Over a week ago I took my car to a mechanic to have my wheels aligned. To pass the time while waiting for my car I walked to a nearby McDonald’s for some lunch and to proofread some upcoming posts. I brought what I call my writing satchel. It contains pens, pencils, my tablet, a power pack, and some items for reading. When it was almost time to go back to the shop for my car I thought about my writer’s notebook. It was in my satchel. I remembered what I considered at the children’s program at church: keep the notebook close at hand. When I left I took out the notebook and put it in my back pocket rather than stored away.
Sometimes I have not brought it to work because I planned to use my break time to read. I have changed that practice because I never know when inspiration will hit. Some days I may have planned to read, but if a great idea hits me, then I want to be ready to take notes instead.
While walking back to the mechanic shop I reminded myself of how I need to keep my eyes open more widely and watch the world. I am an introverted person and a thinker, and so sometimes I am more focused on my own thoughts than on what is happening around me. I recently mentioned that I re-read one of my childhood favorites Dear Mr. Henshaw. Early in the story Leigh asks his favorite author, Mr. Henshaw, for advice on writing. Henshaw tells him to “read, look, listen, think, and write.” I cannot look and listen if I am always in my own world. Carrying the notebook with me at all times can serve as a reminder to continue watching and continue thinking about what I can write
When I arrived at the mechanic shop he told me he does not take cards, and so I drove to an ATM to get cash. Yes, he let me take my car before I paid. The line at the drive thru ATM was severely backed up, and so I used that time to write notes for this post. This time the notebook was next to me on the passenger seat, not stored away. I will remember this day as a lesson on the writing life.