“This is the Ugly Book”

I have a small spiral notebook that I carry in my purse. One of my goals this year is to write more, and as a working, busy, full-schedule mom and wife, there are moments when I have a great spark of an idea, an epiphany. They’re amazing.

And short.

And often, they fly away as fast as they came.

My notebook is an effort to catch those wayward thoughts and pin them down, like butterflies in a diorama, and hold them long enough to make it to the keyboard. Yes, technology is grand and I’ll admit that my smartphone is near more often than not, but it’s the new “I walked into this room and forgot why I came, so, oooooh, Facebook.” It doesn’t work for this jam.

And paper?

Mmmmmmmmmmmm, paper. And pen.

I think there’s a reason for the ever-burgeoning industry of pretty journals and nice pens. We’re fundamentally drawn to the written word and tools of the trade. The smell. The feel, the practice.

However, I’m the first to admit to failing my ever-perceived high standards for a pretty journal. Are you kidding me? The penmanship must be perfect, the sentences prosaic, the content deep and meaningful, at all times. The number of journals that I’ve started with good intentions and abandoned within the first dozen pages is truly terrifying.

So now, I try to do it differently. I have this little spiral-bound stunner, with a teal cover and good thick paper with college-ruled lines in taupe. Truly lovely. And what did I write on the cover page that begged for my name and date and inspirational quote?

“This is the Ugly Book.”

Ugly. Free. Unfettered by the requirements of correctness or beauty or completeness. Holding every type of thought, from the Shakespearian sonnet to the angrily scribbled frustration at the world. Blog topics. Articles I find interesting. Book ideas. Angry questions that I chuck at the Almighty. EVERYTHING.

I’ve decided that the need to be pretty and correct and deep doesn’t suit me. There is no perfect presentation, and the longer I wait for everything to arrive in perfect penmanship, the more the sparklers of my soul will flit away untold.

So, there you have it. My hope is that it’ll spark more here, but even if it doesn’t, I’m happy to have started the journey.

In all the ugliness,


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