Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Notebook and the Handwriting

For years I have lugged around a Mead Composition Notebook with me. It's an obsessive habit. The notes for columns and articles go in them. As do the rough drafts of letters. (Yes, sometimes letters get a rough draft when you are ridiculous.) Part of this habit is inspired by Eddie Vedder, who uses the same tool to write songs and set lists in. My Notebook is often covered with stickers and Sharpied phrases and quotes.

The Notebook travels with me. (I know I'm capitalizing it. The Notebook is my good friend.) You never know when a good A-Rod joke could pop into your brain. You need to jot that puppy down.

Which leads us to this short anecdote. I was on the subway this morning. Pretty early for a Saturday. I was seated near the door, scribbling some notes about an upcoming YesButNoButYes column. A Chinese gentleman was standing next to me, looking over my shoulder. Sensing his presence, as one does when someone is reading over your shoulder, I looked up. The chap cocked his head to the side and asked "You're trying to write Arabic?"

For crying out loud ... "Uh, no, that's English."

"Oh," he said.

Should have lied. "Yep, that's Arabic. No big deal."

My handwriting is notoriously bad. It's a strange twisting beast that is usually only legible to myself. If I slow down and concentrate it's not that bad. However the only time I do that is if I am writing a letter to my Mum or to the female object of my affection. The fairer sex has always received letters from yours truly. Always will. I feel it's a lost art; the good love letter. Those, for the most part are legible. Every so often I have been asked "Uh, sweetheart, is this word 'adorable?'" "Oh, that's actually 'trousers.'"

So shut up Jackie Chan reading over my shoulder on the subway. I'm the only one reading this. So what if one needs the forces of divination to decipher my President Obama joke.

You can see the Notebook in a recent 3 Chords & the Truth podcast:


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