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On reflection, I may have used this as a subject tag before. No matter – I’m not writing the same thing (at least I hope I’m not.) I’m writing about notebooks – which are, like every writer I know, part of my toolkit. I’m not imaginative in my choices – there are few pretty, decorated notebooks in my collection. I am choosy however. I write in pencil & eschew the shiny paper which most notebooks are made from. And lines. I don’t do lines.

A5 art sketchpads fit the bill exactly. The mildly textured paper is perfect for pencil. They can be expensive though – artists are even choosier than writers! I’ve been known to spend stupid money on a simple notebook. A few years ago, to my delight, I discovered a line in a local shop where nothing costs much. They have plain, unromantic black board covers & they’re spiral bound, which I also like.

For each book I write, I make copious handwritten notes & can fill up to six notebooks before I type a single word. Currently, I’m working my way through the ones pertaining to Book 4: Underwater The Stars Shine Brighter. Last year, Janey, my writing sister who knows me well, bought me one with exactly the right paper but an unexpectedly green cover. Lush!

notebook 1 (2)

Book 4 unfolds in two time frames. The first, involving my main character’s backstory, is told through a diary she wrote, for about a year, when she was eighteen going on nineteen. The events of that time hugely impact on the second element of story told in the present, nearly sixty years later.

One of the early motifs involves Grace falling in love. For the first & only time in her life. Reading through the green notebook this past week, I came across several scenes I’d written ages ago – so long I’d forgotten them. They almost made me cry. This is still a work in progress; these are very much notes in the margins. But this is one of the ‘notes’ I made which I think will stick…

I want to be like her. Wear the same clothes, make up my eyes the way she does, with black lines & layers of mascara. I want to walk the way she does & dye my hair black. I wish I’d heard of Billie Holliday before I knew her so she would have been delighted when I told her. I want to hold a wine glass the way she does. With the stem at an angle so it looks as if the wine will spill, only it doesn’t because she’s in absolute control. I want her to be as much in love with me as I am with her.
© Carol Lovekin

Grace - aged sixteen  grace 10

I love Grace… I’m pleased she won’t let go…

As the hashtag says #amwriting…