Laborous Day / Notebooks Day

D. and I made a flying trip out of the city last Friday to visit the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, which was lovely. If I ever get around to it, I'll post a couple pics. Suffice it to say, there was much sand hiking and Denny's breakfast and good times were had by both.

I had a couple of pre-trip surprises, however, not the least of which was the opportunity to teach an evening composition course at St. Augustine College. I start teaching tomorrow night! It's of the fly-by-seat-of-pants variety, as most adjuncting is, I have gathered. But it promises to be a challenging experience which should help me to better discern whether teaching should be a focus for me. The other surprise is still couched in maybeville, so I won't divulge just yet. But keep your fingers crossed.


Careerism aside, I've been thinking about something that always strikes me when I go on trips: the wavering, yet constant role of the notebook. I've been scribbling in notebooks since I was 12, when I discovered that the surest way to get people's attention was to make them believe that I held some kind of priviledged information, secret wisdom, the key to all mythologies, and/or really bitching doodles. Actually, at that stage, I was much more interested in letting my genius be known to teachers, in hopes that they would :facepalm: and say, WHY, for the love of GOD, are you still here? Why haven't we sent you to COLLEGE yet? Yet, as surely as this never happened, I found that I really enjoyed the scribbling. Instead of the sad looking loner scanning the dancefloor, I was the sad looking loner scanning the dancefloor, pen in hand. What a change in status! I found I had the power to anger, surprise, entertain, witness, rant, lament, joke, experiment. It didn't matter so much what I wrote then, as did the fact that I was writing and enjoying it. I would have little races with myself to see how quickly I could fill up a composition notebook. When I'd filled a dozen or so, I would surround myself with them, flip back through them until the binding would loose and the outer edges of the pages were soiled with hand grease.

The materiality of the book was, and still is, a joy. Anything to make such a solitary occupation as writing the least bit physical, the private made safely, ceremoniously public. It gives these things an air of legitimacy. But, it's become much more a compositional aid than a sandwich board proclaiming I WRITER! NO PAY HEED YR BOURGEOIS PREOCCUPATIONS! (And would that even fit on a sandwich board? Isn't a sandwich board a definite appeal to bourgeois preoccupations? No matter.) The thumbing back through, less a means of basking and more a means of weeding and plucking. There's something about scribbles - probably that it takes more attention to turn a page and read handwriting than to click 'n' scroll, but probably more than that, as well. As simple as it is to copy/paste on a computer, I rarely make patchwork poems or reconfigure weaker ones unless they're things I've hand-written. And it's not as though I'm not comfortable enough with my computer to do most of my writing there - I do, unashamedly so. Perhaps the idea of producing abstraction on a screen representing a sheet of paper feels a bit redundant.


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