Monday, December 3, 2007

The Accumulation of Notebooks

Office supplies, they do it to me every time. Give me a whiff of plastic sheet protectors and I'm delighted, show me the ink flow on a new pen and I'll covet it until the ink runs out, or bring me a notebook and I'll feel compelled to buy it. Regardless of how hard I try to resist, office supplies are the weakness in me (as well as technology and a number of other things but that will come up later).

My affinity for office supplies has resulted in two things. The first is rationed trips to office supply stores. The other is the horrible accumulation of notebooks. "Oh, this one is the perfect size," I'll say about one as soon as I see it. Or "Wow, look at the way the pages fold as a result of the smooth three ring spiral redesign," I'll say about another. Then the justification comes in. I think of every reason why I absolutely need this notebook, and usually if it's only a couple bucks I splurge.

When I first acquire a notebook it becomes my best friend. I carry it along with me everywhere (in addition to a couple magazines) and write various notes, story ideas, or compelling metaphors inside. After awhile I gradually withdraw from the notebook. Maybe I feel like my writing kick is too off topic to go in the notebook I've been carrying around so I switch, other times I just get tired of lugging the same thing around all the time and I let my notebook stay in one place. As a result, I have a collection of half filled (optimism intended) notebooks.

Sometimes I look back at notebooks, and when I needed something for my overnight interview with The Donut Man I sifted through the pages of a few to find something suitable for interview notes (as well as splatters of donut fixings). One notebook was a small black covered book, and in it I found a quote from Theodore Roosevelt that I love. It reads:

"It's not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again...who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly."

With jewels like that, small reminders of what impacts me greatly at any given time in my life, I suppose my obsession with notebooks isn't all that bad. Maybe I'll head to the office supply store. After all I do need more printer ink. And what better reason to purchase another notebook than quotes like Roosevelt's?

Current music infatuation: Girlyman