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