Tuesday, November 13, 2007

They're Handy Dandy. And Cheap.

(you didn't really think I was going to leave a Tuesday post so bare, did you? after all the preaching I did...no way. at least, not until much later in the month. *ahem* truth be told, a big part of me really didn't want to come back and sit here tonight, but a bigger part of me was pretty sure that I was going to, anyway. I put up those words before I left for darts, just in case I caved...so that I'd still be officially in the race, but open to non-stop abuse for treating one of the thirty days with such a cavalier attitude. also...I don't think I've ever put up two posts in one day on my blog. so here's to making history 'n shit.)

On my drive back from dart league tonight, I was trying to come up with a clever way to start this topic, and not only did I not keep running into a brick wall, I never even took a step. Therefore, I'm just going to blurt it out:

I've got wayyy too many notebooks.
(Does that really make you want to keep reading? Didn't think so.)

I've got this rather unhealthy obsession with school supplies, and I'm not exactly sure why. I haven't been in school in...eeesh, a long time. I don't have any kids in school. But every year when the back-to-school sales come out, I find myself drooling over pens and pencils and rulers and Sharpies and...it's terrible.

For instance: if you're not regularly using a roller ball or gel pen, I might look at you with a puzzled expression and wonder aloud how you've managed to exist for the past decade or more, plodding along with your snail-slow ball point pen.

I've heard writers talk before about how easy it is to start writing. "All you need is a notebook and a fast-writing pen," they say. I know what they mean when they speak of fast-writing pens. I'm obsessed with finding the perfect fast-writing pen. And yet...pens don't even factor too heavily into the equation, because I do 98 percent of my writing with a keyboard. (which I'm also obsessed with, by the way...when you really get rolling on something good, the clacking sound of the keys is like a drug.)

Back to the notebooks. Every back-to-school season for the past several years, ShopKo (uh...that's like a Target, for those of you who just said, "WhatKo??") has spiral notebooks on sale for ten cents each. One..thin..dime.

A dime is something you accidentally drop and don't bother to pick up if it's going to take an inordinate amount of bending or twisting or reaching to retrieve it. A dime is not something you trade for 70 glorious sheets of lined paper, conveniently held together by a spiral binding!

Is it?
Ohhh, yes it is.

To say that I'm well-stocked with notebooks is a rather gross understatement. I could probably start writing a dozen "War and Peace"s longhand and still have enough notebook paper left over to write four Bibles, all the study materials for the Bar exam and three unabridged dictionaries.

And yet...when I see the big ten-cent sale on the front page of ShopKo's ad, I inevitably find myself trolling around those big stacks of cheap notebooks. In years past some of them even had the neat-and-tidy micro-perfed pages. Score!!

This year, believe it or not, I didn't buy any at all. No...they had an off brand this year, and as I flipped through them, I thought to myself, "These aren't Mead, and look...the lines on many of the pages are kinda faded and some of the spirals are a little bent, and..."

Seriously. These were the thoughts running through my head. Not the fact that I have about sixty or seventy of them at home that aren't being used, but instead that the ones they were offering this year weren't worth a dime!

I've got issues. I've also got a lot of notebooks. And I know it's still several months away, but I'll probably be back scanning the selection next year, too.

Meanwhile, if anybody needs a notebook, you can have one of mine.

For fourteen cents.

"Organized crime in America takes in
over $40 billion a year and spends
very little on office supplies."
—Woody Allen


  1. Ode to a notebook! Congratulations. I didn't think it was possible to be entertained by an article about notebook shopping.

    By the way, Grafton has a Shopko. But Milwaukee does not.

    "Say hello to a good buy, at Shopko."

    10 cents sounds like a good buy to me.

  2. Dude, seriously, we were separated at birth...

    Everytime I embark on a new writing project, normally scripts, my first impulse is to haul ass over to Walgreens and hit the paper aisle. New pens, red for corrections, blue for content notes in the margins, probably a legal pad or two, definitely a composition notebook, and probably some loose leaf paper to shove in a three ring binder.

    My wife merely shakes her head in disgust and says, "you have tons of that stuff at the house already!" to which I reply, "yeah, but that was for the last screenplay."

    It's pretty sicko. I dunno' if I'm afraid of jinxing the new project using aged (barely) paper or if it's a genre thing... "No, that paper was for a comedy but now I'm writing a thriller, see...

    Now, tragically, it's branched out in the worst possible way. I'm doing a hand drawn cartoon. The paper and pencil/pen quota on that is beyond endless. Hitting the art supply store is nearly orgasmic for paper-product addicts like us.

  3. This made my cork pop. Well, it would've if I had the right equipment.

    I too have tons of paper, although in many different forms. This one will be for short stories. This one will be my journal! This one will be for poetry and this one will be for brainstorming. This one? Erotic poetry.

    They all become either a shopping list (for things I never buy because I always forget the list) or a To-Do list (for things I never do because doing things in Korea is way more complicated than doing things at home.)

    I suck.

  4. Jeff...OfficeMax = Heaven! I understood your list all too well.

    Question: If you have a composition notebook, and a legal pad, and probably a couple other notebooks, too...then why do you also need looseleaf paper in a three-ring binder?

    Answer: Because!!

    (thing is...I already knew the answer, so I wouldn't have even asked the question. as you were reaching for the looseleaf, I'd be like, "yep, gotta have some of that, too!" while scanning the shelves for even more cool stuff.)

    JJ...You should send me some of your poetry. (I'll let you decide from which notebook.)

    And if you can't bring yourself to do that, then send me a To-Do list.