Paper, Please

As a writer, I know better. But it happened anyway.writing4502.jpg

As we prepared for our recent family vacation, I packed all my paper goods – legal pads, journals, notepads in a special bag. Then helped my sister pack up her Subaru Forrester and carefully secured my “writing” bag in her trunk. Other luggage piled on top, including my brother’s tackle box and fishing pole.

About two hours into the trip, I decided to write some notes about the scenery – something I might blog about later or use in research. But as I searched through my purse, I realized none of my usual notepads were inside the car. They were all packed in the back of the Subaru and there was no way we were going to unpack everything just so I could write down a few notes.

My creative juices seemed to be on overdrive and along with them, the fear that I might forget the words and phrases that peppered my mind. I noticed the Oklahoma red dirt, stained as legend tells it by the blood and tears of the Cherokees who were forced to travel from Mississippi to Indian Territory. Their broken hearts and wounded spirits forever colored the soil of the new land where they were enslaved on reservations.

As we drove into the Oklahoma panhandle, I saw corn growing tall (“as high as an elephant’s eye”), combed straight by the row crop planter that sows the corn seed. Each row was impressive as the corn plants reached their blades up to heaven for nourishing sunshine.

The horizon in the panhandle seemed to blend right into the soil so that I could not discern where it divided until we drove farther down the road. The turquoise sky shook hands with the red soil, accessorized by the green corn and the occasional brown coyote. A colorful land indeed.

All these sights I wanted to record while they were fresh, along with any ideas that surfaced about the novel I am currently writing. But alas – no notebook in my purse. What to do? How to record my thoughts before they disappeared as readily as the flatland when we approached the foothills of New Mexico?

We stopped for a snack at a Love’s store. With words swirling in my subconscious, I quickly ran to the ladies room, finished my business, then grabbed extra toilet paper which I folded into a pallet of paper. Then I grabbed extra napkins by the checkout and hurried to the car. A receipt from a previous gas purchase also fell out of my purse when I searched for a pen. Thank goodness I had packed my pens in my purse.

Armed with TP, napkins and the back of a receipt – I quickly scribbled phrases and sentences onto my makeshift notepads, then sighed with contentment that I had finally captured my thoughts before they disappeared into word netherland.

One week later, when we returned home, I gathered all my little notes together to file where I could best use them. Then I vowed to never be caught without paper again.

©2014 RJ Thesman – “Intermission for Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/1l4oGoo

 

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6 thoughts on “Paper, Please

  1. At times like that I now find comfort in the fact that I can talk to my phone that types as I talk.Probably a lot safer than trying to write on the steering wheel while driving, which I have been known to do while driving alone.

  2. We also took a trail last week similar to the one you took through KS, OK, TX, NM, CO, KS. Your descriptions were fantastic and I could see pictures in my mind as I read your blog. During my trip I met with a Native American in the Colorado area and someone asked me later how many napkins I used during the 3.5 hour dinner. I showed him my small trusty notebook and how many pages I’d filled with my own style of shorthand. Now I have the task of deciphering my notes and I’d better do it quick or like your fears I will not be able to reinterpret my shorthand. Loved your blog!!!

  3. RJ–
    That’s happened to me before, too. Thank goodness for my cell phone that I always have in my purse. I have the app for recording my voice and the notes app for typing a note. These two apps have saved me from losing thoughts while I’m away from paper. And yet I still travel with notebooks, journals and pens 🙂
    Victoria–

    • Thanks for your comment, Victoria, and for the reminder to check into my Google app and use it more effectively. I, too, still have to use my notebooks, journals and pens. Just can’t get away from the “real” writing tools.

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