I have almost a gazillion notebooks that are only half-used, some not even half. One quarter, maybe. And do you know what I do with them? I neatly shove them into boxes and crevices throughout my room. And then I go out and buy new ones every other day.
I always consider myself to be a rational/logical/frugal, kind of person. You know, get the most out of everything I own. But then I turn to reflect on my habits, the patterns I follow, such as the notebook hoarding.
A large part of the problem is that I'm a born pack-rat. I keep, (well, practically collect) anything that has touched my hands, or crossed my path of sight. Kindergarten name-tags, girls camp awards and, really, anything that bares my name has been cut out and plastered the the outer-face of my bedroom door. Boxes full of folders bursting with my writings from the third grade on. Folders for things I was given, letters, cards, notes. Folders for things I need to remember and keep track of (bank stuff, mostly). Evidence that I was here. That I am.
I have a hard time letting go of things.
Third grade was the first time I ever seriously considered writing.
A story that bares a striking similarity to the entirety of my school experience: I hated school, feeling over-run by math and science, which I had no considerable aptitude for. Ah, but spelling, reading and language arts. Those came easily.
My teacher noticed.
I hated her (I think she noticed that too). She was large, single, and bitter because of it.
(the same description applies to each teacher I would experience through elementary school, with the exception of first and fifth grade.)
She teased me in front of the class as I struggled with simple math. I resented her to say the least. But she told me I could write. She created a class newspaper, which I wrote for. I mostly liked it because, with regularity, I was allowed to step away from the confines of the classroom to wander on my own, interviewing other classes and teachers. My articles were brief, but specific and speckled with direct quotes. She encouraged me to write stories.
We had a contest. We had spent the month studying fractured fairytales, reading them in class, and borrowing our own favorites from the library. We each wrote our own fractured fairytales and submitted them to be voted on. We would make a play from the winning stories and perform them for the rest of the school.
I made mine a take on Rapunzle. Truthfully, I don't remember the details of the story except that my Rapunzle had a serious case of dandruff. I won, along with tales of a frog-prince, and burnt gingerbread man. I bowed with the other two writers at the end of the plays. They took our picture.
As the end of the school year came, She made a specific effort to give each class member a gift, a class award of sorts. I only remember a few of the others, but I was The Writer. She gave me a notebook. Wrote a note on the first page. I hated her for stealing the first touch of ink to my new pages.
I hoard notebooks. I literally have boxes, filled with half-used notebooks. And I can't tell if I'm being selfish, or kind.
Am I depriving those notebooks of reaching of their potential? Keeping them from truly fulfilling their purpose?
Or am I keeping their options open? Helping them develop, to serve a deeper purpose? Giving them a longer life?
That's not even half of them. not even close.