Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Elegy for My Notebook

I've just filled up another little notebook

I prefer the MEAD 3 X 5 hard plastic notebooks. They fit in pockets, pouches, nearly everywhere, and the hard plastic cover keeps them from falling apart.

Today, my sea-blue one is retired.

Tomorrow, I think I have a sunset-gray/purple one starting.

The last thing I was working on was an attempt to think about John Ashbery's poetry in some way that isn't reductive. The last thing written on the last page is:

"It's the genius of unendingness."

Ah, lovely irony.

Anyway, what are your composition habits? Do you fill up little notebooks as well? Tell me I'm not alone.


At 12/12/2006 3:54 PM, Blogger C. Dale said...

I have never kept notebooks the way you describe. I have a file on my computer where I put lines that I liked from a draft when the draft is killed. I carry stuff around in my head mostly. I like the idea of the notebook, but I know I would never really ever use one.

At 12/12/2006 5:26 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

C. Dale, this explains a lot. I've read on your blog in the past things like "I have this poem in my head" or "I can feel a poem in my head." (These are weak paraphrases, apologies.) I was going to ask you about that when we meet, but now I don't have to!

I wish I were more like you, and I could carry poems around in my head. It sounds like Wallace Stevens composing on the way to work. Sadly for me, though, my head is full of noodles mostly, and poems wouldn't stand a chance.

So I keep the little notebook, in which I write things during the day, and then when I get home I look back at what I was thinking about and listening to (or for).

It's probably why my poems keep getting called things like elliptical and detached . . . !

At 12/13/2006 6:08 AM, Blogger jz said...

I don't use a notebook -- but I have pens and scraps of paper in my car. It seems I often get ideas for poems or lines while driving to work (hardly ever any driving home).

Otherwise, it's in my head. Or at home, a big yellow legal pad -- I must have about a dozen of them scattered throughout the house.

At 12/13/2006 6:32 AM, Blogger marybid said...

Ditto to C. Dale, though I really, really want to start writing longhand again. I used to carry a little notebook around and use it, back when I took the bus or train everywhere. Now it's in my head until it's in microsoft word. Ick. That sounds so clinical.


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