Wednesday August 25th, 2010

The exercise:

Let's see what we can do with: the notebook.

For those of you who were curious about my camera yesterday, I'll direct you over here. The zoom is pretty fantastic on that thing; I'll have to take a couple pictures of the same thing, one zoomed all the way in and the other zoomed all the way out, for comparison purposes.

But for reference, I was only standing a foot or two away when I took the bee picture and I don't think I was zoomed in all the way. I might have been though. I'm so helpful!

Mine:

The familiar leather feels strange in my hands, as though it has seen years of abuse since I picked it up last night. I turn it over to find that tiny nick in the top left corner, where I sliced it with my scissors three weeks ago when I was foolishly cutting wrapping paper at my desk.

"Go ahead, open it."

I do as I'm told and discover my hand writing within. But the words themselves are not familiar. Could I have done this after a night of heavy drinking? No, the lines are straight, the content legible.

"So this is your proof?" I ask without looking up at the old man sitting across from me.

"Do you need something more?"

I stare at the date above the very last entry and try to process it. October 23rd, 2054. Forty-four years from today.

"Couldn't you just have told me who's going to win the fights this weekend?"

"Would you really have believed a man showing up at your door, claiming to be you from the distant future, who told you to bet all your money on Wilkerson?"

Damn it. That's totally something I would say.

9 Comments:

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

The Notebook

Some people have a thing for the latest cell phones, celebrity news, sparkly fictional characters. I have a thing for notebooks.

There's just something about a nice solid cover, those clean white pages, and the prospect of covering those pages with all manner of who-knows-what excitedly and furiously scribbled down. I've kept many of the ones I've scribbled in over the years: class notebooks in which I'm sure I scrawled something amusing in the margins; notebooks of stuff I started to write four or five years ago, back when I first started to really write, which are probably still good rough ideas but are probably... well, rough to say the very least and very kindest; a small notebook I've kept in my pocket or bag for the better part of ten months with all sorts of stuff. There are reminders, snippets of stories (bits of a "Lunacy" and a "They Will Not Break Me" segment as well), lists of random thoughts, occasional drawings, even a few of my brother's drawings when I let him commandeer the thing back in January.

Like many other writers of all levels of talent and aspiration I keep a journal. Starting that series of journals is really what got me back into writing back in eighth grade, because of my fantastic (if not exceedingly eccentric) English teacher and our class' study of Diary of a Young Girl, the play version. This past year, what with it being so busy, I've tended to lapse, but hopefully I won't as much. As I'm heading out to school on Friday to start this "next chapter of life" sort of thing called college I'm intending to be a bit more liberal as to what goes between its covers: maybe more than just what goes on day-to-day and what I feel like writing about, maybe also more bits of fiction, more flat-ish memorabilia, that sort of thing. We'll have to wait to see if that comes to actually pass, but I hope to make it so.
- - - - - - - - - -
And again, I can see somebody doing a continuation of this as well.

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

PS: Dang, my thing was long...

Zhongming said...

Marc - That is really well written, I like the sequence of your story :)

g2 - aww, i wish i can attend that class!

---

Mine:

My little sturdy notebook,
Is filled with words
And thoughts about you and I,
It simply has a story of its kind.

Before the day you left,
I could have tried my best,
To hold you back,
Moreover, I did not do that.

Day after day,
The picture of you,
Still reside somewhere,
Deeply inside.

There is no other way,
To bottle inside;
The fear of losing you,
Taught me to fight.

morganna said...

Marc: Have you read "By The Bootstraps" by Robert A. Heinlein? It's a short story about a man who gets a very similar visit, and what happens next ...

I have nothing profound to say about a notebook, except that almost everything you see here goes in one first. I have a newish one now, my parents gave it to me. I really appreciate it, I needed a new one when I got it, but it has lines. I hate lines but I'm struggling along with it because I love my parents. :)

And the dragon novel has a new beginning: Dragon Land: Chapter One

Greg said...

@g2: Your piece may have been long, but it needed to be that length to express itself, I think. I enjoyed reading it anyway, and you've made me wonder now if I shouldn't try keeping a journal myself.

