Friday, October 7, 2011

White Fields & Notebooks

Little Notebook

Notebook Entry from March 24, 2010

Lately I've been thinking a lot about writer's notebooks. A month ago, I began a new blog, Sharing Our Notebooks, partly to inspire me to get back into more notebook writing. Well, it's working.

We had a busy week this week with a new batch of foster kitties to "home" and a new manuscript to revise. So, last night I wasn't sure what to to choose to write about. With notebooks on the brain, it didn't take long to think, "I'll just reread one of my old notebooks and find an idea."

That said, I walked to my big old desk with this little old cherry notebook, opened a page, and found the bit of entry you see above. The poem comes almost directly from this entry, "...walking in the white fields with my pen, uncertain of what I will find."

So if you've ever wondered, "Why keep a notebook?" Here's why. You never know what's stuffed in there that you might need later. One day's idle thought is another day's inspiration.  Try it.  Just open your notebook today, flip through, and choose a line that sounds neat.  Then, make something bigger out of it.

The last two lines in this poem come from Natalie Goldberg's WRITING DOWN THE BONES. She writes, "Writers live twice. They go along with their regular life, are as fast as anyone in the grocery store, crossing the street, getting dressed for work in the morning. But there's another part of them that they have been training. The one that lives everything a second time. That sits down and sees their life again and goes over it. Looks at the texture and detail."  This idea of "Writers live twice," is one that rings deeply in me.

Please note that the nominations for the Cybils (Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards) including poetry books, are open for another week! Please check out the Cybils website if you haven't yet done so and take a peek at the already-nominated poetry books here.  As a judge for this year, I look forward to reading these books and helping to usher some of them to the short list.

Mary Ann is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Great Kid Books. Thank you, Mary Ann.


Penny, Pumpkin, & Juniper
Photo by Henry LV

(Please click on POST A COMMENT below to share a thought.)


  1. Hi, Amy--

    I'll be sharing this post with Daisy, who told me with great excitement about an in-class essay assignment she'd done. She found this writing fun and exciting because it was more instantaneous and "we could write using personal pronouns! It was about *people*, and people, I get!" I told her not to forget realizing that, that she should write it down in her writer's notebook. "What writer's notebook?" she asked. "Exactly," I said. : )

  2. "boulders in my heart"
    "treehouse of my mind"


    I also like what you said about 'one day's idle thought' being another day's inspiration. For a true poet, nothing - no word is indeed ever wasted - it allows us to 'gather old memories' and 'live again.' :)

    I have a collection of unlined notebooks myself. I like it as much as I love the scent of my new books.

  3. Thanks for showing your writing process. I always find that fascinating. And a lovely poem, too.

  4. I love poems that speak of writing and that process and posted something akin to this one. Thank you for the beautiful image "I hike these white fields".

  5. LOVE the poem. Makes me realize I need to get back to my notebook, too!

  6. Thank you for your kind comments...I find it amazing how much my notebook feeds me. The more I give, the more it gives back. A.