I have a rather silly dilemma: writing on notebooks does not come naturally anymore. I took home this pretty leather-bound journal from a work event last Thursday, and its pages are stained, good-smelling, and unlined to sublime goodness. I geek out on pretty things like that. Since I got it I’ve been constantly opening it to the first blank page, ready to pencil in the first random thought that comes into my head. But no random, mala-tumblr thought comes.
As in wala. Nakakafrustrate siya. Para siyang guwapong boyfriend na mabango at masarap hawakan, pero di mo makausap ng matino, kasi hindi mo kayang dungisan ng kung ano-anong insecurities yung kagwapuhan niya.
I’ve been a “doodler” and “scrawler” for as long as I can remember. It started with our walls, some crayons lying around, and me fascinated with the vertical-horizontal crisscrosses involved with writing the number 4, in various type sizes. Then I learned to hold a pen and started vandalizing my tita’s MOD issues and our Sesame Street alphabet books. Then in school my notebooks would be filled up by drawings of Sailor Moon before they’d get actual class notes (imagine my teachers’ dismay when we’d have to pass our notebooks – they CHECK if we copy notes! – and all they see are drawings). I also wrote on desks, my hands, on my clothes. On single sheets of bond paper and oslo paper. Sketchbooks. More magazine pages. More walls.
I didn’t hate blank, white, glaringly empty pages – I just enjoyed getting busy with writing and drawing all the time. Notebooks and books where the first and most constant things I could “possess” and call my own, so I was always giddy with personalizing and decorating and using them so they would be mine and mine alone.
Writing in a diary was an almost daily ritual. In fifth grade, it was essential because where else would I vent how angry I was at Mama for not allowing me to go to the mall after exams? In high school, it was how I practiced the sort of things I’d say when I’m “free” and when “I can get to do whatever I want.” In college, writing to myself was my way of justifying all the various things I did – explaining and explaining and explaining. And then gradually it just became something really relaxing and great to do – It was how I started writing of stories and dreams and other sorts of fictionable lovely things. I consider those early mornings, free-writing until the rest of the world wakes up, as times when I was most comfortable and happiest.
In my current working-girl state, I write ALL THE TIME. I write while I eat. I write in my sleep. I write in my head while the jeep takes me up to Antipolo. But I don’t do it in notebooks, I don’t do it for my personal consumption. I do it on my laptop, on the computer, in copies that jar you incessantly on the fiercest and most stylish channel ever. I still wake up early and sleep late but I spend hours editing pictures, lurking on Facebook, and trying to build up my reputation as a vain, bargain-loving chic. My world is exactly as noisy as I had always envisioned and designed it to be, but it’s filled to the brim. It pushes any moment of personal reflection and musing into outer space.
When I try to sit down and face a blank page again, I… uh, blank out. I don’t know where to start. First: why do I have to use up this page? Then: what do I have to write about? And then: I have three more reviews to write. It’s hard. Every now and then I pick up a pretty little bound volume and I say, this is where I’ll start, but when I pause to look at what I write down, it’s garbage. spam thoughts. weird and insecure. and darn that handwriting!
Maybe in retrospect of my retrospect, I’ve just been romanticizing my recollection of these writing “moments.” And I think I’ve already come to terms most of with the identity and companionship issues that I’ve had growing up. All I really want these days is to make enough money to fly to Paris on a whim. But right now, too, these notebooks are just to pretty to leave lying around. And I really want to get my Chabon on and write something on long form again. So scrawl and scrawl I will until the habit comes naturally again. I need these sort of little things in my life.