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I keep two notebooks on my desk.

The first notebook is over-sized – I bought it at an extravagant home store and thought, this will change my life. In the giant notebook, I make tidy, bullet-pointed lists of everything I must do: edit the document, schedule the meeting, pay the exterminator, defrost the chicken. Cuticle cream, cheaper data plan, protein powder, heart worm pills. I feel a strange almost-satisfaction as I check things off this list. It means I am moving, adult-like, through the day. It means I matter.

The second notebook has a worn cover and unlined pages. It is a mess. Pages are dog-eared, words are scrawled sideways, in cursive or all caps, arrows point from one scribble to another. Often, I have to squint and turn the notebook upside-down to decipher what I have written. I jot down books to read. Art to look at. Poetry fragments. Ideas. Phrases I hear people say that are so lovely, they make me want to weep. The beginnings of things I mean to write – a piece about how tired I am of my body. A description of what gardenia smells like – sweet and putrid.

Something I want to write in notebook #2, but do not: burn notebook #1.


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