I keep a notebook

8 07 2009

“’10:26 A.M. … signing off…’” the note reads. – My 16-month STARBUCKS® Date Book & Journal from Singapore. 10:26 A.M.. Friday. 29th May 2009.

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Wrote this down last Monday on my Starbucks® 16-month Date Planner & Journal (from Partner!)

41 days has passed since I wrote that down on my current notebook – just a time stamp and two words.  But they are more than enough to swing open the floodgates of memories.  I know exactly how I felt then.  I know exactly – still – everything around that comment.  I was in front of my laptop at the time.  And when an instant message popped up on my screen, I had to take a pause.  I motioned to my left side to get my royal blue Adidas bag… lift its loose and free flap… unzip an inside compartment… and dig deep for my blue Bic ballpen.  I removed the ballpen’s cap, and as if channeling a troubled and tortured – but nevertheless brilliant – novelist, I let my weary right hand scribble the words down.  For one moment in my life, I felt a hesitation to land the pen on the surface of the paper.  I didn’t exactly know how to make sense of how I felt.  And then, those two words just came out.  Thank God I had that notebook on hand.

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Starbucks® 16-month Date Planner & Journal, a gift from Partner! I love this!

Eversince I was a student, I’ve kept my notebooks well.  I mean, I’ve kept notebooks – I had to.  Definitely, it was a fact of life as some teachers even “graded” them then.  And while as as student I was so selfish to not allow anybody to copy from my assignments, I made a special exception to the lectures I took down.  I would allow a few people to photocopy my notes.  And while in some subjects my quiz and exam scores were more than enough to exempt me from taking the finals, I would always look forward to having my notebooks graded.  It didn’t matter even if the extra credit meant my grades would go shooting through the roof.

I thought I’d stop the “habit” once I finished school.  But I didn’t.  A notebook has become an essential to my daily existence.  As a matter of fact, when I received the gift of a small, rectangular genuine leather sling bag made by a North American design house, the first thing I checked was not the labels.  Hahaha!  I checked if it could fit my notebook-of-the-moment (the Starbucks® one mentioned above).  That has been how a notebook has become the – for lack of better term – focal point of my daily grind.

The other night, before I dozed off, my sights got transfixed on a short stack on my study table – one of many piles scattered all over the desk top as if they were junk.  And I realized one thing.  I’ve sort of chronicled some of the more important moments of my life – both the highs and the lows – on notebooks.  There was the Mead composition notebook someone gave me from the States.   Originally the size of an 8 ½” x 11” bond paper, I customized it to a much smaller version, wrapped it with the Christmas wrapper from one of Batman’s gifts, and decorated it with an image of Batman, cut out from an HBO programme flyer.  I was so proud of this Batman notebook that I had my best friend – the Dark Knight himself – sign on it!

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I (sort of) made this notebook!

Then there was the thin “Starbucks®” notebook I made out of loose pages of a Franklin planner that I covered with the sturdy “Starbucks® World of Coffee Guide” pamphlet that I got from their branch in Tagaytay.  Of course, there’s the Rina Albert notebook that Cupcakes by Sonja pastry chef and owner Ms. Sonja L. Ocampo gave me.

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My beloved Rina Albert notebook from Ms. Sonja L. Ocampo

And in this arsenal also belongs my Moleskine cahier soft cover notebook.  I get this from Fullybooked in Bonifacio High Street.  It comes in sets of three.  It is only secondary to me – something that I learned about only later – that this notebook is made by the same makers that had provided for the paper needs of legendary artists, writers, and thinkers.  What I really love are the size options, the acid-free paper, the pocket at the back, the defined stitching, and the way the sheets feel after I have riddled them – back-to-back – with my passionate writing.

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My Moleskine cahier and the Starbucks® notebook I made!


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From the pages of my Moleskine cahier (all about food!)

Which now brings me back to what I first thought of when I started writing this.  Why do I keep a notebook?

I guess, for the most part, it has got something to do with my idiosyncrasy to not let go – to really hang on.  Some call “letting go” an art.  But with me, I’ve elevated it to a whole new level all its own.  And I guess I need a notebook for that.  I’m reaching deep inside me and I think, I keep a notebook to help me capture moments that later on, will see me through the difficulty of loss.

And flipping through some of my notebook’s pages, I couldn’t help but smile.  At “opportunities” I missed.  At what I did for some people to cheer them up.  At things I took down and kept keeping until I could talk again to someone I had a misunderstanding with.  At gift ideas I wrote down because I wanted to save up for them.  At “surprises” I wanted to cook up for special someones.

My notebooks are by no means my attempts to write history and amaze people with my factual accounts.  My notebooks are there to account for my life.  To make me remember, especially when the memory gap sets in. Hahaha!

In a matter of days, there will be one more candle to light up and blow out.  And when I really get old or when the time has come to leave, I would be so content and thankful to lie on my deathbed and just read my notebooks.

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Gotta save up for that Maurice Lacroix wristwatch. Hahaha!


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A notebook pile!