How will I capture ideas?  With pen and paper, of course.  Simple enough, but problems abound.  The paper must be handy, the pen must work, and habit of jotting must be engrained.

This week, in response to the affirmation “I will Capture Ideas”, Jeanne and I took a similar path and thought about how to keep pen and paper handy.   Jeanne wants to capture ideas from her various interests—writing, book arts and sail making—and hold them in a common container.  She shared her solution with me while we discussed our efforts over coffee.   “It’s like an oversized day-timer” Jeanne said as she set the notebook on the table and let me flip through the pages.  But it was so much more than that.  What had been a plain, black 10 X 12 binder was now an idea-catching piece of art.  I smoothed my hand over the jewel-tone graphic on the cover.  Inside, I admired the thick rag paper and hand-lettered tabs partitioning the space.  This tool, Jeanne posits, will keep her ideas organized instead of piling up on her diningroom table.  To underscore her point Jeanne took the notebook and inserted a new page.  Flip, click, snap, the note was snared—an idea that won’t get away.

Jeanne’s book is an inspiration, just as she has meant it to be.  I’m impressed, but am not certain Jeanne’s mode of capture will work for me.   Actually, I would be terrified to write in Jeanne’s notebook.  What for her is inspiration and a way of honoring her art is for me the path to a frozen pen.  I need pages I don’t care about—a common field where I can wrangle ideas and pin them into the mud with crossed-out lines, repeated sentences and lists of words that go no where—at least not yet.  No, what I’m looking for is a simple pad—something filled with good paper, something large enough to allow my hand to move across the page cramp-free, yet something small enough to fit in my purse.

I think I’ve found a good candidate—a slim number identified simply as “Petite Note”.  Bound in linen-textured cover stock, the booklet has esthetic appeal without demanding perfection.  I bought several and looked forward to sharing my find with Jeanne.  As I packed up for our meeting, however, I found that beyond the issue of the pad, there is the question of how to make room for it in my purse.

I want to travel light, but I also want to be prepared.  Actually, what I want is to be Mary Poppins and—at a moments notice—to be able to pull whatever is needed from a small handbag—umbrella, scissors, notepad.  Balance eludes me, and good intentions have turned my purse into a tightly organized mess.  I have everything, but can’t get to any of it.

The ironic symmetry between my purse and my over-book life is not lost on me.  But beyond the smirk, I know I must reorganize.  I turned my purse upside down and regrouped.  Gone were wads of receipts, redundant pens and a pound of pennies.  Starting over, the pen and pad went in first and have a pocket of their own.  I filled the main compartment with my wallet, brush and lipstick.  Throwing the strap over my shoulder, I looked in the mirror, imagined an idea approaching, and pulled out pad and pen in one smooth draw.  Ready, aim, write!

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