Monday, March 20, 2017

Starting Over

Notebooks # 70, 71, 72

This happened...a friend sent me this picture on twitter. It's from the Saturday Reunion at Teachers College...WOW!
I am a notebooker. I proudly wear that title.

Almost everywhere I go, my notebook goes with me. I'm on notebook number 72ish. (Notebooks keep popping up after I've counted, so that's frustrating. I'm not good with numbers.) I just started writing in this notebook on March 13th.

Starting a new notebook can be overwhelming, even for me. It occurred to me as the words came tumbling onto the page a couple of days ago,
After notebooking for so long, I know what I like in a notebook. I prefer blank pages and a hardbound book. My favorite notebooks to write in come from Barnes and Noble, but I love to try new kinds...or do I?

Number 72 is from Michaels...

Different kind of cover, rounded edges to the pages...I know it sounds like those are unimportant details, but they aren't. They matter. When I start a new notebook, it's like starting a new relationship. I pour my heart into the words that cover those pages. It's risky to start over. I looked back through my last two notebooks and this is a pattern...

It's the beginning. Somehow, these words feel more important...bigger. Maybe that's what stops lots of people.

...the pressure of being perfect. Hmmm, well now I have something to think about. I'm doing lots of writing about notebooks and this new notebook seems to be teaching me some new lessons. My students continue to teach me lessons about my own notebook practice. They love my writing. Last week they told me how beautiful it is. When I look at my writing, I see messy and mistakes. I yearn to have beautiful penmanship and make my "e"s better and on and on. It proves to me that we all see our own work with such a critical eye.

Here's a peek into the covers and title pages of my last three notebooks... 

Number #70
September, 2016 - December, 2016

Number #71
January, 2017 - March, 2017

Number #72
March, 2017 -

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for this amazing platform to write and share writing! What a wonderful community you've created! I'm honored to be part of it. Join us at Two Writing Teachers.


  1. I wish I did more regular notebook writing - Digital Writing still seems rather ... fleeting, and requires careful curation. Notebooks are just there, and will be there. I have a handful from years ago, notebooks where I wrote every week if I could not write every day. I guess blogging is now what replaced that, and even I know it is not the same thing.

  2. I love these peeks into your notebooks, Michelle - like Kevin, they make me wish I was more regular (and artistic) about notebooking. PS - What a great Twitter moment for you!

  3. I have many notebooks started but not finished. I am determined to finish one. I love your use of different colors (pens etc)...I am afraid to be messy and to have random thoughts.

  4. You are my notebook idol! I always love reading about your process and seeing your beautiful words.

  5. Thank you for the sneak peek into your notebooks. They inspire me and remind me that they don't have to be perfect and I don't have to follow a plan. I can just write, doodle, cut, and paste. I love to see all the different covers too.

  6. Thank you for sharing this with me and the thoughts on new notebooks. It's comforting to know starting new has so many thoughts for you too. I have a new one to start with me today.

  7. What a great moment to see that slide! I love it when you share peeks!

  8. I bought that elephant notebook as well (used to collect elephants a long while ago) - haven't started it yet. I keep notebooks for different purposes, not sure how many I have. Love your post and your journals.

  9. Wow! To be quoted, on the big screen, in writing! Mabruke! (Congratulations in Arabic.) If you don't know about Attic Journals you absolutely MUST check them out. She is also a Michelle and we went to college together. She and her husband have this awesome upcycle business where they take, wait for it, discard hardcover library books and turn them into journals (with blank pages!)

  10. Notebooker- title that speaks of commitment, reflection and creativity. I have a long way to go. I started a new notebook, Purple covers. No pictures on the cover. Three days later I noticed that I had started from the back. With closer inspection I discovered that the front and back were different.

  11. You know how much I admire your notebooks and how thrilled I was to see one in person. You also know I don't keep notebooks, but wish I did. I'm like Kevin above - I do all my writing in blogs, and I know it's not the same. I love the way you pasted/taped favorite poems in them. Maybe that what I could do - kind of the Paul Hankins remix kind of thing - to get me started. I also like the sticky notes. Maybe...

  12. I love seeing all that you do with the notebooks, Michelle. Is it time to write a book for writers? I print and tape things in too, love that I've captured what I like at the time. Notebooks indeed are special keepsakes!

  13. Your post sings to me Michelle. Having been a 'notebooker' since 1983 I feel your excitement for each new notebook. I also feel a sense of loss saying goodbye to a friend and travel companion. The footprints of your life are gathered in those treasure notebooks. Another great post from a reflective learner and writer.


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