Monday, 7 October 2013

Going by the book.

September 2013

"This is your timetable for the first semester. I suggest you take notes."

I already had notebook and pen at the ready; having trained many years ago as a journalist, scribbling reminders using a pen and paper is second nature to me.

Virtually everyone else reached for their phones.

Two young women (are they women at 18 or still girls?) are so attached to their phones that I don't think I have yet to see them put them down. They appear to be permanently attached to a hand. In years to come, will generations evolve to having a third hand into which a phone can fit snugly?

(I bought a Blackberry earlier this year; it's pretty crap but it suits my purposes. And yes, it's an old-style Blackberry. My husband announced that I had bought a Tardis and gone back in time to buy a phone. My older son sniggers when I produce it for use - for the occasional text or email. Writing notes on it is anathema to me.)

Inspired by the project brief, I took to scribbling notes this weekend in one of my many little books. I think it was comedian Sarah Millican who I read having said that she had hundreds of notebooks - all blank, as she couldn't bear to write in them. These aren't just bog-standard supermarket spiral-bound books - each is unique, and chosen for its style, cover, bindings etc. Today you can get notebooks with little pockets in the back for bits and pieces! I have a Moleskin diary which I love and really don't know how I managed to cope without one in the past.

I must have in the region of 50 such notebooks. Some have sketches, notes, ideas, cuttings from magazines. Many are still blank and awaiting an inky introduction. I have even been known to tear the previous scribbled pages out of notebooks and start again; but even these pages are not discarded and are kept in a drawer, not forgotten, but not sorted either. I have little books in a box from the 1970s and 1980s - I would carry one around with me and write poems about my friends in them. Friends who I have long since lost touch with also wrote in my little books, so they are a nostalgic treasure from the past.

So now at university, I can wallow in my joy of note-taking and notebook-obsessiveness. The course hasn't even started and I already have three on the go - one for timetable and finances; one for sketches; and one for notes.

Oh, and just to finish - this is what one friend. Becky, wrote when I posted on Facebook that I had started my degree:

"Now you're going to be a student, label all the the things in the fridge that are yours, cook for yourself but no-one else, only tidy your own things, occasionally nick someone else's milk, marge, teabags, and go by the mantra of my ex-housemate 'I don't use the floor so I'm not cleaning it, I don't use the plates so I'm not cleaning them'."

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