On the shelf above my desk, and in the bottom left-hand drawer are old notebooks, some have a few pages left to use, others are full: with the detritus of writing. Several friends and I have this ongoing thing of buying each other notebooks – writers can never have too many notebooks, although I do sometimes wonder – I am still looking for the one that has the start of what I think of as the ‘Alhambra story’.
Some notebooks have had pages ripped out – train times, phone numbers, dead ends – some are too precious to tear, and have pages scored through – tasks completed, stories transferred to the computer…
Sometimes the writing is from the back of the notebook, sometimes it is scrawled across a page diagonally. There is pencil, and felt tip and biro and proper ink, in black-blue-green-purple.
An example: Spiral bound, pink hardboard covers decorated with cartoon pigs (shh, it;s what’s inside that counts), lots of pages missing.
From the front: email addresses for publishers, a note to call the doctor, some ancient notes from work.
Some angry comments about kettle drums while I waited for someone who was late for a meeting, a doodled eye and design for a kelim, and the ambiguous now forgotten meaning of: collaboration/ child solider/ gangs/ invisibility. – must write that at some point, whatever it was.
A to do list, all crossed through.
More crossings out.
A different version of a story now complete.
Notes from workshops and seminars (multiple colours, more doodles).
Some calculations – something to do with computers because there are gigabytes mentioned, phone numbers for bookshops in Bristol and Bath.
Embryonic notes for converting a story to an opera, still to do.
From the back and consequently upside-down, in pencil, the start of a story about a string trio hired for a corporate party. If I’d had any sense I wouldn’t have taken up the cello…
The keywords for a writing exercise: fat woman, dainty eating, heartbreak, secret, far to go.
Notes for a newsletter not yet done, thick black lines around in a futile attempt to attract my attention – sometimes it feels like the notebook is yelling at me, you’ve not done this yet!
and a plaintive question – where is the Alhambra story?
© Cherry Potts 2013