Open me up and you will see…

About a month ago, I dropped $8.00 on a pair of moleskine notebooks from the bookstore on campus.  They were purple and I had an employee discount…how could I resist?  I’d never had a moleskine before, but I’d looked on with jealousy during class as the cool kids with their shaved heads and thrift-bought clothes took frenzied notes in them.  At first I was proud, finally one of the cool kids.  Soon, though, my stomach started twisting and I began to feel a proper fool.  It was kind of like that moment when you realize that ugly sweater you thought looked ~*unique*~ is really just ugly, so it just hangs there in your closet, unworn, reminding you that you’re an idiot.  For weeks, my new notebooks sat on my desk and mocked me.  “Eight bucks could have bought you a nice night out,” they chuckled.  “What do you need notebooks for, anyway, you stupid post-grad?”  I tried to rationalize with them.  “Everyone needs notebooks,” I told myself, “even people who aren’t in school.  I have tons of stuff to write down.  I have tons of creative, interesting things to say about my life.  I deserve to be cool, okay?”

And, in a way it was true.  I do have tons of stuff to write down (creativity and level of interest is another story).  The only problem was my intense desire to make every notebook a sacred memory.  I have kept almost every single notebook from school since ninth grade, and I love them all…even the math ones.  I used to spend hours (sometimes days) deciding which subject gets which color, pondering which design would best facilitate my note-taking style in any given course.  Having the proper notebook could make or break a class for me.  Grocery lists, directions, and mundane self reminders are for notepads–tear-able, disposable notepads.  Notebooks are for keeping.  I’m addicted to them, but it’s better that they lie empty than to be tainted by uselessness, right?

Wrong.

Staring at my newest acquisitions, I came to an important realization.  If I’m really going to adapt successfully to post-grad life, I need to find a way to bring notebooks with me.  I need to find a way to use them in this new, non-academic world I’ve entered.  I can’t just watch shamefully as the empties pile up on my desk, full of blank pages and painful potentiality.  So, I picked up one of my purple moleskines, uncapped a pen, and wrote something worth forgetting.  (In fact, it’s something that should be forgotten…I wrote down my little brother’s college address incorrectly.)  Then I wrote something else.  (A grocery list, God forbid!)  I kept forcing myself to scribble in it, and before I knew it, my tiny, useless, purple notebook became my everything in Ireland.

(Oh, yeah, I went to Ireland for two weeks.  Did you miss me?)

I’m still processing what this trip to Ireland means in the context of my new life.  More coherent and meaningful posts will come.  For now, I’m going to invite you into my everything.  So, sit back, relax, and enjoy these excerpts from the little, purple notebook of an Internet-addicted sap abroad for 16 days without a computer.  For sure, it will be a trip.

“The rain in Spain falls mainly in Ireland.” – a funny man in Cork

10/8-10/9 ~ I saw the Northern Lights from my plane window.  I had to put my scarf over my head to block out the glare on the window and to hide the fact that I was crying unexpectedly.

“Player’s wanted.” ~~~  Some sort of inspiration in misplaced apostrophes?

I’m ditching my Wheat Thins because I’m pretty sure they made me sick.

“a shot of Jameson atop an Irish hill–bracing!”

10/10: I have food and cider in my belly, trad in my ears, and life is good…I never want to leave this moment ~ or perhaps I want it repeated on endless loop until I die.

People Watching Paragraphs I: Eoin sipped sullenly at his tea, gazing at the rest of the pub with more than an ounce of spite…

People Watching Paragraphs II: Cathal was an habitual noodler.  If it made noise, it’d be in his hands, makin’ noise.  Oftentimes, he played in dark pubs, exposed brick walls lit by little tea candles, dim electric lamps, and nothin’ else.  Oftentimes, you could barely tell if the person next to you was freckled or pimply it was so dark.  But when Cathal O’Noodler plucked away on his banjo, I’ll tell you no lies, the sun came out in that dingy old place.

10/11 ~ On second thought, this pub’s not so bad.  It’s just a super social place and I’m a single lady…literally.

An Spailpín Fánach

10/13 – Saw some angry stags.  Pretty sure they were gonna kill me.

10/14 ~ Biked the Gap of Dunloe with to [sic] Austrian men and a German woman from Hamburg…I spoke so much German I forgot what country I was in.  Oops.

ICH KANN ECHT GUT DEUTSCH :]

15/10 Here’s proof that dance friends can be friends for life.  I wish her all the best in the graduated world, if only so I can continue to live vicariously through her.

NEW GAME: Follow that ginger.  Not enough nuns in Scotland.

o hi, shadowfax

16/10 ~ I don’t understand how people would choose to miss what I saw tonight.  I mean…if someone said to me “trad session after set dancing,” I’d be off my arse in a heartbeat.  And–oh!–it was mighty tonight!  I can only hope that when I’m old and middle-aged, my feet will still be tapping…  The Crane, The Crane, The Crane.  The Crane was like coming home.  There was some new art on the walls and some new faces in the session, but it was all so familiar it set my heart alight.

Good friends in Galway are more important that tourist shopping.  Keep them.

The Swiss girls in my hostel are so nice!!

18/10 ~~ Too drunk too fast.  This is gonna be really [page skipped with later note added: “too drunk to write hahahaha!  journal entry continues –>”] pathetic if you pass out with your clothes on.

Today was an adventure–sweat and blood and mud.

love, loyalty, friendship

10–21: Today I ate eggs.

Maybe in the Real World people aren’t as awkward as Oberlin students, or maybe I’m growing up and out of the awkward, or maybe he’s just genuinely nice and doesn’t notice.

I LOVE WEE BABES IN AIRPORTS!

People Watching Paragraph III: She was a modest mouse.  Soft milky skin, dark purple sweater.  I wasn’t looking.  It was just there, in the corner of my eye, a not inconsiderable expanse of skin like a winter tundra, cold from the air conditioning, but also maybe her disposition.  I wasn’t looking or anything.  She’d just pushed up her sweater and flashed the pale so her belt could be undone.  I wasn’t looking…

the earth is my body; my head is in the stars

So, there you have it. Musings sprinkled with frenzied budget equations and scrawled directions. That’s my first moleskine. Did I use it well?

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