The Black Notebook
An experimental text about writing about writing
I was trying to come up with an idea to write for a Vocal challenge. The price was really decent, and it would help me pay my bills for some more time. But I had not come with a better idea than inserting it into a chapter of my Keanuverse series. It was hilarious, but I had the feeling that would not work with a wider audience.
I had spent days thinking about it, and even bought myself a Moleskine black notebook to help me get inspired, but I just doodled complete nonsense on it. And time was running out.
Maybe the Keanu story was excellent enough? I doubted it. I had aimed it towards the kind of readers that love absurdism. As I like to believe, absurd humor is the highest expression form of intelligence.
Some other believe that honor is reserved for sarcasm, but I do not believe in a joke that only someone with a stick inserted into his or her asshole would get.
The day I decided to finally write a second candidate was a cloudy day. One of those days when you just want to nap and not exist for a while. Life kept going as usual on the streets of the European city I live in, I could hear from here the buses’ diesel engines roaring.
I sat and started typing. I had thought about writing about writing. It was a strange concept, but I thought that someone would have used before, and it would not be as strange. So I began telling my readers about my first submission to the challenge. A fiction series about Keanu Reeves.
Then, I made up an incident about having bought a Moleskine black notebook just to get inspired. That was false, mostly. I had bought a cheap notebook. The doodles were real, though. I take pride in my simple compositions. Like the best songs, they begin with simple chords.
And all of that took us here, typing this experiment in front of my cheap laptop. Thinking about reality. Who am I? Am I the writer, or the character? How many layers I can insert into a story until the reader gets confused, or worse, bored, and goes to read an article about the 10 Best Series to Watch After a Valentine’s Day Breakup?
An idea came to my mind, and I began to write.
It was a stormy night in the mountains. I had found that small cabin by pure luck.
It was one of those abandoned cabins from horror movies where the killer stalks its victims and kills them one by one. While I was looking at the fire I had built in the fireplace, I heard a loud thud; And when I turned, I saw lying in the middle of the cabin a small black notebook.
And after having written that, I was wondering what else to try. It was a good beginning, but a sudden apparition was very Deus Ex Machina, and I did not like those. To me, a Deus Ex Machina meant an author did not know what to write next.
I wanted to win that challenge, because it was a way to earn enough money to avoid working in a factory for some more months. I never liked that kind of work, because losing a limb was not worth a mediocre payroll.
I had to focus on my goal. Earning the $20,000 prize, or at least, be featured in the front page of Vocal.
The next day I was at home, typing again on my keyboard, this time I was more determined to write something meaningful. My father had tried to convince me again to take another shitty job at a truck factory, and I was definitely not going back there. I had very good reasons to leave.
I tried a different approach to my story and changed the part of the falling notebook into something else.
…I heard a loud thud. Someone was knocking at the door. I cautiously approached it and opened it just a crack. Suddenly, the door opened wide, and a bearded giant stood there, holding a black notebook in his hand.
“Yer’ a wizard, Harry.” He said.
This was even worse. After this change I had a Deus Ex Machina. Now I had that and potential plagiarism.
The truth was that I did not have any ideas. I needed to win. I wanted that money.
So, there I was, lost in my own ideas, trying to think about a decent story when a talking cow came through the ceiling, and gave me $20,000.
That was kind of weird, because here we use Euros.