Notebooks by Max Chu

My notebook, in which I write all of my prompts and poems and draw all of my stick figures and mindless doodles, is larger than most; or at least larger than the standard composition notebook that one uses in math class, with the ruler and metric conversion tables. The cover is vibrantly red, with a three sided black diamond drawn in sharpie and a looted bar code sticker pasted in the middle. The pages are blank, not lined, and presumably are intended for professional drawings and paintings, but are instead covered in multicolored ramblings about the ocean and interesting words or phrases overheard. Everything about my notebook is uniquely me. Every inch has been touched or written on, and it’s been shoved in my backpack so many times that the corners are all crinkly. There are many stories in my notebook, literally and symbolically and if you ever meet me, ask to see it, and I will gladly show you the place where there used to be a sticker, but I decided against it, or a list of books I’ve been meaning to read, or some drawing that looks like it took seconds, but in actuality took hours.

Kenzo’s notebook is small and black and a very nice Moleskine, which he’s drawn all over with gold sharpie. The front has his initials, K.F., in the center of a diamond. Every one of the pages in his book is taken up by a comic strip in which two detailed stick figures are forever fighting. In fact, there are more drawings in his book than actual writing. You’ll see a place where he finished detailing a prompt, and then in the last minutes, drew an entire comic book. Harmony’s notebook is large, but not quite as large as mine. It’s light blue and somehow gives off the feeling of being cloudlike and holy. The pages are lined with a block at the top of the page for the date, in which I’ve seen her put quotes, drawings, and on occasion, the date itself. Huck’s notebook is a purple variation on the classic black composition. It’s contents are very too the point, no doodles or drawings, only sentences in Huck’s scrawled handwriting. It gives you the feeling that he’s someone like DaVinci or Newton, someone who’s thinking great thoughts at a rate that’s too fast for his hand.

Every creative writer has a notebook like this, where they put their deepest darkest, most controversial fears, or where they are outlining the next great dissertation. Each one is unique and reflects the writer’s own style and aesthetic so well that if a stranger were to look through the notebook, by the end of the reading they would know the person as if they were a friend. Every single thing that we put in our notebooks says something about who we are, from the size and style of our handwriting, to what’s in the blank spaces of our sentences. The variety of styles that you could find in creative writing just goes to show how much creative wiggle room we have; how much ability we have to express ourselves as the unique individuals that we are. The painters have their palates, the musicians have their solos. We writers, well we have our notebooks.​

Max Chu, class of 2020

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