Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Notebook Dilemma

The Dilemma
I'm coming to the end of yet another notebook, and right now, I've got no clue of where to go next. My current choice is the one you see to the left--softcover Miquelrius, squared pages. It's taken a beating over the past 9 months and still looks good. But choosing a new notebook is always tough. Here's what I've got in my current stock. I'd love any opinions.

The Classic
This is the notebook I started out with, or nearly so--my first was smaller. But the Moleskine. As we all know, it's...
The legendary notebook of Chatwin and Hemingway.
Course, that may mean something, or it may not. My first notebook when I decided to be a "writer" was a little Moleskine that took me a  year to fill up. Now, I've gotten faster, but also, more abusive. My last Moleskine was falling apart by the time i got done with it, and that's a major disadvantage. I'm tough on my books, and how long they last is a major determination. That said, the Moleskine is a classic, full of history for me, full of a lot of good times.

The Royal
I found these notebooks a long while ago in my university bookstore, and fell in love with the pretty colors and softness of the leather. They're a limited edition put out by the Victoria and Albert Museum, and are luxurious. Soft calfskin, thick, smooth paper with tiny lines, they're nearly perfect. Not to mention they smell absolutely lovely.

But I feel bad for disrespecting them this way, by dragging the book around everywhere and it getting beat up and nasty. Last time I had one of these was one of the toughest times in my life, but at the same time, one of the good times.

The New Kid
 The Miquelrius was the surprise to me. The mini version I bought 4 years ago finally died when it got washed, but until then, it looked amazing and was holding up great. Because of that, I decided to try out the big version, squared, and I liked it. The lines were small, the gridding was nice a lot of the time, and it has more pages in a smaller package than the typical Moleskine.

But, there's the smell. A polysomething smell that doesn't go away--it doesn't smell like good paper or any of the things we love. It can handle the beating that being in my bag entails, but lately, I haven't felt super inspired to write lately--and make that's just me. These past 9 months, they've been very up and down. Now, I know that notebooks don't determine how things go, but...

The Slight Disappointment 
This is the Paperblank. Taller than a pocket Moleskine, narrower than the Miquelrius, it's a nice size. The paper isn't bad, but the cover has a way of doing strange things as it gets used.
The last one of these corresponds with what I guess I could call my hell year, when things weren't so good, so do I take that into account? Or do I give this book another chance? 

The Unexpected?
I have two beautiful handmade leather journals that I got from M in a trade--she got dishes I made. They're beautiful and smell of the most divine oiled leather. Do I use them?

Final Thoughts...
Writing this, I came to a realization, one that kind of makes me wonder... how does a notebook play into our lives? Does using one or the other have any effect on how things go, or are they just along for the ride; a correlation, not causation?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Happiness is...

...a belly full of soup on a cool spring day.

...getting the job! (My first outside the science sphere.)

...lying on the grass, feeling the chill burn off and the world grow shiny.

...having MnahMnah by the Muppets running through my head.

...happy sighs.

...The thought of creativity.

...Summer on the horizon.

...bright blue toenail polish.

...typewriters on the grass.




and most importantly?

...loving life.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rainy Day II

It's raining again, and hard.

I wonder if this is what it is like in the rainforest, only warmer--right now, it feels more like February than May.

The tree I ran into earlier is back to dripping water--took only a few minutes to recoup the water it dumped onto my head when I ran into it.

I look out the window and see water pooling at the edge of the plastic covering the potted plants on the back porch--they're still fragile from being potted and it's going to get cold tonight.

There's tomato soup and grilled cheese for dinner, and I'm excited. Perfect food for a perfectly rainy day.

Monday, May 16, 2011


My mailbox stands on the opposite side of the street.  I don't know that I've ever gone to get the mail while wearing shoes.  I'm always reminded of the poem, The Young Housewife, by William Carlos Williams, who comes to the curb "shy, uncorseted, tucking in/ stray ends of hair" to summon the ice-man and the fish-man.  I feel like that as I pad along the soft tar lines to the mailbox, in my pajama shorts and wispy hair and bare brown feet and return clutching the mail to my chest, a little exposed, but mostly free.  In summer I go slowly, in the fall I bow my head in the rain.  Spring brings an uncharacteristic mincing step, and in winter I just bolt.  But always shoeless, uncorseted, and free.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lazy Days of Summer

It's my first summer off in I don't know how many years. No formal classes, no job, nothing save for prep for another application cycle.

