holy crap i have so many notebooks ALSO pls read this excerpt from Thursday's essay
I love my lil notebooks, my archives, my SCRIBBLES
wowowowowow so excited for Thursday!! The hype!!! The anticipation!!! the FEELINGS
RAG OF A MAG RAZZMATAZZZ MAGIC
I've thrown so many notebooks away. Or gone back and torn out the handful of pages that I actually filled so that I could repurpose it for my new and definitely better system of note taking that will absolutely persist into perpetuity. And then I've gone through like seven or eight hundred different digital note-taking paradigms.
They all work. None of them work. I really like your insight that the point isn't really to save the ideas as to persuade your brain that the ideas themselves are worth paying attention to. Worth having. Worth sometimes using somehow. Writing a thing down is like giving your brain a pat on the wrinkles and saying, "Good brain. Good. Keep doing that."
The other thing that excessive note-taking does is help me fight the war against the feeling I've had since I was young, that I've never been able to fully and completely shake off, that creativity is somehow a scarce resource. That I have to conserve it, somehow. That I better not waste any of my handful of beautiful, glowing, golden ideas because one day there just won't be anymore. Or something.
Which is bullshit, of course. If I try to use up whatever creative juice I have in a given day, I'll end up with more tomorrow. Creativity is an abundant, self-regenerative resource.
Thus: 150 notebooks of chaotic note taking.
You're a geyser, my friend.
I was already non-ironically planning to go out to purchase a new notebook laster today! Yes, I have other, pretty unused notebooks, and yes, I also have a bunch of already started notebooks with only a few pages already used. But there's something about a BRAND NEW NOTEBOOK that makes my heart happy. Should I deny my heart? NO! The answer is no.
I did read Jillian's article and it was tops!
Have you read the children’s book What do you do with an idea? If not, you should get it for you and s as also for Wilder 😌I can relate to bring a chaos muppet. The idea of someone reading my journals is a little frightening. My journals are seeds of ideas but also morning pages and lots of feelings. I think I might want to have a bonfire with them at some point.
my life feels like a big ole mess right now and after reading this i'm convincing myself that writing in notebooks will solve everything.
I am sort of obsessed with the topic of "notebooks" (sure, they are not called journals if you have a certain anatomy lol). I have tubs of journals labled K's Journals that sit in the basement and broke a few years ago in a single week, like all the stories trapped in those "notebooks" were trying to get out. I am also the worst kind of muppet - a chaos muppet who thinks she's an order muppet (nodding to When Harry Met Sally: "You're the worst kind: a high-maintenance person who thinks she's low-maintenance..." or whatever that line is). Gonna get squishy here: I am also trying to make peace with the part of me that used to quote Leo unironically. (In my case, I have a note from childhood putting down "Die Hard" as a movie I *must* see to complete my critical education.) Your writing brings me a lot of joy - other things that do that are statues of St. Francis and Brussels sprouts, so you are in good company.
1. Yes so dope!!
2. Dope a dope!!
3. I have four different notebooks going all the time like a Doris Lessing character!
4. They have not gotten away they are merely unmanifested.
5. I have not become jaded because...wow what a good question that is? Is this something one can consciously control? People say they are trying not to become jaded but what does that really consist of?
6. I’m at the salon getting my hair bleached out!!! Yippee!!!
Also, some of those questions aren't for me because obviously I read Jillian's piece and I read Situation Normal (well, I read it before it goes live, but it's not like I read it for shits & giggles), and you know my note-taking style. BUT! I do have an idea that keeps getting away. It's a store that sells socks, just socks. It's called Socks to Be You. On one level, it's kind of negative because it sounds like sucks to be you, but the vibe actually operates on a more literal, less ironic level, where you're literally getting Socks. To Be You! That's it. That's the idea that keeps getting away from me. I probably won't go into the sock game, but if there are some BATheads out there who want to sell socks, PLEASE use that name so I can promo your store, and buy all my socks there.
You didn't mention in your Oct 2022 post (essay?) (that I just read cuz I'm a newbie subscriber) about your Prius dying feet from your driveway that you live on a street slightly less steep (steepless?) than the 9th steepest in the country, in Echo Park (along with Silver Lake the backdrop depicting hipster LA in every indie movie ever made). New found respect for Moshjesus who helped you push it. Bet he has some guns. I am too cheap for the paywall (so many Substacks, so little time) but too proud to beg, so thank you for the preview and I'll look forward to the next free essay (post?).
3) I’ve been keeping a journal since the 5th grade- really interesting stuff, too. Country music lyrics, stuff about how evil and stupid my mom is (she isn’t, really), pages of how I was going to spend my allowance money (on teen magazines with posters of Hanson in them). Really riveting stuff.
But then in my 20’s during a quarter life crisis I went backpacking for 14 months and kept journals then, too. And eventually I tried writing a book (still in process!) and suddenly all those journals came in really handy and now that I’m at the ripe old age of almost 36, I’m so grateful I have decades of notes from my life because I literally cannot remember like what I did yesterday.
Glad I’m not alone in the obsessive note keeper club, Alex!
Alex, I'm so pumped for the personal paywall stuff! I know you're probably nervous right now, and let's be honest, that's a good sign. But the BAT community is excited, and we'll be there Thursday behind the paywall ready to cheer you on.
Dang, why didn’t I start a green tub too? Now my biographer will have to dig through lots of different boxes and then probably leave out something really brilliant when they miss one box!
Do you have a favorite pen? My handwriting absolutely reaches a peak performance level with PILOT Precise P-500 Gel Ink Rolling Ball Stick Pens.
My latest brilliant move: I put my sci-fi anthology up for free on Amazon for five straight days. Just because.
P.S. Your writing is stellar!
Oh Alex, I love reading your stuff! And yes, I feel your hope and your creativity still boiling, roiling, surging. You still make me cry; but I can’t figure out if it’s my hope or my regret in not writing everything down as it happened. It’s not a painful response, more a reconnection to self which I imagine or maybe you’ve already said, that you’re aiming for....
I used to write in my journal, just for me and recently I’ve started again. So hope is not lost.
Thanks for sharing yourself and your process, Alex.
I haven’t read the other links yet but I will.
Congrats to you and Michael on the well-deserved spotlight! I have too many old notebooks and I only look through them when I’m moving. As much as I love pop culture nostalgia, I find personal nostalgia kinda painful in a cringey way.