Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart – William Wordsworth
I have a ridiculous amount of notebooks. It’s probably due to a cross between a paper purchasing addiction and an irrational fear of not being able to write something down. I write in my journal every day, although that has been a trial of late as the last one I bought didn’t like me writing on both sides of the sheet with an ink pen. But I had to finish it before I allowed myself to move onto the next notebook chosen for the purpose. I had to, for same reason that I have to vote. I feel I must, or risk a haunting by a suffragette. People didn’t always have access to, or the money for, lots of paper. The reason the young Brontës wrote tiny books was party secrecy and novelty, but also because there wasn’t a Staples nearby.
When I open a new package of A4 paper to fill the printer at work, I wonder how Milton, Richardson, and especially Blake (who was indeed short of a bob or two) would have reacted to this huge, almost unending slab of fresh whiteness. If they could see the physical and digital mediums available to us now, they could well wonder how people are not writing stuff down all the time.
In Clarissa, Robert Lovelace is known to sit and write all evening, and is compared to Caesar, for putting down all his thoughts and actions at the end of the day. I’m just like that, if Caesar were a single mother that worked for the council. And I am able do that, as notebooks are cheap and plentiful. I can buy recycled ones, fancy ones, plan ones, ludicrously expensive but lovely Moleskines, but I can’t waste them, both for the sake of trees, and hauntings by dead authors.