notes.
Really, the joy of the Blank Page?
Numerous writers I’ve read? All complain about the absolute sheer terror of the blank page. Metaphorically, it’s a blank sheet of paper, and realistically, in our postmodern era, it’s a blank screen in a word processing program with its blinking cursor, and no words typed.
That blank page doesn’t scare me, at least not too much. Not often do I avoid it, either. However, I have a not-so-secret way to deal with the problems.
The most recent example is a half-legible note to myself about a Field Notes Reporter’s Notebook. Yes, I had seen it, and yes, it is available; therefore, it can be launch point for an idea. All of this from a notation about specific brand that I don’t really use too much, but I admire the brand’s idealism.
At one time, I had box full of old report’s notebooks, scribbled, single words, notes, notations, and spurious dats points that meant something at the time. Think it was all lost in the great flood of ’93.
When I carried such a notebook, I had a press pass, State of Arizona Press Pass clipped to the notebook, like a simple badge, and then I would use a rubber band to hold the book shut, the pass clipped and secured to the front of the cover, and I could keep a pen tucked in, as needed.
I’ve toyed with going back to a similar arrangement, but the reporter’s notebooks are too long, now, for what I need. I try to keep a day to a single page, and it is most notes, reminders about certain medications, and check points for the Sun and the Moon (that’s my “day” job).
That blank page rarely frightens me.. I’m not haunted by it, and I haven’t been for several decades. True, the work ebbs and flows, but having a single direction is useful, and everything else is window dressing.
The notebooks, in a number of different formats, have all been with me, for many, many years. For a spell, think old South Austin, I used the surfeit of envelopes, either bills, or advertising, when I had a mailbox stuffed with junk like that. I would always carry a scrap of paper and something to write with, just in case the motivation hit. Notes. Sometimes, something as simple as a merely a word, triggers a flash of insight to be tossed into the works.
With the proper tools, though the ubiquitous blank page is nothing to be afraid of. It doesn’t demand, and it’s a canvas ready to spill ink, pencil lead, blood, sweat, tears, and so much more.
Sweat mixed with a little local red dirt makes an interesting — like water color wash — patina to a page.
It’s all about keeping a list of running ideas.