A Little Black Book

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Pens and Pencils.”

When was the last time you wrote something substantive — a letter, a story, a journal entry, etc. — by hand? Could you ever imagine returning to a pre-keyboard era?


Although I learnt to type faster than I could write from an early age, I always love just handwriting things. I have quite scruffy writing but I love filling a notepad or a full page. I used to write to my mum’s cousin too, but there’s no other notepad I hold so dearly as my little black moleskin book.

I think I’ve probably written about it or mentioned it before on here. I basically bought it from Waterstones and I remember because it was so damn expensive but so damn irresistibly beautiful. And I think that’s the thing with writers or aspiring writers, you’re just drawn to beautiful notepads like it’s just going to do the writing for you. You fantasise filling its pages with all these amazing ideas and beautiful things. But most of the time you don’t (I can literally see five unused notepads, ‘too beautiful’ to scribble in right from where I’m sat), yet my little black overpriced moleskin book was definitely worth buying.

I started writing in it in May 2013. I’m really happy with myself that I put the date and also dated everything I wrote in there, too. It’s quite a chunky book so it’s not even halfway full yet, some pages have fallen out (some ripped out and put back in..which actually wasn’t my fault), the spine has wrinkles from being bent and some are just filled with black where I’ve crossed out and blacked out the entire page in rage. It stands out on the shelf, (when you notice it that is, it’s very small) because it looks like the most bruised and battered book stood next to my other pristine clean and crisp empty notepads. It certainly has character.

You can sort of see me progress through the little book as the months swing by. Sometimes I don’t even write in it for months at a time. Probably because I forgot it and left it at home when I came to Uni, but I still always go to it. Sometimes I just write quotes in there from books I’ve read and I like one particular line. Sometimes I write in a “series”, for instance when I was going through a really dark time my scribblings would bounce off one another in this way, so I labelled them all with numbers, sort of like a sonnet sequences but they weren’t sonnets. Sometimes I just write two or three lines and sometimes I write pages and pages, with pen OR pencil, whatever I can find and is at hand.

I prefer it to typing when I’m getting creative anyway. Typing is formal. I don’t like typing on my phone either. I don’t think it leaves much room for editing and playing around with things. Sometimes I even like the editing process, one word or line I don’t like and have crossed out can totally be applied to a different poem or exercise.

Either way, my little black book is probably the most personal thing I own. I’d be devastated if anything happened to it or even if anyone just decided to read through it without my permission. Thankfully, it’s small enough to hide. Like my personal little diary full of secrets. I started to post some of them on here:

this one I posted on my blog on 9 January 2014 called ‘The Outsiders’,
this one I posted recently, but was written in May 2013, called ‘Epiphany Induced By Sleep Deprivation’
and then this one which I also posted recently, called ‘I Wish You Knew Me’.



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