“Find a notebook small enough to slide into your shirt pocket, or your back pocket, the pocket on your jeans; small enough to lose in the depths of your purse or slip in a tiny purse next to your ID and credit card when you go out dancing. It works best if it can be there, with you, when you don’t know it’s there.
This notebook might cost 79 cents out of a bin. You could lift it from a hotel lobby or bedside, where housekeeping arranged it near the phone. Maybe on a flush day you’ll spend $4.95 or even $8 at the art museum so your notebook can sport a yellow-toned reproduction of van Gogh with his bandaged ear or one of Toulouse-Lautrec’s dancers kicking up a heel.
It’s all the same. That’s the cover.
What matters is that it has paper inside, and you’ve already scored a pen. Feel the cover between your index finger and your thumb. Open your notebook. Uncap your pen.
My father grew up on Portland’s Eastside, in a part of town some call Felony Flats. His mother, my grandmother, said there was a time when she and her husband used to cook over ‘a hole in the ground where steam came out.’ I don’t know what that hole in the ground was. I don’t know what kind of steam she cooked over, or why they didn’t build a fire, but from the sound of everything, my father’s parents were broke and young.
My father, Albert Drake, a.k.a. Bud Drake, started writing things down as soon as he could write. Nobody around him was even reading much. He’d keep a tiny notebook, write down what he had for lunch. Maybe on a fanciful day he’d write down what he dreamed of for Christmas.
When I was a kid, on a walk in the woods with my dad, if we’d see something, I’d look to see if he’d pull a notebook from his shirt pocket and write a note. Sometimes I’d ask, ‘Aren’t you going to write that down?’”
Portland author Monica Drake is guest-blogging at Powells.com all week. Read more here: http://powells.us/12jMatC