What is it about a new notebook that feels so special and exciting? I remember when I used to get a new exercise book at school. The pristine, crisp cover with its straight, perfect corners. The clean white pages, somehow calling me, inspiring me yet at the same time seemingly forbidding. With the same irresistible allure as an expanse of pure untrodden snow.
And of course, this untrammeled beauty demands the neatest handwriting, the loftiest thoughts and the total absence of mistakes or crossings-out. I’ve failed in all three areas today. But that won’t stop me. I don’t need to put on airs and graces here.
A new notebook marks a new beginning. Nothing that has gone before will affect this notebook. There’s no memory here of previous failures. It doesn’t know of the times I’ve written trite, shallow, meaningless, unsatisfying rubbish. It doesn’t know of the times when I’ve tried a wee bit too hard and sounded like a Shakespeare wannabe, or worse, like a textbook on How To Write Fiction Really Really Well.
The new notebook opens up a world of new possibilities. It invites me to take risks and to experiment – it promises not to tell anyone if things don’t go quite right. It is a co-conspirator, a friend, a confidante. I could write anything in here, and it won’t give me away. I think I’ll try it. What have I got to lose? Nothing. But I could gain everything I’ve ever wanted. Or even just take one step towards that goal.