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Notebook: A sanctuary for my thoughts

- Shreya Nepal

Apr 11, 2018-

I cannot seem to be sure about what I am writing at this moment. I am awful at starting with good lines or good thoughts. I mostly write when I am irritated, confused or feel like there’s too much clutter in my life. Writing is my way to organise my thoughts, acknowledge their existence and as such try to understand them. This obviously leads to my notebook, a sanctuary for my thoughts.

Okay, according to my internet research there are two kinds of notebooks. First is the kind where a person has written in depth about their thoughts—a page by page index of their ideas, interests and aspirations; all things that they could use in their autobiography. And then, there’s the other kind of notebook. The kind without structure—random words, lists, calculations, quotes and doodles.

Most people don’t keep two diaries; they usually have both the stuff in one single note book. Well, most people don’t even keep a diary/notebook of their own. Those are the overly confident people. They walk around life like they know what’s going on. They don’t need to pen things down to organise their minds. “I mean what kind of a lunatic does that?” is sometimes their response.  But we’re not talking about them. We are talking about the other variety of humans, the quite shy and sloppy kind, the kind that bothers with keeping a private notebook.

“Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant re-arrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with some presentiment of loss,” says writer, Joan Didion. And I could not agree more.

I was the kind of person who needed as many notebooks as there were subjects I had to study. Sometimes, even two for one subject. I had to have symbolic covers, like a Nepali newspaper cover for the Nepali subject and the Money segment of Kathmandu Post for my Accounts notebook’s cover. Those days are long gone now.

I now have one black notebook with a faux leather hard cover. It contains the notes for all six of my law school subjects, my two liner poetry, deadlines for club meetings, curses that I cannot say out loud to people, my period tracking, my savings calculations and what not. Its pages are filled with doodles of houses, flowers and the ‘happy place’ I always crave to be in. There are occasional lipstick stains, some mistakenly put, and some deliberately.

My notebook is a 20-year-old girl.

My notebook has sticky notes stuck between her pages that tell anyone who opens her, the issues of the day and of days long past. She is often lost in her own thoughts, she is forgetful. The thin blue ribbon attached to her helps keep track of where she last left off. When in a hurry, which she almost always is, she forgets to arrange the blue ribbon making the next opening a bit confusing.

My black notebook is beautiful. She knows the words engraved in her body by heart. She knows the exact date since when the writer stopped joining two names with a tiny ‘plus’ sign or surrounded by symbolic hearts. She knows the name that was repeatedly crossed off to the extent that it tore a hole in her pages. She knows how frequently that name appeared in her pages before. But now, it barely surfaces.  My notebook is one mysterious character. She has some pages glued together so perfectly that anyone who tries to unstick them to peek at what’s inside ends up ruining her. She is a loyal friend, this note book of mine. In a bid to hide my embarrassing stories and deadly confessions, she has bore the pain of being torn apart, page by page.

It is not like she does not have her short comings as a companion. She is one passive listener. There are never any suggestions she makes on her own, no ideas she puts forward, no active indulgence in anything that goes on in my life. Whatever I reap from her has to be sown by none other than me. She merely listens, intently and lets me do the rest.

You know how there are always one too many thoughts in our minds and we need to organise them into separate compartments even within our own heads? Well, we first need a place to store them all at once so that the sorting process can begin. My note book is that place for me. It is the first of my many steps at organising myself.

Nepal is a student at Kathmandu University School of Law

Published: 11-04-2018 10:19

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