It’s purple and has 3 rings

I recently joked to a friend that I need an endless piece of notebook paper.  I seems like I always find myself with an unfortunate lack of paper when a new idea pops into my head.  I am too often left scrambling to find any piece of paper to record the idea on.  Legal pads, Post-its, the back of a receipt . . . I have a 3-ring binder that is full of big sheets of paper and little scraps.  I love that binder.

My 3-ring binder is purple and worn, but it is the roadmap through my imagination.  I’ve had this binder forever.  As a result it contains years and years worth of writing.  The very first poem that I ever wrote is in that binder.  I was fourteen years old when I wrote that poem.

Hundreds more pieces of paper have followed since I was fourteen.  Some of those pieces of paper are ripped and torn.  Some of those papers are folded or wrinkled.  Some are purple or yellow.  Some are printed from a computer.  Most of them are covered in scribbles as my pen searched from the right words.  Each of those pieces of paper is a piece of me, though.  They are a snapshot of the moment in my life that inspired me to put pen to paper.  And all of those pieces of paper are held together in my well-worn, purple, 3-ring binder.

I know it sounds crazy to rave over a cheap binder, but as a writer that binder represents my heart.  If you were to hold that binder in your hands you would be holding me.  You might look at it and see the same generic binder used my high school and college students, the same binder filled with paperwork in an office.  It is nothing special on the outside.  What is special about that binder is what it holds on the inside.

I bought my binder when I was attending broadcasting school to hold all of my class notes and artist info for use when I was on the air.  I picked that binder because it was big and it was purple.  That was it.  Clouds didn’t part.  Angels didn’t sing.  I needed an office supply for school and was lucky enough to find one in my favorite color.

At that time the pieces of paper that were my writings were housed in an ugly turquoise binder, and they were straining the 1-inch rings.  To open the rings that of that turquoise binder was to tempt a disastrous explosion of paper.  You could almost hear the papers sigh when they eventually got moved into the much roomier digs of the purple, 3-inch binder.

People may look at my binder, especially in this technological age, and ask why I don’t just do my writing on my laptop and save my work there.  Sure, it would make editing easier.  It would get rid of the problem of not being able to find a piece of paper when I need it.  Using my laptop would also be easier (and more aesthetically pleasing) to transport than my purple, 3-ring binder.  But I can refute each of those arguments.

I enjoy the feel of the paper beneath my hand.  I love the feeling of having my fingers wrapped around a pen.  I enjoy watching the letters form into words as they flow from my imagination.  I love looking at a completed piece and seeing the scribbled out lines from where I changed my mind on wording.  I love the sloppy handwriting of a frantically written piece where my pen raced to get the words out as fast as my head was spewing them like a literary volcanic eruption.  I love the neat, round penmanship of a piece that took time and thought to write.  I look at the original copy of a completed piece and know that it’s not perfect, but I also know that it has character and personality.  It is rough around the edges.  It is raw and beautiful.  It is everything that I am in my most vulnerable state.

Part of that goes along with the paper that the piece is written on.  I’m sure you know that inspiration can and does come from anywhere and from anything.  The words write themselves sometimes and it’s just a matter of getting them written down before they are forgotten.  That’s when the fun begins . . . the search for anything to record the words so that you can purge yourself of the idea before you go crazy or before it is lost in oblivion.  It is part of the adventure of being a writer.  That and finding a pen that actually works.  It always seems like whenever I have a truly GREAT idea I can NOT find a single pen that works.

As far as transportation of my purple, 3-ring binder . . . Does the Mona Lisa travel?  How about the St. Louis Arch or the LeaningTower of Pisa?  Do you pack up the pyramids and take them with you wherever you go?  No.  People go to those works to revel in their beauty.  I am not trying to equate my writing to those or any other priceless work of or feat of engineering.  But that binder is my personal work of art.  To me it is priceless.  It is my trophy of a life well lived.  I don’t need to carry it around like a billboard.  Instead I write more and continue to add to it.  Some people keep scrapbooks or a memory box.  I keep a 3-ring binder.

As a fellow writer how do you do most of your writing?  Do you fire up the laptop whenever inspiration strikes, or do you keep it old-school like me and put pen to paper?

How do you organize and store your collective writings?

One day (soon) I will outgrow the purple binder.  Will I buy a bigger one and replace it?  No.  I will buy a new one and start the next volume of my writing career.  Until then the collective works of love, hate, sadness, joy, silliness, anger, and every other emotion that has inspired me to write since I was fourteen-years-old shall continue to grow in the worn, dusty, cracked-plastic-covered, 3-inch, purple 3-ring binder.  It is the body that holds my heart and soul.

What does yours look like?

Until next time . . . 


