We’re early in the basement-renovation process at home. So early that we’re still in the clearing-out-the-stuff phase. I’ve been sorting through boxes and piles, discovering things squirrelled away in various recesses of the house, and in that process, something has come to my attention.

I may have a problem.

Empty notebooks. Some lovely hardcovers, some spiral-bound. Solid-coloured covers, patterned fronts, textured cases you can dip your fingers into it. Some with lined paper, some blank… I go back and forth on whether I prefer to write neatly or have the freedom to sketch alongside my notes. There are even a few truly beautiful notebooks that my sister-in-law made herself.

In summary, I have a lot of empty notebooks. Also some partially-filled ones, class notes mixed in with story ideas mixed in with grocery lists. The partials go in a separate box. I’m not sure I’ll ever comb through the old story ideas — after all, I haven’t yet — but it seems wrong to throw them out. At the very least, I can rescue the notebooks and fill up the remaining pages. They’ll be “purse notebooks,” used for the miscellaneous. But they don’t have the same status as the blank ones, the ones that get recruited to be dedicated story notebooks.

There’s something about a blank notebook. All that potential.¬†And I do use them. Just… slowly.

I knew I had extras lying around. It wasn’t until I put them all in one place that I realized quite how many. Oddly, I feel quite unrepentant about my giant notebook collection. With each discovery, there was a feeling of, “Oh, there you are! I’m happy to see you.”

Of course, the nicest notebooks are the hardest to write in. The ones that my sister-in-law made, in particular, are beautiful to look at and touch, but I’d have to make a few drafts of anything I was going to set between their pages. Since I use notebooks for rough notes, that seems a bit silly. Still, I keep them. They’re aspirational notebooks. Someday, if I work hard, I might write something good enough to be set between their pages.

They say the first step in getting help is recognizing that you have a problem. The thing is, I don’t have a problem with my problem. I do acknowledge that an impartial, logical observer (Hello, Mr. Spock) would conclude that this is an abnormally large collection of blank notebooks. But I don’t really intend to do anything about it.

Except write more.