On a whim I bought one of those little black moleskine notebooks, the kind (according to the packaging) that Hemingway and Matisse carried around to record lightening strikes of creative genius. Mine contains shopping lists, more or less:
reads one exciting entry.
reads another. Heavy stuff. Will certainly feature as a centerpiece in the Jessie Sitnick archives, post-mortem, of course.
While convenient for this purpose, it was not my intended use of the little-black-book (LBB). I was inspired by a shelf title: Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris. It was the "Important Artifacts and Personal Property" bit that appealed to me. I just liked the phrase. I repeated it to myself like 13 times, standing there in the bookstore and then it occurred to me that I wouldn't remember it, of course I wouldn't. I needed to write it down. How handy would a pocket-sized notebook be for such an occasion? And not wanting anything flimsy or covered with unicorns, I opted for the working-man's notebook. The LBB of artists and journalists and fiction-writers (and grocery-list addicts).
Maybe it's charming to keep a record of the clutter of my everyday life. Maybe it's really not. But every once in a while, I do fill the gaps between produce and dry goods with something else. Creative genius, probably not. But something I might want to remember later. Like the phrase "pornography of disability" that I came across while researching the topic of TLC as the modern freakshow. Or the idea of remaking the Jack and The Beanstalk story set in inner-city Baltimore (the beanstalk is a metaphor for escaping the cycle of poverty, don't hold your breath for the trailer).
And then yesterday, I wrote this. I'm transcribing it here as if it's a poem, but really, it's just a bunch of observations I tried to phrase nicely (oh wait, maybe that is a poem).
On the Way to Buy Lamb Stuffed with Apricots
The kind of person who
leaves her umbrella open on the porch after the rain,
who plants plastic roosters in her garden
The kind who
wears purple on purple,
looks back at her car, parked
shades her eyes from the sun, wondering
will I get a ticket
who wears a yellow sundress, low-cut
fills the block
with the smell of expensive hair products
The kind who looks at me
from her car window
and then looks away
The one who remembers my older child's name
as she weighs mushrooms on the cashier scale
The one who stands in a half-finished doorway.
Last Night's Dinner:
Lamb stuffed with apricots
Risotto with mushrooms
Still a mystery waiting to be solved. A list I haven't written.