A freshly sharpened yellow pencil tickles my fancy. I keep jars and cups and pitchers overflowing with pencils in almost every room of the house. Mia taught me this. I returned home from consecutive weekends of writing retreats and smiled and the symbolic gift she left on my desk. A mother’s encouragement, she sharpened my supply filling an old Waterford highball glass with golden number 2s pointed like a trusted hound dog at the ready.
My affinity for pencils extends generally to all office-type supplies and paper goods. Notebooks, colored pencils, fresh binders, books with un-tattered pages, still free from underlines and annotations my tools will alter.
But, there is one bold exception to my love of new supplies.
Daily, I scribble common thoughts in an ordinary notebook. A Mead five-subject, college ruled spiral notebook. I buy them three at a time at my local grocery store—the expense tucked between necessities like toilet paper and orange juice. Years ago, I tried fancier versions to house my thoughts. Once I had and expensive leather bound journal that tied shut with a long red cord and ample supply of thick luscious paper starving to be filled with wet, black ink. But, it was unlined and I need margins. My chicken scratches marked in pencil drowned in the depths of the porous paper.
For a while I was quite fond of Clairefontaine cahiers. At the time of my French induced infatuation, the tiny grid paper notebooks were rare imports, making them a luxurious and impractical place to house my humble words. It took me weeks to notice my formed changed to mere doodles of capriciously colored in millimeter sized boxes. So I abandoned the cahier for more fitting real estate.
Transitioning from one journal to the next is bittersweet. An odd thing to be quirky about, I admit. On the scale of melancholy, leaving a journal filled with familiar for the wide open spaces of the next falls low in the rankings compared to breaking in a new Bible. That, my friends, may require intervention. I can’t even think about the day my tattered, marked up, dog-eared, margin filled Bible will retire.
Depending on my verbosity, I suspect my pencil will hit a dead end this week. I pulled new journals off the shelf this morning. Unscripted story awaits. I should be eager to start a fresh, but I cling to the old—my words, my prayers, my daily offerings.
Now for the really hard part . . . purple or green? You choose.