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Mysteries in Mini-Notebooks

A journey

By Hallie CarlPublished 8 months ago 3 min read
2
Mysteries in Mini-Notebooks
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Every day of junior high, as I headed to the large cafeteria that assaulted the senses with smells of fried foods, industrial cleaner and hundreds of teenagers, I walked past the student store. One day I stopped and looked through the items for sale. I noticed a small flip notebook, similar to the ones you see police officers use on tv, except cheaper and less official looking. I purchased one for the whopping cost of 25 cents. I gripped my new purchase in my hands and felt a jolt of electricity. The little notebook seemed to hold possibilities.

I sat down at a sticky table, away from people and began to write. Even though this was over 35 years ago, I recall a mystery story forming in the notebook, written in very official hot pink ink. The story was a mixture of Edgar Allen Poe and a 13 year old. A person awaking in a room, not sure how they arrived there. The room seemed to have no doors or windows. The person awoke afraid and frantic. How did they get here? How would they escape? Who had them locked in this space with no doors or windows?

As I wrote, an excitement grew in me. I liked this. I liked creating a character, a setting, a plot. While the plot of this short story hit a dead end very quickly, I began to make a regular habit of getting more mini notebooks and filling them with new stories. Soon, I was adding dialogue, depth and intensity.

For Christmas I asked for a typewriter. I wanted to write faster, not held back by the constraints of a little notebook and a pen. While I had absolutely no typing skills, I began to spend more time with that typewriter than people. My typing style was unconventional. Mostly consisting of the use of four fingers, with my one, disfigured finger (from sucking it as a child) sticking in the air to stay out of the way.

I awoke in the middle of the night some times with story ideas, or arcs to the ones I was writing. By high school, these stories were books. The characters were important to me. I cared about their stories like they were real people. I began to allow classmates and friends to borrow my books and read them. I loved the feedback. Most of it was not helpful, they were just impressed by what I was doing and didn't have a lot to say about what could make a book better.

As I entered adulthood, I stopped writing. No particular event caused me to do this. But it always felt like a core part of me was lost. My whole world had been writing and now it seemed like a memory that belonged to someone else.

After some intense trauma in the last year, I decided it was time to open a metaphorical new mini notebook and start writing. Now, instead of fictional characters and their experiences dotting the page, it was my story. The healing that has come from putting my thoughts onto page has been incomparable. The process to write hard things is a challenge for me, but I have finally developed a new style.

I am not sure where those mini notebooks are from junior high. I wish I had kept them, but they were lost along the way. Their effect was magical on my life. A blank page meant a doorway into something new. A place where I could make anything happen. I am grateful I found the doorway again, opened it, and stepped through.

Life
2

About the Creator

Hallie Carl

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  • Judy Hosch7 months ago

    Wonderful. The last paragraph is touching. I am also grateful you found that doorway & stepped through.

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