I am odd. Or maybe not. Or maybe I’m odd for reasons entirely unrelated to what I am writing about today. I’ll leave that discussion for others to have.
As you all know, I’m a writer. I write. I don’t claim to be a Writer (capital W) like some heavily paid novelist. But from age 24 to about age 41, I was a professional technical writer. Got paid to show up every day and put words into a computer. People all over the world read those words – some of them, to not be hurt or killed on the job. Others, to figure out how to get started with their new laptop computers. It’s not glamorous work, but it pays well.
I’ve also written freelance stuff for a newspaper that no longer exists, and I consider myself some kind of humorist, at least at times, with this 11+ year old website. It isn’t a paying gig, but I like it. (Don’t you think I’d be writing more often if it were paying? I do.)
So with that background in mind, I can tell you that over the years, I have purchased probably every kind of notebook ever made. I’m kind of an addict. And the ones I like the best are the ones with thin-ish paper that makes a rustling kind of noise after you’ve written on it. Not exactly like the old air mail paper (does anyone but me remember that? It was super-thin so that it wouldn’t weigh down the envelope and cost more to mail) but not far off. I like thin paper.
So I got a new notebook out of the supply closet at work when I started a new project (because the notebook I’d bought at Staples was really nice, except for the thick paper). I love it. Perfect paper thickness. The ink from my fountain pen doesn’t bleed all over the place.
It smells like it came from my grandmother’s barn. (She didn’t own the barn, she rented an apartment in a multi-family house that happened to have a big (HUGE) barn behind it.) The house no longer exists as it did when she lived there, and the barn is long gone. But when I was about 10 I went in there with older boy cousins I had never met before (because they lived in Mississippi and had come up for my grandfather’s funeral) because you cannot keep a teenage boy out of a giant old mysterious barn. We found some glorious old stuff – in one workroom the calendar on the wall was literally from the 1950s. It was as if the owner had turned off the lights one night and had just never gone back in. To be honest, I’m surprised none of us fell through a floor or needed a tetanus shot after that experience. Knowing me, I probably spent the entire time saying “We shouldn’t be in here! This is dangerous!” whether it was or not.
Anyway, the one thing I still remember from that day (other than the funeral) was the smell. An old abandoned barn can really get quite a stink up. God knows anyone with a dust, mold or mildew allergy would have had to be hospitalized.
My new notebook with the perfect paper smells like it was stored in that barn. I’m so incredibly torn – I want to keep using it, but it stinks! I guess I’ll just keep using it until I can’t stand it any more. Or until I notice people wrinkling their noses when I walk into a meeting. Darn you, notebook supply company! Why did you do this to me?