One of my writing courses, Advanced Composition, the professor is having us read Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones, a book of inspiration on the writing craft. I have had the book on my To-Read list of craft books for quite some time, but I've never managed to find time to read it. Good thing for school.
We also had some writing exercises to do based on some of the practices Goldberg recommends in the first five segments of the book. One of them involved using pen and paper to jump-start the writing process. I couldn't resist talking about my favorite practice of collecting fountain pens and journals. I thought I'd copy it over here.
We are living in a digital world, and I am a digital woman: A word (or 400+) on note taking (old school vs. new school), notebooks, pens, etc...
Time: 1/10-afternoon, listening to Chopin’s Nocturne No. 2 in E flat major, because I happen to be rolling with classical at the moment. Tomorrow it might be Schemawound, or another of my favorite free digital artists.
On the notebook and pen theme by Goldberg, I thought I’d chime in. Notebooks and pens are an obsession with me. My favorite pens for scribbling down ideas, poems, and outlining stories are fountain pens. I use them in class. I get shivers, the good kind, down my back when I hear the scritchy sound of a fountain pen nib moving in aesthetic arcs across the pages of a well loved, quality notebook or journal. My fountain pens run the price gamut from the cheapie $15 Pilot Metropolitans to the more expensive Lamy 2000 I got for my graduation at St. Pete College. I love them all, but my Pilot Metros and my Lamy Safaris are more comfy for writing. About paper. I can never get enough of it. I have my Hobbit Moleskine, some cheapie composition books, and various Mead notebooks I use for class or for story bibles. My favorite writing paper has to be the notebook my friend Sam sent me from England: Clairefontaine. It’s so smooth my fountain pens glide across it like a water bug skimming across a pond. I also keep a digital notebook on Evernote. Sometimes you just don’t have a notebook with you, and when you don’t, thank the Gods for technology. Evernote can be downloaded to your computer as an app, but there is an online version you can access from any computer in the world. I have poetry bits, title ideas, story ideas, research, and a lot of other writing and life-related stuff organized in notebooks on Evernote. I do keep a small notebook in my purse, but I confess, I haven't been writing as much on paper as I used to. So, Thursday, the day after class and following Ms. Goldberg’s prompt, I began writing some poetry in my little book. It’s not very good, but I’m surprised at some of the patterns that emerged from the process of putting down thoughts on paper, one after the other, without stopping until necessary. This is definitely a worthwhile practice to engage in whenever I feel my brain is clogged.
Speaking of tech, as a writer who has lived through the paper and typewriter, to finally the digital age of computers and tablet computing, I appreciate all of it... I embrace the technology of the now and can't wait to see what new wonder is around the corner. I have especially come to love typing more than handwriting, because my handwriting is so bad even I can't read it sometimes.
A YouTube on the Digital Age, "Digital Life Will Change Who We Are"---set to the tune of "Video Killed the Radio Star" by the Buggles.