Tag Archives: notebook writing

#380: Poem on April 6, 2021

I’ve been in the habit of writing these little preambles before the poem of the day. Today, the preamble will be necessarily short, as the following, I hope, speaks for itself. I didn’t like the prompt for today, so invented my own out of desperation and some inexplicable afternoon blues, and it was, simply, to write something by hand. I’ve provided photographic evidence, but, out of courtesy, I typed up a revision afterwards.

Poem on April 6

The last time I wrote
in a physical notebook
it was November and
I was taking notes on
a discussion about a
book I was writing.
Some writer friends
were telling me what
they thought, how they
reacted, if and when they
were moved, which moments
stood out, how I might
experiment with form,
and I took notes on
what they said.
After that, in this notebook,
nothing: some names
and times, related, I think,
to the only conferences
this year between
parents and teachers,
and then, mysteriously,
a phone number, on
a page all by itself, a
number without a name
or any other identifying
marker.

This afternoon,
in a kind of lethargic fog
unlike anything I’ve experienced
since I stopped drinking,
I struggled; I didn’t know what
to do with myself, pacing
around the house like an idiot,
trying to avoid my phone,
longing to be outside, but
longing also for a task,
something to do. And then
I remembered, almost begrudgingly,
that I had set myself
the goal of writing 30 poems
in 30 days.

Let’s go outside, I said, into
the backyard, where earlier
the kids next door could be
heard reenacting Lord of the Flies,
and let’s write a poem in a physical
notebook, no technology, a draft
of a poem in pen on paper
inside of the notebook we’ve
neglected since November.
Yeah, let’s get that done. In our
shitty mood for no reason,
with our dogs, in our chair, on
the new patio, using what has become,
after years and years of disuse,
an almost indecipherable scrawl,
we will write a poem for
April 6, 2021. And we will feel
better somehow,
as if something we were currently
doing made a difference.

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#243: A Poem Composed on a Word Processor about Writing by Hand


I read recently that
handwriting is better
for the brain than
typing, what we call
in this information age
“word processing.”
It’s better, handwriting,
because the task is more
physical, therefore more
complex, therefore more
memorable, theref more
meaningful. Did you notice
how I truncated “therefore”
on purpose so that I could
end the line with the exact
same word in the exact same
spot four lines in a row?
I did that because I was typing.
I could never think to do that
if I was handwriting. However,
I tend to believe what I read
and I believe that handwriting
is better for the brain than
typing.

And yet, I type. I’m typing this
poem right now about the advantages
of handwriting. I have a fantasy
that I will write the first draft
of my next novel entirely by hand
in a nice notebook or a series
of nice notebooks. And I think
I should write poems there as well.
There’s something about typing,
and there’s something about typing
publicly that feels so exposed, so
out there, so vulnerable, that sometimes
I worry about whether or not I’m
telling the truth. This is the truth.
But there’s nothing risky about a
poem on¬†handwriting. And I’d
like to be risky, brave, intimate,
and bold in my writing. There are
things I need to say to myself
that cannot be typed, can only
be handwritten, can only reside,
at least for now, in the white,
neatly lined pages of a nice
notebook, which, in this moment,
remains entirely nice and blank.

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