On keeping a notebook

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In my late teens, overburdened by an excess of life, I built a storage facility for it: a diary. I keep lots of notebooks, but perhaps the most important is the small one I stash in my purse.

Manguso kept her diary for several decades.

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My first novels were all written on a typewriter: first draft straight through, then revisions, then final draft. But of course it is not.

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I also keep them on the nightstand next to the bed. Writing anchored me through my first year as a working mom. I suppose that it begins or does not begin in the cradle. The following longreads explore the joys of keeping a notebook and the art of writing longhand. Share this:. I've been going strong with my notebook — a red floral number that I had to work up the courage to write in for the first time — for a few months now. That would be a different impulse entirely, an instinct for reality which I sometimes envy but do not possess. We were living in Atlanta then, and our house had one of those oversized master suites, inherited from the previous owner, so once out of bed, I was standing in a small sitting room that adjoined the bedroom. I suppose that it begins or does not begin in the cradle. The essay reads the way I imagine Didion herself speaks, starting smack in the middle of a thought.

We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were In other words, they write longhand. But I believe that the labor has virtue, because of its very physicality. And I started to wonder what was wrong with me.

Keepers of private notebooks

But it wasn't long after that, as a teenager, that I quit the habit altogether, and trashed all of the notebooks I had filled up. Scott Fitzgerald, but perhaps we all must meet the very rich for ourselves by asking, when I arrived to interview her in her orchid-filled sitting room on the second day of a paralyzing New York blizzard, whether it was snowing outside. Didion writes: "I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be whether we find them attractive company or not. Do you want to hold a tangible artifact in your hand that captures down to factual detail, every single day? And neither did Didion. Monthly donation. All of the minutiae of my day to day existence? Share this:. It is easy to deceive oneself on all those scores. The essay reads the way I imagine Didion herself speaks, starting smack in the middle of a thought.

But it wasn't long after that, as a teenager, that I quit the habit altogether, and trashed all of the notebooks I had filled up.

But when you finally get down to the reality of what that means — reliving the hardest days, trying to capture the happiest — it can be difficult to sit down and write.

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This is the role our notebooks must take in our lives, too.

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Analysis Of ' On Keeping A Notebook ' By Joan Didion