From a young age, my nana and grandpa would take us to the dollar store and tell me and my siblings we could each pick out one thing. My selection was pretty standard: I'd choose either a porcelain elephant figurine to add to my collection, or I'd buy a notebook.
My pack of pachyderms remains to this day on a shelf in my childhood bedroom, untouched, collecting dust and fond glances when I come home for the occasional weekend or day trip. But my notebook collection is out of control and still growing.
Shopping at Target with friends? Nine times out of ten I will disappear, only to be found in the office supplies section, staring longingly at the Moleskines. Writer's block while at my usual table in the Barnes and Noble cafe? I'll take a trip to the floor-to-ceiling shelf in the front corner by the registers, where the notebooks and journals are kept, to help clear my mind and gather my thoughts.
I have piles and piles of notebooks in my bedroom, waiting to be used, just begging to be filled with my thoughts, my lists, my words, my doodles. I have Italian leather bound books with thick, creamy pages, hardcover books of every color, and composition notebooks galore. I've got one notebook in which every page looks like a different kind of wall: stone, concrete, brick, wood-paneled, wallpapered... just waiting to be graffitied. And yet I can't seem to stop buying more. I buy them as rewards for getting through a difficult week or for finishing an important task, or as inspiration for a new project. There's just something about that blank book, a collection of pages completely empty but for their potential. I save them for the perfect project, for the perfect content. Sometimes they are used immediately, other times they wait for years, but eventually each of them will be filled with cramped scribblings in black ink. Of that I am positive.
Now that I am into the editing process I keep my notes for each draft in this book, writing down little things I notice here or there that should be added or moved around, or inconsistencies in plot or characterization that I should address in my next draft. I love it because the pages don't have lines. I can write in it like a notebook, doodle in it like a sketchbook, or draw up countless organizational graphs, the kind they taught you in middle school but you never actually used when writing essays.
I've spent the past few days rereading passages, alternately reminiscing, laughing, and shaking my head in shame at the things that my past self deemed important enough to immortalize on paper. I looked at the way I used to say "bye!" or "g2g!" at the end of each entry (ah, the acronyms of early 2000's...) and the way the entire structure of my journals changed noticeably every time I read a new book I liked and wanted to emulate stylistically. I'm fascinated by my handwriting, constantly changing as I, obnoxiously self-aware even as a child, struggled to make my messy script fit some mold, to convey something about who I was even as I tried to discover what that meant.
I've come to decipher those markings as more than words, as though they speak a second language in and of themselves. And thus I've discovered that not in spite, but because of the inconsistencies in the content of my entries, and my inability to record sometimes the more basic details of my life in favor of the more ridiculous and dramatic, my journals really do tell, between the lines, the story of my life. Even if no one else could comprehend it.
My name is Emily Krempholtz, and I am not an addict.
I am a writer.
Emily Krempholtz is a graduate of Ithaca College's esteemed Roy H. Park School of Communications. She wrote her first book at the age of four and has dreamed of being a writer ever since. As a new resident in the Land of Adults, she tries to face life armed with a pen, paper, and a wicked sense of humor. She currently lives in Ithaca, NY and can usually be found holed up in the Barnes & Noble cafe working on her novel, or at the barn with the love of her life, a horse named Marea.
As a giveaway, Emily has offered one of her many empty notebooks, "I'd be happy to part with one so long as it goes to a good home! I'd also like to give away a package of my favorite quick-drying black pens (perfect for lefties, so they don't smudge all over your fingers or the page!) " Please leave a comment and a way to reach you, and check back on Sunday, June 30 to see if you have won!
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