The Story Behind the Stories

I was getting desperate. In precisely one hour my flight would be departing, and I still couldn’t find my notebook.

Time alone, apart from the bustling schedule of work and the happy distractions of a young family, was now a precious commodity. Never before had necessity driven me to think so carefully about how to spend so few minutes.

This flight represented to me a window of opportunity, a glorious sliver of time; 120 joyous minutes of quiet solitude and reflection. It was leaving in an hour, and I still couldn’t find my notebook.

“That will be thirty dollars, thank you”

The voice came from a portly woman behind the counter, who looked like she frequented the food court just outside the door on her lunch breaks, probably favouring the McDonalds and KFC side rather than the Sumo Salad corner.

I looked blankly at her for nearly a whole second. My mind was trying to reconcile the figure she had just said with the fact that the notebook I had handed over could fit in the back pocket of a midget wearing tight jeans. I was also stumbling over the fact that my previous notebook, that looked exactly the same, had cost me less than a third of that price.

“uhhh…”

My gaze dropped down to the featureless black cover of the notebook silently moderating the awkward conversation we were having. Only then did I notice the faint imprint in the back cover “MOLESKINE®.” The ludacrous price now made perfect sense…but at the same time it didn’t make any sense at all.

This exchange was getting really awkward. I had to pull out, but I couldn’t leave without a notebook. The second boarding call was now ringing out from invisible speakers around the terminal. I felt defeated but desperate.

“….ok.”

The same young family that now made me accountable for how I used scarce moments alone also required an account for how we spent our now-single-income. Thirty dollars for a stupid notebook was ridiculous.

I resolved, in that moment of shame and disappointment, hurrying awkwardly to catch the plane, that I would make thirty dollars for this notebook worth it. I would write in this notebook every day. This would be the notebook that would set free my writing dreams, and unleash me from the perfectionist shackles holding me back.  This would be my space to write badly.  And whether it be a sentence or a page, truth or fiction, profoundly creative or painfully dry, I would write in this thing.

And so, as we rose above the clouds on that overcast morning, I opened the notebook and began to write…

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