I have wanted to take writing on the road for a while since I really only do it on my laptop. And when I thought about having to carry it around, the laptop, it was not appealing. I did not have a bag for it. The track pad on this thing craps out daily (luckily it is a touch screen too). So many things that I didn’t like. I decided to see what folks online thought about how to take your writing on the road. Was there a great device that I could use for this purpose? The consensus was that paper was the best. You could lug it around anywhere. No electricity needed. I was not feeling it.
Despite this, we went out to Fisher (the best office supply place in my book) to see if I could find something that would match the thing that I thought I wanted to write in. We walked all over. After going through the entire store (more or less) I came upon these giant hard bound calendar books. They were in varying sizes. I wanted the largest one. These were the 2018 year versions and they were on sale for 40% off. The largest one was really large, like 14 inches long and each page is a day. That means that there are lots of lines. Lots and lots of lines for my messy writing (but not serial killer writing which is totally a thing that my co-worker self-admittedly has). The problem was that this sized one was marked $84. I kid you not. Who pays that?
I thought that despite the deep discount that it would still be too much for me. Then I wondered if maybe they had 2017 versions lying about. I asked. I was directed to an aisle. And there they were. Exactly the same except for this year. And still marked $84. I had a small glimmer of hope that maybe it would be cheaper. I took it to the counter and it turned out to be $8. Sold! I brought home this giant bulky book. The same weekend I re-upped my membership at the Honolulu Museum of Art (formerly and still called the Academy). I really wanted somewhere quiet. Outside and inspirational to write. The Academy has proven to fit the bill. There is a small courtyard with a fountain. It has lovely tiled walls. A tree full of birds. And if there are other people visiting, I generally can’t hear them over the gurgling of the fountain. I like to be there right before they close at five. There is no one there. The birds start to come down out of the tree to bathe in the narrow runway of water that flows from one fountain to the next. One part of the fountain shuts off at 4:00 and the courtyard gets decidedly quieter. Maybe that is why the birds don’t come till then to bathe.
At first I was unsure of this purchase. This giant red book. With days and days that have mostly passed in it. There is something appealing to me about that. Once, at an airport, I bought an address book and used that to write in. Selecting randomly tabbed letters where people’s contact information should go. Random writing. That is what this calendar book reminds me of.
When I took it to the Academy the first time, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. It felt awkward in my hands. I was not sure where I wanted to sit. It felt really big and really red. I wandered about. I looked at stuff. And then I ended up in the courtyard and that is where I still go.
At first the writing came slowly. I really want to write a bunch of short stories. I have ideas. But I always seem to fail in the execution. And I really, really hate writing dialogue. But I kept at it. And the book is not just for writing. There are bits of its travels. A small flower found on my car when I went to leave the museum. Parts from the Evensong program from church. Information on the band playing at Family Sunday (Jamarek – check them out). The sticker that they give you when you enter the museum.
And I have been writing this story. And it is not fast. And I do not write tons. But it is coming along. And the book. It calls me. I can hear it now. Because I know what to write next. And it is in my head and it needs to get out. And that is what I like about how I am writing now. It is always there. Looping around my brain like wisps of smoke. Like an addiction. That is when I know it is good. It is right. What I am doing. And the process. I can feel it inside of me. So maybe it is not the book. It is the story. And I love it.