Taking Notes

After Barbara Abercrombie discussed the importance of taking notes last month, I took a field trip to Barnes & Noble to pick up a little black Moleskine…

*Begin pointless digression*

I’d never heard the term Moleskine before, but in the days before reading Barbara’s post, I came across it twice on different writing blogs. I didn’t know what it meant, so I filed it in the back of my mind for another day. Then, I spent about half hour thumbing through what felt like every single journal and notebook on the B&N shelves. Finding the perfect notebook is such a challenge – they’re all too big or too small, lined (I prefer unlined), the paper is too thin, the binding is flimsy, the theme is cheesy, oh I could go on. Just when I was ready to give up, I came upon the Moleskine display, and knew it was a sign from the universe when I read that Ernest Hemingway carried one. More importantly, it was perfect in every way. Purse-sized, plain black, unlined, heavy paper. JOY!

*End pointless digression*

…and have been writing diligently every since. Nothing polished, intelligent, or even good, but that’s the beauty of it. Keeping a small, separate notebook gives me permission to write a bunch of crap about what I see around me. Whether it ever ends up in any of my actual work is irrelevant. Just the act of observing my surroundings to take notes has forced me into awareness, to really connect with my environment and all the things happening around me. Things I may not have noticed otherwise. It’s kind of like the truth in writing thing. The notes help me notice details, the all-important insignificance of things.

What I’ve Learned On My Note-Taking Adventure

  • There’s a barista at the Starbucks in my office. Working there makes her cry. Either that, or she’s severely allergic to coffee beans, in which case she may want to rethink her career path.
  • After Valentine’s Day, retail items that are pink, red, or some combination thereof instantly lose their value, regardless of whether they’re adorned with little hearts. They all end up in the 75% off bin – a sad little Valentine’s graveyard full of plastics and ceramics and fuzzy white bears.
  • My company is full of fashion faux pas, including but not limited to strappy sandals with socks in the winter; VPL; ill-hemmed dress pants that show the ankle or bag out over the shoes; mix-n-match seasons like a light floral flowy skirt with big heavy black boots; feathered hair; an over-reliance on floral prints; and men in heeled boots.
  • Bluetooth earphones are invading our planet and severely dumbing down the average coffee shop patron, who can no longer differentiate between real human interaction and the sounds emanating from the metallic bullet permanently affixed to his ear.
  • Somehow, when I wasn’t paying attention, the “thou shalt not blow your nose where others are consuming foodstuffs” commandment was stricken from the etiquette book, permitting thousands of Americans to blow-honk-blow into napkins at dinner tables and public restaurants across the country. I don’t mean to discriminate (some of my best friends and family members are public nose-blowers), but please stop. Think about your fellow diner and excuse yourself to the restroom. Otherwise I’ll be forced to one-up you and do something really inappropriate the next time you’re about to slurp down some fettuccine alfredo.

Maybe the nose-blowers will end up in my next book. Maybe they won’t. The important thing is that I’m finally writing, like, all the time now. And that I learned what a Moleskine is. And that all you public nose-blowers know how I really feel on the matter. If I can prevent just one person from honking at the table just one time, my work here is done.

Observe. Take notes. Observe some more. Life is interesting.