Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Notebook

In case you haven't noticed, I've been doing a lot of writing lately. Whether it’s company-related, the odd note on facebook, blogging or just changing my FB status, the verbal diarhea is running rampant. I can never spell that word..diarhhea? no...wait, let me check Google. D-I-A-R-R-H-E-A. Just in case you needed the spelling for this awful word. And of course now you have the visual too and are thanking me.

I love publishing Notes on Facebook the most because, depending on the topic, I always get wonderful feedback from fellow "friends". The best part is, I get to hear everyone's story. Another great part, I won't lie, is getting encouragement from friends to "write a column/an article/a novel". That just brings some pink to my white freckly cheeks. I never thought about doing it, the writing thing that is, for anything other than work or self-expression to be honest. And I only write when I have something I feel compelled to say, something I'm passionate about like oh, potty training woes or getting ID'd at the liquor store or most recently, the sex abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church. Or the idiot who engineered the Swedish shopping cart (that post is coming)!

So really, my writing coincides with my ADHD (which my Mom has, in all her great wisdom, diagnosed). How does anyone expect me to write something as complex, time-consuming and focus-demanding as a novel? And you also need imagination for that. I write about my life. I'm all about non-fiction, but in passionate, short outbursts. And then, I move on.

Now my husband, to his credit, has humoured me and my writing fetish. He reads what I write, offers suggestions but generally takes a backseat. He stays "mum" on the issue. Until yesterday when his actions spoke louder than my words ever could.

Yesterday he went to London to have tea and strumpets with the Queen and to discuss the state of the monarchy. No he didn't. He did go to London with a box of kanelbulle (Swedish cinnamon buns) for a meeting with a big company, whose biz dev guy has a love affair with kanelbulle from a specific bakery in Stockholm. So, of course, my charming husband brings the guy a box. It was a fly-in-and-out-the-same-day mission. I waited up. He walked in bearing gifts, mainly for the little man, who was extremely disappointed when he realized the nicely decorated box of kanelbulle we took with us in the car to the airport was NOT for him.

After going through a sweet assortment of toys and shirts, he then presented me with a sturdy baby blue gift bag adorned simply with the words "Smythson of Bond Street Est 1887" in an understated, old-fashioned font. And directly above, four emblems representing the highest offices of the monarchy, “By appointment of his/her majesty...”

The bag, tied together with a black ribbon, was impressive enough. Then a matching blue thick cardboard box inside. And inside THAT, a soft blue cloth bag nestled delicately in tissue paper. And inside that?

A fushia leather bound notebook filled with empty pale blue lined pages. It is gorgeous. It took my breath away.

On the back page of the notebook is The Story of Smythson Featherweight Paper and Bindings. It details the severe craftsmanship that goes into the manufacture of this brand of notebook, including its copyrighted floppy leather exterior (that apparently can be rolled up and squashed and will improve with age) and handmade “stitched spines and gilt-edged pages” (say THAT five times fast). And then there’s the extreme difficulty in creating a watermark on paper this thin. Who knew?

“Smythson Featherweight Books are internationally popular with many distinguished writers, journalists, travellers and explorers. Used by ‘the great and the good’ over many generations, they have been called a ‘secret social passport’. “

They have been used by Queen Victoria, Diana, Princess of Wales, Sigmund Freud and Grace Kelly to name a few.

And now, I have one.

What will fill its pages? I don’t know. I didn’t realize the impact of this notebook until I began to write about it. This gift is so precious. I both fear and revere it. So many thoughts running through my brain. Like, "Crap, I need to work on my penmanship. What if I make a mistake? white-out vs. scribble out. Should I use it for story outlines or the real deal? Where should I put it? Does this mean I'm a 'writer'? Am I worthy of owning such a coveted treasure?

One day I will open it and put pen to paper (yes, he got me two graceful pink pens too). I don’t know when this D-day will come. But what I do know is that I love my husband for this incredible symbol of his faith in me.

With this gesture, he has given me my very own, but not-so-secret, passport. "Permission to officially enter the wonderful world of prose?" "Granted."

And so begins a new chapter, in life and in love.

www.smythson.com

6 comments:

Mon said...

First of all, hello! photo!? (just took a look and yes, they're lovely).

I love, ADORE, a lovely notebook, but for me, I realised they stifled my creativity, because of their preciousness. They're so beautiful, so demanding.
So I bought crappy cheapo school notebook and wrote my heart out.
And now I just type....

BUT, it's what the notebook represents isn't it? Possibilities, hopes, dreams.... it could sit near you as you scribble onto post-it notes.... :)

SwedishJenn said...

You're bang on Mon. It's what this coveted notebook represents. I may never commit a word to it and I have no problem with that. I will take a photo of it though and post it with pride. I am just remembering your lovely post about notebooks and the transformation to typing :-)

Lisa - edenwild said...

Before I even read the comments here, I was going to say: Just Write. It doesn't matter what it is...just put your thoughts into it. Brainstorming, outlines, character ideas (if you want to write fiction), quotes, things that inspire you, places that inspire you, websites that inspire you...anything and everything. Then, one day you might be flipping through the pages and realize you have a treasure--a notebook full of gems--and you may have your book in there somewhere.

I wish I had a pretty featherweight book that I could drag with me everywhere. My notebook is big and bulky, and tends to get forgotten. But I DO understand how a beautiful notebook can be intimidating. I've always written best in the cheapo notebooks as well.

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