The Orange Notebook

The Orange Notebook

by Jennifer Grow ’94

Unbound, I am dismantling notebooks. And it feels so good. Throwing away old lists. Forgotten sentences. Half-finished writing projects and plans for writing projects. I am streamlining the places where I record my own creativity. Trying to spill out into only a few notebooks this fall, a season of change, both atmospheric and academic.

I’ve de-spiraled two notebooks already, salvaging only the pages that still interest me, pulling the long silver coils from cardboard bindings. As I sit on a bench outside my daughter’s ballet studio (because don’t the biggest moments of writing progress always happen during times of forced waiting, when there is simply nothing more to do but check Twitter one more time or face the writing demons) I hold on my lap an emaciated composition notebook, its guts in a pile beside me. Now the blank pages fill up behind the organized lists of various projects in progress–or not–and I feel ready. Ready to stop procrastinating. Ready to stop making excuses. Ready to write–both for here and not, keeping my eyes set on bigger goals.

And as I sit here, I read this quote again, the third time since discovering it in the small, orange notebook that now is in pieces in the bottom of my bag and will be safely discarded when I get home.

Jennifer Grow ’94 lives in Florence, Mass., and blogs at about life as a mother writer of three children. In the professional world, she is a writer, editor and, most recently, social media strategist at Williams College. Her work has appeared in Meat for Tea and (the late) Shovel Magazine, and she has written guest posts on several blogs, including

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About Sandi Sonnenfeld

Sandi Sonnenfeld is a fiction writer and essayist. Her memoir, This Is How I Speak (2002: Impassio Press), which recounts how her views about what it means to be a woman in contemporary America changed after suffering a dangerous sexual assault, was a Booksense 76 finalist. With the memoir’s publication, she was named a 2002 Celebration Author by the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, which recognizes writers whose work merits special notice. Sandi has published more than two-dozen short stories and essays in Sojourner, Voices West, Hayden’s Ferry Review, ACM, Raven Chronicles, Necessary Fiction, Perigee, Revolution House and The Doctor TJ Eckleburg Review among others. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Sandi holds an MFA in Fiction Writing from the University of Washington, where she won the Loren D. Milliman Writing Fellowship. She currently resides in New York's glorious Hudson Valley with her husband and the two of the world's most playful cats.

4 thoughts on “The Orange Notebook

    • Thanks, Sibella. While I’m not a gardener, I can see the parallels between the crafts. I love the visual effects of a beautiful garden and know it takes a lot of work to get there … not unlike a well-crafted story!

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