Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A New Blue Notebook and Empty White Pages

Yesterday, I bought myself a new, blue, spiral bound notebook. I use these at my computer to make notes an write down quotes that resonate with me for whatever reason in that moment. Sometimes these notes become subjects for a blog post, other times they languish and get put on the back burner. I have a few of these notebooks in a variety of sizes and colors. Nothing like a fresh notebook of empty white pages ready to be filled with new ideas.

Most mornings, I open a book of poetry. It might be a particular poem I'd been meaning to take another look at, or a certain poet with whom I wanted to become more familiar. Sometimes it's random. I just take one from the shelf, open it up and see what it has to say to me. This morning, it was a book of poetry compiled by Garrison Keillor from his public radio show, The Writer's Almanac. It's titled, Good Poems for Hard Times. I opened it to a poem by Ted Kooser. Ted is sort of the poet's everyman. He was an insurance agent in Nebraska for most of his life who went on to become the Poet Laureate of The United States. This is the poem:

"The Spiral Notebook"

The bright wire rolls like a porpoise
in and out of the calm blue sea
of the cover, or perhaps like a sleeper
twisting in and out of his dreams,
for it could hold a record of dreams
if you wanted to buy it for that,
though it seems to be meant for
more serious work, with its
college-ruled lines and its cover
that states in emphatic white letters,
a part of growing old is no longer
to have five subjects, each
demanding an equal share of attention,
set apart by brown cardboard dividers,
but instead to stand in a drugstore
and hang on to one subject
a little too long, like this notebook
you weigh in your hands, passing
your fingers over its surfaces
as if it were some kind of wonder.

~ Ted Kooser

Well, I may have been hanging onto one subject a little too long yesterday and so, today, here was this message encouraging me to let go and remember again the empty white pages that await, ready to begin again.

Here are my first few entries in my new, blue notebook. You might notice a theme emerged. It's a lesson I'm still learning, apparently. I'm also learning to embrace it wholeheartedly.

Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous - to poetry.
~ Thomas Mann

Without great solitude no serious work is possible.
~ Pablo Picasso 

You need not leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. You need not even listen, simply wait, just learn to become quiet, and still, and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.
~ Franz Kafka


  1. Serendipity...a new notebook, and you open to a poem about it. Love it. I have a tiny little notepad I carry, the rest is a pile of paper scraps, napkins, etc. with jottings. Sigh. One of these days I'll get organized.

  2. Oh the joy of a new notebook. Yup ~ I totally get that. :)
    Hope you are having a lovely week Teresa!
    xo Catherine

  3. I too use a notebook. It really feels good to write things down, and even doodle at times. Typing isn't the same. Cool how you opened to the Spiral Notebook.
    I very much enjoy your blog.

    ~peace and love

  4. That's a wonderful poem, and it was very synchronous to find that poem! Thanks for the quotes, they are all ones it would be good to keep in mind...

  5. Yes, I need to start reading more. Teresa, thank you always for the visit and kind words in my blog...God bless you.

  6. I love all three of those quotes; I keep a notebook and now have several lying about. I have an old gardening journal; I may just have to dig it out and see what's in there. It seems things do happen for reasons.

  7. Thanks, Everyone, for your comments. They are greatly appreciated.

  8. I love a new notebook--so full of possibilities!

    I also love that book--it's one of my favorites!

  9. I have 2 sizes, one for notes and another for poetry and brilliant ideas to use later.It is funto look over the old and new.One became a gardenlog and I laughed at the torn pages how many plants I have grown and tried.It is funny when you said Garrisons collection that I read the verse in his voice.

  10. I have several notebooks, one to record the different passwords for the various websites I use. Your conclusion is most beautiful. I breath in and out and look out my study window to dripping icicles and warm sunshine....finally.

  11. It's a great collection of poems, as is his first Good Poems collection. Always something to ponder or just quietly sit with.

    Garrison's voice is very distinctive, isn't it?

    And, yes, the days of sunshine and dripping icicles are very welcome.

  12. God. Kafka..."roll in ecstasy at your feet." "Simply wait". So glad your notebook's new bits of beauty worked their way to us. I too believe there is much to learn in solitude and silence. Aligning available time with adequate patience to arrive at original sure can be challenging. : ) But worth it.

  13. Isn't that a great quote, Chris?

    Definitely worth it.


    Big hug.

  14. I'm a big fan of The Writer's Almanac...and Garrison Keillor. I'll have to get that book.

    I love notebooks, too.

    Here's one of my favorites: "Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits. " Satchel Paige

  15. Cheryl, Notebooks are full of promise, that ideas are waiting to be born. I Love 'em. Wise words from Satchel.