Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What's in Your Notebook?

            An article in the November issue of The Writer, “Have Notebook, Will Travel” by Carolyn Roy-Bornstein prompted me to take a look at the four full notebooks in my desk drawer. (They’re in the drawer awaiting such time as I will pluck out the pages and file in the appropriate folder.) She quotes Henry James who defines a good writer as “one…on whom nothing is lost.”
            I can relate. How many wonderful observations have been lost in the mist of memory because I didn’t write them down? Now I go nowhere without my notebook tucked handily in my purse. So what’s lurking inside these tomes of tidbits?
  • Notes from my February trip to several sites in SW Arkansas, including inscriptions from old tombstones
  • Information on using DNA in genealogy from a speech to a local genealogical society
  • “Revelation in the Woods”—forgotten cemetery in the local national park—from a presentation in town
  • Observations in two airports on the way to a writing conference in NC in May (next week’s blog will be about characters which could be derived from same)
  • More information from a Civil War Sesquicentennial speech at the library
  • Hot Springs in the Civil War—presented at the library by the director of the Arkansas Historical Commission
  • Description of the historic Arlington Hotel during an afternoon sitting in the lobby sipping a soft drink and eating free popcorn
  • Description of the historic Park Hotel while sitting at the BAR with a soft drink
  • Sermon notes
  • Notes from another Civil War presentation—as related to genealogy
  • Notes from a meeting of the local chapter of the Arkansas Archaeological Society
  • Notes from various meetings at the Ozark Creative Writers Conference in Eureka Springs in October
  • Six pages of notes made in “Dr. Baker’s Bistro” on the fourth floor of the historic (and haunted) Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs—notes for a story I don’t have time to write (right now).
  • Notes from the opening of an arts center in a nearby town—plenty of people-watching possible here!
  • July “people watch” at DFW Airport (see next week’s blog)
  • More “mob info” from a local author who writes about Hot Springs history
  • Reflections on a meeting of a local writers’ group
  • Webinar notes
  • Observations from Thanksgiving trip to Ft. Smith and Van Buren, including a wonderful 50s style diner and an excursion on an historic train
  • Observations from Christmas trip to Little Rock, including historic sites, the trolley, and so much more

There’s much more in the notebooks, both writing-related and not. The point is, if I hadn’t written things down as I saw them, I’d have forgotten 90% of the details.
I buy pretty little journals from the 10 for $10 rack at a local craft store, and I’m always armed with a couple of my favorite pens. (They make nice thinking-of-you gifts, too.)
What’s in YOUR notebook? Leave a comment and follow this blog—and I’ll be your writing friend for life!


Calisa Rhose said...

Great blog Judy. I love what's in your notebooks! I hve similar nd I'll add notes from super guest speakers at my local rwa meetings. A tactical officer, medieval weapons specialist, court artist and more. Will I ever use any of this since I don't write historical or suspense? Maybe. lol But it's interesting stuff.

Your writing friend who has yet to get through the ags you mailed to me.. lol

Donna Alice said...

A nice reminder to start keeping up my notebooks again. Have done so in the past but let it get away from me. And it's always so interesting to re-read the stuff I thought was important enough to write down.

glenys said...

Nice blog, Judy -I loved the wide variety of info in your notebooks! Everything is grist for the writer's mill, right? I write romantic suspense and murder mysteries, so my book has notes about ideas & conversations my characters might have,some of them threatening (!) and some interesting odds and ends like that injecting someone with an empty syringe won't actually kill them(one myth debunked!) and about a rather nasty mushroom that sickens and kills its victims over the course of a year, with a note from me about how hard it would be to track the cause of death...I just hope no-one ever reads those notes if they don't know me....:-)

K9friend said...

You are so right. I have to jot it down, because my addled brain presses the delete button almost as soon as the thought enters my head!

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