All the write moves
This mostly true short-story was originally published as part of the WriteLarge Podcast on Sept. 16, 2006.
All the write moves
I went in to this pretentious bookstore in Brookfield; you know, the one with three names and an extra middle initial? That's the one. So, There is was, trying to buy a journal. And I'm looking through them, And they all suck. They all suck.
So there is this girl looking thought the journals with me. I pick up of the journals with a Superman drawing on the cover, just because it seemed cool. Inside were all these crazy Superman drawings, spattering up the paper with cartoons and onomatopoeic explosions. Oh yeah, that'll help clear out the ol' writer's mind. Nothing like lavish distractions actually embedded into your blank page. Obviously, this was not a good journal. And so I put it down, and say, “Whoa! Yuck.” and the girl next to me starts to laugh.
“What's wrong?” she asks.
“That's a terrible journal.” I say.
“Well look at it,” I say.
She picks it up and says, “It must be for little kids.” She puts the Superman journal down. “What are you looking for?” she asks.
“A journal-- A nice ringed notebook.”
“Yeah. I like a ring bound notebook. It makes them easier to write in.” she says.
“Yeah. You can fold them.” I say. “I'll probably just go to Target, That's where I got my last one.”
“But the paper in those is no good,” she says.
“Yeah, but look at the covers on these...” I say.
“What’s wrong with them?”
“Well, don't take this the wrong way, but all of these are... well...girly.” Her blank stare tells me she didn't understand.
"Look at this one," I say, pointing to the bottom row. Pointing to what would be a great notebook, except that it's yellow, and has little pink ribbons on it, and little pink icons of gardening tools.
“And this one,” I say, handing her a journal with a cartoon kitty kat playing with a mouse on its cover.
“And this one,” I say, handing her another journal, this one the color of a speckled bird egg and criss-cross tied with a pink ribbon.
"Oh." she says. She hands me the one she had been holding when I arrived. “Here. This one has a typewriter on it.”
The book she hands me has a nice feel, a good size, and the paper is thick, and acid free. The artwork on the book is a little picture of a typewriter-- it's lame, but at least its not overstated.
“This is nice,” I say.
“I think I'll take it.”
“Good” she says.
I turn to leave, but then something causes me hesitate. I feel the tiniest pang of guilt as I realize that this girl might have picked this journal out for herself. “Listen,” I say. “What is your name?”
“Heidi.” she says.
“Thanks. I'll put your name in my new journal. So I'll remember you.”
And her eyes light up to match her huge smile, and she says, “Oh, thank you...” as I turn and leave.
Production Notes and Commentary
This story is a short and mostly true. Certainly I took some liberties with the description of the hideous journals that were actually for sale at Harry W. Schwartz that day, but it emotion, all of it, including the callous indifference the author had toward the woman at the bookstore, is reals. For reals, yo.I still have the journal. I have all my old journals, so that shouldn't suprise you. And this story, in its original format, is taped to the inside cover of the journal. Just like I told the girl. I have no idea if her real name is Heidie or not.
The Writelarge podcast was produced, written, edited and voiced by Gabe Wollenburg, which am me, and hosted on the mighty Archive.org.
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