The Notebook Diaries: #1 Giving it away

Posted: June 11, 2010 in Writing

I gave him the notebook last night. I didn’t think about how I’d feel till I was on the train, and I felt its absence gnawing a hole in my bag. I tried to remember everything I had written, to get it back, but I couldn’t.

When I wrote in it, I knew I was going to pass it to him first, so some of my words were aimed directly or indirectly at him. But that was before I’d met ‘him’, so really they were aimed at an imaginary figure in my head. I suppose all writing is aimed at an imaginary figure: the ‘you’ that we speak to when we write is both general and particular, real and made-up.

After I said goodbye I wondered when he would  start to read. Maybe when he was still on the tube. I would have if it was me; I never did have any patience. I imagined the other passengers idly glancing over as he took the book out of his bag and began to explore the contents.

It feels like an exciting thing to do; ‘romance is analogue’, and analogue is romantic. I find it hard to let go, but I know there is a freedom to be had in giving something away; passing the burden of responsibility onto someone else for a while. I don’t have to tell you my innermost thoughts; they are hidden away in a notebook, travelling around the city in somebody else’s bag. It is his turn now. I wonder what he is going to write?

  1. I know this may sound odd, but I am finding the fact of having given away my notebook with my secrets in quite hard! I wonder if the others will find it equally difficult to let go and give it back to me! There is something to do with trust here. Good lord is this what being a writer is like?

  2. There is a fascinating conversation going on at about ‘the end of heterosexuality as we’ve known it’. Especially the discussion in the comments has really chimed in with some of the things I would like this project to do.

  3. When I told K about the notebook project she said, ‘what, with pens and shit? Who needs sex?’ !

    sex can come in many many different formats.

    also i should give credit where it’s due.

    It was Mark Simpson who said ‘romance is analogue and so last century’…


  4. I just had an idea, about doing a reading of the notebook. Kind of goes against the whole privacy thing. It would be very ‘Coming and Crying’ cool though. Let’s see how this thing pans out…

  5. Maybe with actors, and reading bits from this too… is actors cheating?? Probably. I wish Melissa Gira was my friend; she’d know what to do.

  6. Dear Sir,
    The early stages of this notebook project have made me incredibly flustered and also wet.
    Yours sincerely
    The editor.

  7. ‘It is not the business of all sex writers, everywhere, to solve everybody’s sex problems’

    Coming and Crying

  8. Quiet Riot Girl says:

    feel a bit less enamoured with myself and my amazing ‘romantic’ idea. Maybe romance is actually dead!! OH WELL. It may give me more of a sense of perspective on the whole project. And, even though this is not a private notebook, it feels like my little corner of the world to process these things. I suspect nobody is reading this. Feel free to prove me wrong. Hello?

  9. Shame
    It is a cramped little state with no foreign policy,
    Save to be thought inoffensive. The grammar of the language
    Has never been fathomed, owing to the national habit
    Of allowing each sentence to trail off in confusion.
    Those who have visited Scusi, the capital city,
    Report that the railway-route from Schuldig passes
    Through country best described as unrelieved.
    Sheep are the national product. The faint inscription
    Over the city gates may perhaps be rendered,
    “I’m afraid you won’t find much of interest here.”
    Census-reports which give the population
    As zero are, of course, not to be trusted,
    Save as reflecting the natives’ flustered insistence
    That they do not count, as well as their modest horror
    Of letting one’s sex be known in so many words.
    The uniform grey of the nondescript buildings, the absence
    Of churches or comfort-stations, have given observers
    An odd impression of ostentatious meanness,
    And it must be said of the citizens (muttering by
    In their ratty sheepskins, shying at cracks in the sidewalk)
    That they lack the peace of mind of the truly humble.
    The tenor of life is careful, even in the stiff
    Unsmiling carelessness of the border-guards
    And douaniers, who admit, whenever they can,
    Not merely the usual carloads of deodorant
    But gypsies, g-strings, hasheesh, and contraband pigments.
    Their complete negligence is reserved, however,
    For the hoped-for invasion, at which time the happy people
    (Sniggering, ruddily naked, and shamelessly drunk)
    Will stun the foe by their overwhelming submission,
    Corrupt the generals, infiltrate the staff,
    Usurp the throne, proclaim themselves to be sun-gods,
    And bring about the collapse of the whole empire.

    Richard Wilbur

  10. also getting huge delight and relief from reading
    Mortification: writers’ stories of public shame.
    I think I have found a theme for my first entry in Malevolent Erotica. Hurrah! and sorry and I didn’t mean to and I feel a little embarrassed etc.

  11. Quiet Riot Girl says:

    i nearly asked for it back today but realised that was all about not letting go (and maybe wanting an excuse to meet the current guardian). I am going to leave it. wait till it reappears. I have to not be in control all the time. HELLO?? (fuckers)

  12. will be getting it back in a few days. got my next recipient in mind too which opens it out a bit and makes me feel happier about the process. also some good writers interested in the project. I am still enthused!

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