A Notepad

I’ve had this notepad for about four years now; I bought it in a 100 yen shop in Tokyo – the equivalent of a dollar store there. It’s small, just about pocket-sized, that is, if you bend it slightly in the middle, if you’re wearing the right kind of pants. It’s an old school notepad, spiral rings and all, perfectly shaped to clip a pen inside, as I always did.

I enjoyed the idea of having the notepad around. At first, I used it almost exclusively for jokes. It was in these pages that I eventually developed a stand-up routine for my first – and only – open-mic night. After that though, when I did not quite find the spark that would inspire a career in that direction, I used the notepad for more varied purposes.

I was always careful never to have anything remotely resembling work inside these pages. I kept track of vacation expenses, jotted down hike details. I developed an outline for a screenplay that I have yet to write. Mostly though, as you might imagine, I wrote for my blog. Indeed, about 90 percent of my posts originated in these pages.

The writing would appear like chicken scratch for most. They were a jumble of thoughts, usually comprising four or five pages, full of cross-outs and corrections and appended arrows and all. The thought was never quite complete; rather, after I got to a certain point (physically or psychologically), I would need to move the process to digital form.

It was in this manner that I used the notepad, jumpstarting the first few paragraphs of what eventually became a blogpost. I’d tear out the pages after I was done typing them up, a catharsis of sorts. It was in this manner that the notepad shrunk, leaving now only its neon green front and back covers, a couple of waxed pages, and this – the final lined page.

It feels the end of an era, my reference guide soon gone not only for this post but forever more, at least in this familiar form. My pen will feel naked without its spiral blanket. The whole thing is, not quite emotional, but contemplative. It is an affirmation that time, and hopefully progress, continues a steady march forward.

It kind of seems appropriate though. The notepad has come and gone with me everywhere the past few years, and it comes to a rest here – at the Chopin Airport in Warsaw as I sit past midnight, in the midst of a three-hour delay for a connecting flight. Were it not for the fatigue, I would say they were prime writing conditions. Perhaps they are regardless.

I’ll board my plane soon enough, arrive at my destination, check into my hotel. Then I’ll head out to the streets. And as soon as I do that, I’ll be keeping an eye out for my next notepad, my next vessel. I look forward to seeing where that one takes me.

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