Is my new tagline.
It’s always the reader’s failing, never the book’s, never the author’s inability to successfully convert intention into practice.
But you knew that, right?
At least I have been absolved of a more general closed-mindedness toward queer narratives in romance. But that’s probably because I’m not Christian. Christians, beware: if you critique a text with a queer narrative, it will be assumed it is because of your conservative belief system.
This is why I don’t blog about substantive issues anymore. Apparently I should also be careful where and how I comment, because even academic articles (purportedly peer-reviewed, no less) will feature cherry-picked sentences in order to make a point while ignoring the larger commenting context that undermines that point.
I used up the last few pages of the Muji lined notebook I’d been using for morning pages and started a new-to-me notebook, made by the Life Stationery Company in Japan. The company has been around since 1946 and makes a range of products. These notebooks are available at a variety of online retailers, but I hate buying notebooks sight unseen. Luckily for me, my somewhat local Japanese stationery store stocks them and I picked up the plain version a few months ago. I’ve mostly used plain paper for my morning pages and I like having lots of pages, but it’s a tradeoff between a bulky notebook (my Bindewerk was 144 sheets with hard covers) vs. easy to carry but fairly quick to use up (my Muji was 72 sheets with soft covers).
The Noble Note falls somewhere between the two in terms of expense as well. I have to import the Bindewerks from Germany and the shipping gets quite high, whereas the Mujis are available locally and are at the inexpensive end of the spectrum. You can pick up a Noble Note for about $15 through Amazon (my local store charges $15.95, which I think is pretty reasonable for a small independent retailer).
For the last year and a half I’ve been doing morning pages, a writing practice introduced in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. I did them daily for the first few months of 2015, then fell off the wagon, returned in fits and starts for the rest of the year, and then committed to doing them as part of my 2016 productivity practices. I’ve written them daily (with two exceptions) since 3 January; there are a group of us on Twitter who check in with each other as well. Now that I’m on Twitter hiatus I’m not checking in but I’m still doing them.
I wanted to write about how I do them, because one thing that became clear was that the four/five/six of us on Twitter don’t all approach them the same way. Cameron is somewhat self-contradictory on whether there are rules: she says there is no “right” way to do pages, but she also says you should do them longhand and you should do them in the morning. She makes a distinction between journaling and morning pages, and she really does see them as the expression of your stream of consciousness. Her blog posts on the topic address quite a few of the questions that come up about the “best” way to do them.
My method has worked for me in part because I have followed the two basic directions, but also because they have been pretty low stress in terms of how I approach them, so even though what I write in them has changed over time, my ability and desire to write them hasn’t. I don’t always want to do them, but I know that if I’m really stuck I can just write “blah blah blah” over and over again. I haven’t done that yet, but having the option helps.
I have to do them in the morning, that much I’ve learned. It’s not just that I won’t do them later in the day, it’s that they don’t have at all the same function. My mind is in a different place at 3pm or 8pm than it is at 8am. Even doing them mid-morning rather than as soon after I wake up as is practical makes a difference in what I write and how I feel. And I really need that stream of consciousness approach. It leads to discoveries (intellectual, emotional, practical) that don’t emerge consistently any other way.