So what do I do with myself? I plan on writing more, and for the blog, as it I think will be a major help for my applications. I've been wanting to try and get two pieces published for this blog network I read, so I'll be glad for the time to finally sit down and write them. And I think I want to finish my scripts, maybe write another summer novel...

It's going to be strange to not have classes this summer. Everyone keeps telling me I should take a gap year between gradation and going to med school, but the thing is, I have absolutely no clue what I'd do with myself. Like I said--the thought of even a summer off is crazy. I love being busy and having somewhere to go and something to do.

So I'll leave it here for now. Stay tuned, as I think that there is some pretty awesome stuff on the way.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Rainy Day

Summer starts with a series of rainy days.

Not the summer we're used to, for sure.

But, I kind of like it. Makes it feel like the UK, just a bit, makes me miss the people there just a bit less.

I dug worms earlier today, to be used to paint.

And yes, they are real worms, as I just heard her say.

I'm in a bit of a daze, that pre-summer daze where nothing quite seems real.

So is it real? Or is it just a figment of the rain?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Stacks of Books Three Feet High

So I went through my books over this past week (they desperately needed to be repacked in their boxes after having been shuffled through all winter long looking for favorites to bring back to my college apartment).  I stacked them all on the floor of the living room and catalogued them before putting them all back.  I think I threw out a few discs in my back but it was worth it now I don't have to unload a whole box to find what I'm looking for.  My parents were appalled at the sight. 
I covered a six foot by four foot area with stacks of books almost three feet tall, and that doesn't count picture books and the ones scattered around the house.  See,  I have this sneaky system:  if I don't keep all my boxes of books in the same place, my compulsive-anti-pack-rat mother doesn't realize how many there are, precluding her from feeling the itch the throw some out.  She realizes now.  The look on her face was classic horror.  And my dad said that he'd just start checking books out from me rather than the public library.  I think he looks forward to the day I'm gone for good, because between my antique furniture and my books waiting for a less transient home he'll be getting half of his workshop back someday. 
Henry Ward Beecher says that, "Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house."  When my Dad gets his workshop back a house will come into existence where every room has bookshelves and every flat surface has a stack of books on it.  They will line the walls and the halls and the top of the piano.  My children will use them to hold down the corners of their blanket forts and be the floors and walls of their doll houses as they reenact the stories in them.  I can't wait for that house.

Friday, May 6, 2011


I'm proud to be a scientist.

That said, science is mind blowing. And usually in a good way. But then there are those days when your mind feels like mush and all you want to do is curl up with some fiction and ignore anything remotely intellectual. That's where I should be, having been working on this paper for at least 8 hours. But, strangely, I'm not.

9:45 PM
Well, I wasn't when I started this post 4 hours ago. Now I'm nearing the twelve hour mark, and I've still got an essay to write on cooperation and selfish genes.

Sorry for a most uninteresting week, folks. Summer will be here when I push the submit button for this essay, so you can hope for a slight jump in quality...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


So I thought writing all day would be awesome.

I was wrong. I haven't written much, even though about 10,000 words is due by midnight tomorrow. Instead, I played a drag racing game on my phone for a while. And then thought about doing my essays and paper. And thought some more. And then looked through Richard Polt's site looking for new typerwriter fonts. I'm officially in love with the Royal Vogue font. I want one of those machines. Badly. That would make a great present. (hint hint wink wink)

I think that's all I have to say today. My brain is still somewhat fried from finals and trying to not think like the scientist I am. It's difficult.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Frenzy is Over

May 1. The Frenzy is finished and once again, I lack a finished screenplay. But I've got the finish for the one. I know how it ends, know how it will tie into the sequel that I may well write next year. And I know where I'd like things to go for my other script, which is exciting. Well, except for the fact that I don't know exactly where they're going. But that's alright.

This year was a good year for the Frenzy. I really like my scripts, and I think they have potential. That's a happy thing.