“The Notebook,” Confucius, and me

Eleven years ago this June, the movie “The Notebook” came out, and it was a romance extravaganza. The common parlance used to be “chick flick” although in today’s PC culture, I’m not sure that description is still considered appropriate and so it currently (perhaps) is more apt to be called a “love story more aligned with what is considered a classically female romantic perspective.”

Anyways, (a word used as a segue when the writer [or in this case me] can’t think of an actual segue that’s more on topic) when I first heard about “The Notebook,” I thought: “GREAT! Finally, a film about someone who writes down all their great ideas in a notebook and then something happens to that notebook (left in a taxi or plane / stolen/ mistakenly switched with another somehow), and then of course, the person needs it back because it contains all their great ideas.

In my brain, the story (chase/action/dialogue) wrote itself. Apparently their premise did OK with $115 million in the first year, while my movie idea might’ve made $115 dollars if you counted my two tickets, Red Vines, and a large popcorn.

I truly enjoy a notebook,  just about any notebook. A brand new one with nothing but empty pages seems so filled with unlimited promise of thought. But an old notebook is also grand, whether filled with captured past events* (as in a set of journal entries), or future plans (as in a to-do list), or my favorite (since it keeps me employed) a catcher of all thoughts of creativity from joke embryos to full-fledged connections that make up a comedy bit waiting to be performed.

Confucius is credited with saying “Short pencil better than long memory.” I agree, especially when you have a memory like mine. Or perhaps it’s attention issues where thoughts need to be caught immediately or…they’re…just…gone.

I know it’s kinda old-school, but I like carrying a notebook. I brought a few old filled ones on the road this week, ‘cause as mentioned above, when leafing through filled pages, there’s a great creative day waiting to be had when the coffee’s on, and I look through some germs of ideas, (you know, the kind that can be stolen in my imaginary movie) and often leads to part of my “process” which can best be called “creative addition.” Build up a new thought and add it to an older thought, making it all a better thought.

Yep, a good day can be made great when a notebook is heavier with ink than when I picked it up in the morning.

Remember: No matter how you capture your inspiration—clicked pen to notebook paper, hit key from ribbon to onion-skin, electronic tap to computer screen–the important thing is go grab that creativity. The key is to write, write a lot, get it down, and then do your best to get it out. Spend your time making and keeping and then sharing what you’ve been allowed to think up. Sure, I like the funny thoughts, but I hear tell there’s a thriving business in action, drama, and yes, maybe even romance.

* I know some people think “captured past events” in a notebook should be called a diary. However, I found out that men keep journals. In junior high, I wrote this entry: “Dear Diary… today I had to change your name…”)