Inspiring piece, Shaunta. I, too, have tried multiple times to keep notebooks, journals, and diaries — manual, app, computer, and internet ones. I don’t give up as much as feel the writing (especially Morning Pages or daily journaling) keeps we wallowing in whatever crap happened during the day and whatever emotions that crap cultivated. I don’t get it out as much as keep it around.
When I read back over an entry — hours, days, weeks, months, or years later — all those distant feelings of hurt, anger, sadness are resurrected, reborn fresh and new. I have the opportunity to experience the pain multiple times — yeah! I’ve shredded most of my notebook pages just to release the feelings captured in the words.
I do keep a small notebook in my purse for quick thoughts, but inspiration has a way of striking when I am driving or when my purse, and therefore notebook, are not available.
But, like you, I have a crush on notebooks and own several pristine ones. I have the same crush on cookbooks when I almost never cook!
I can’t reconcile the need for a notebook history with the extreme reluctance to keep a written history, even if it’s only lists, reminders, and notes.
I know many writers do rough drafts on paper and then transcribe to the computer. My written drafts rarely reach the screen. That process is painful and arduous to me.
My final assessment is that computers and my phone are the best notebooks for me, even if they have definite limitations. Perhaps, for me, recording experiences and feelings on-the-fly, soon after they occur, is not a beneficial or healthy activity. Time and distance are my emotional friends. At least that’s what I think.