@Zhongming: The emotional depth of your poem is great! The last verse in particular is really moving. One small comment: I don't really like the "Moreover" at the end of the second verse, it feels wrong to me. "However" seems more natural there.

@Morganna: I know I've read By the Bootstraps but what you've written isn't enough to remind me what it's plot it... I shall have to try and find it and remind myself again!

@Marc: Definitely a great start to a story, and now I'm left wondering if Nate's surname was Wilkerson... I don't think it was, but it would be a lovely link if it had been!

The Notebook

I have a notebook; it tends to get filled with notes from meetings at work (because I keep it on my desk when I'm there) and mathematical workings (I won't give an example in case I scare you, dear Reader), and occasionally random ideas (Nuclear Vacation -- where the nuclear family goes on holiday to do exceptionally average things).
For a while I kept notebooks for 'Morning Pages,' a concept espoused in 'The Artist's Way' by Julia Cameron. Every morning, without fail, I'd write three pages. I'm not sure it ever helped me become a better writer, but it did clear my mind of clutter and make the rest of the day flow better. I should really start doing that again. So, I need a notebook....

Heather said...

Marc- Hola! Great start to a story. It vaguely reminds me of a few movies, but mostly of Time Traveler's Wife. Except, you obviously were able to bring things with you :)

G2- You are so lucky to have started doing any of this so young. It could lead to an amazing future as a writer. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. And good luck with your move! College is what you make of it and I hope to see little excerpts of it slipped in your writing. Oh, and the length is perfect.

Zhongming- Fabulous poem. maybe one of your better ones here. I see what Greg was saying about 'Moreover'. It doesn't slide off the tongue comfortably, but I like the importance it places on the line. However wouldn't do that. I guess it comes down to how strongly you want to convey that choice.

Morganna- Writing in notebooks is probably something I should do more. Reigning myself in a bit would teach me some things, I have no doubt.

Greg- Three pages every morning? I couldn't do it. It would turn into more of a list of things to take care of. It's a fascinating idea though.

Since we seem to be in more of a self-disclosure mood today and because I've written a couple of pages of fiction, let's talk about my notebooks.
-----

Where once my notebooks contained doodles and brief phrases that acted as reminders to fire the synapse at test time, they are now mostly empty. Graced by thin blue lines, I look at them with guilt. I should be writing, putting them to goo use. I try to do it, but the pain in my wrist badgers at me, distracting me from my real purpose and the chicken scratch scrawl of my penmanship eventually chases me away. In many ways I am a perfectionist and my handwriting is far from meeting the bar.

So they continue to sit empty in a small pile. When I do use them, the lines have brief phrases written in Spanish for practice or grading, occasionally as a quick firing reminder. It is always a set of rules to follow.

Marc said...

g2 - keep writing, that's all I ask :)

And no worries about the length, it certainly didn't feel too long.

Zhongming - that's really lovely. Nicely done :)

Morganna - I haven't, but now I'll have to check it out!

Also: haha, I need lines. I would never be able to read my writing without them!

Greg - it's actually McDaniel (or was it MacDaniel? Crap...) but that is an excellent point!

I have a copy of The Artist's Way that I need to get around to reading at some point. I 'won' it in a draw at one of my writing group meetings and I just haven't managed to get to it yet.

And yeah, 3 pages in the morning would break me pretty quick I think.

Heather - well, I have read the book, but I haven't seen the movie yet.

I too have forsaken my notebook for a while, but I'm starting to use it a bit more these days. Mostly jotting down ideas, or writing out parts of a scene that need to get down before I lose them and the laptop is either in use or not close by.

I hope you get back to using yours for more literary pursuits :)

Monica Manning said...

Late, as always, not to mention I haven't posted here in ages. But I assure you, I've been writing. Congratulations on your recent marriage, Marc. Your wife is beautiful.

As usual, I got a little long-winded, so I posted here.

Marc said...

Thanks very much, Monica :)

And I shall check out your take on ze prompt shortly!