Recently I've been teaching adults. One is a creative writing course at the local community college and the other is teachers in an online course in teaching writing. Both address keeping a writer's notebook. Now me, I am totally right brained and random abstract. I could never, and would never want the ghastly job of being an accountant. I need something to keep the right brain revved up, and accounting just wouldn't do it. Besides math is a four letter word. Anyway, forever I kept notes on scraps of paper whenever I noticed something I didn't want to forget and thought I might one day work a small portion into my writing somehow. Sometimes it was just the way another writer skewered something, other times it might be a memory that was jogged, and observation, a thread that lead me somewhere in thought, a new idea. But those golden nuggets were spread between the bottom of my purse, a desk drawer, a pocket, the kitchen counter--in other words they were pretty useless because I didn't keep track of them. And then I was at a writing seminar and this writer displayed her writer's notebook. I can remember the slap I gave to my forehead thinking, wow, what a concept! How lame is that? I'd never thought of it. Immediately I purchased a big ole spiral notebook that I tried to drag around with me everywhere, but found that didn't work in the middle of the grocery store. So next, I purchased a smaller steno pad. After two entries in that and trying to cram it in my purse I realized that was futile as well. Then I saw this beautiful journal in Barnes & Noble and just knew that if I had that, I would collect all kinds of wonderful notes and artifacts that would spark my writing and hurtle me toward bestsellerdom. I have pages of notes, taped-in magazine and newspaper articles, pictures, wonderful stuff that may someday trickle into a story. Trouble is, I do a lot of my best thinking while driving. I'd try to scribble something down on the seat beside me while doing 60 mph, and some of you are thinking right now, oh my god, I was on the road with her! After enough near misses, I bought a little bitty personal recorder and that has worked out better. Once I'm home I can transcribe whatever I said into it into my lovely Barnes & Noble journal. I have to be careful not to abuse my tiny personal recorder and fill it up with reminders to pick up my prescription, don't forget to stop and get bread, take the clothes to the cleaner, send the tax collector a check, etc. Otherwise I don't have room for my writerly notes. And of course I can't forget to transcribe my verbal recordings of writing wisdom or record over them. But sometimes, right brain takes control and I do just that. In the long run, my notebook is indespensible. It is where I collect my life and return to repeadedtly to fuel my right brain. Anybody else keep a writer's notebook?