Writing (poem)

The words pour out
Like blood from a wound
Laughter and sadness
Anger and joy, too
It all comes out
Onto paper through my ink
Sometimes slow and reluctant
Sometimes quick as a blink
I can say on paper
What I can’t say to friends
I can unleash all that I feel
Emotions that have no end
So, flow out of me, oh written word
Lay down all I feel inside
Hold on to the secrets I hold so dear
Here I have nothing to hide
By:  Carrie Leigh

Dying Flower (poem)

Wilting with no roots
Dying in the light
Struggling to survive
Fighting everyday for life
A big bright flower
In a small weak garden
Transplanted to a better life
Is still not, daily, thriving
The petals die
Fall to the ground
The leave so near death
As they turn brown
Encouraged with light
Nursed along
Showered with nurturing
But the flower won’t last long
How to save a flower
That’s afraid to live
How to make it reach the sun
So its true beauty it will give
How to rescue the flower
From slow and certain death
How to convince the flower
To take another breath
How long should the flower
Be given to fight
Before the garden is given
To the eternal garden of the night
By:  Carrie Leigh

Outside (poem)

Did I make a mistake
In coming into your world
Did I fall in over my head
When my dream future unfurled
What was once so unreachable
Is now tearing me apart
I happily jumped into a nightmare
When I blindly followed my heart
I’ve grown and changed, gotten better
But I’ll never be good enough
I’ll always be reaching up for more
Not knowing the climb would be so rough
Though you brought me in and made me yours
Why do I still feel I’m outside
I’ll never really be at home
Frustrated tears you make me cry
I try to be perfect
I strive to do well
But my daily failures slap me in the face
Ringing my inadequacies like a bell
I wanted to be with you
For so many years
But now that you’re my reality
I constantly live in fear
By:  Carrie Leigh

But I Love Writing . . .

I love writing!  I really love writing!  I adore getting an idea in my head for a poem or short story.  I love sitting down with a notebook, piece of scrap paper, or my laptop and seeing my idea come to life.  I love the scribbles that come with reworded lines.  I love reading the finished product and feeling the sense of pride that comes with knowing that I created a piece of art.

What I do not love . . . editing.

I’ve told you before that back in June I set a goal to write a book.  Chapters, a plotline, a determined heroine, a strong but broken hero, romance, plot twists, the whole bit.  I wrote the first words while sitting at work on June 10th.  Five months and three days later, with an ecstatic scream and a few happy tears, I wrote “the end.”  But writing the book was only part of my goal.  I ultimately wanted to publish it on Amazon as an eBook.  I have no delusions of becoming a famous author.  I just wanted to see if I had it in me to finish a book when I had never done so before, and then take the chance of putting it out into the world for people to (hopefully) love or (less hopefully) hate.

Writing the book was so much fun.  I got to know the characters and felt like they were the ones telling their story through my pen.  I laughed with them.  My heart went out to them.  I got angry with them.  I fell in love with them.

Now I am editing.  Yuck!

Its one thing to sit down and read a good book.  It’s another thing to sit down and write (what you hope is) a good book.  It is a tedious labor of love and with bored dedication that a writer sits down to edit their own book.  You don’t get to read the story and lose yourself in the characters plight.  You can’t.  Why?  Because you are too busy making sure commas, apostrophes, and quotation marks are where they should be, and that everything is spelled correctly.

I very easily could have gotten someone to do the editing for me, and probably should have, if for no other reason than to have a fresh pair of eyes see things that I couldn’t.  After all, I am too attached to the story.  But this book is my baby.  I had the initial idea.  I developed the characters.  The story grew in my head.  Having someone else edit it would be like a mother going through an entire 9 month pregnancy only to have somebody else give birth for her.

I am almost done with the editing.  I look forward to the day (soon) when the book is complete.  I already have an idea for my next book and eagerly look ahead to the process of writing that one.  I will edit it myself, as well.  But no matter how many times I go through this process I will still hate editing.

But I love writing . . .

My Pen (poem)

Heartbreak overflowing
A warm smile showing
New love growing
It all flows from my pen
Emotions into words
like a whisper barely heard
All the joy, sadness, hope and hurt,
It all flows from my pen
A timeline of my heart
Each sentence, an emotional part
of life, sometimes easy, sometimes hard
It all flows from my pen
All the tears held in
and the love there to give
Every smile and sin
It all flows from my pen
A journal to be read
As a highway to my head
Pieces of my heart, alive and dead,
It all flows from my pen
By:  Carrie Leigh

Nice to meet you!

Greetings and salutations, my friend.  Welcome to this new venture in my writing “career.”

As we get to know each other more you will learn that I love to talk and love to write . . . poems, short stories, e-mails, notes-to-self, grocery lists, messages in greeting cards.  Most of what I write is, in my own mind, brilliant . . . Pulitzer prize winning.  Others may disagree, but who cares!  Give me a pen and an empty notebook and I am good to go.
I am a mom, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, employee, and arachnophobe.  I am loud-mouthed, short-tempered, short on patience, and just short.
My friends are my world.  I have few close friends, but I hold those people very close to my heart and consider them to be family more than my own family in most instances.  My best friend is a guy whose girlfriend is a complete fucking idiot who I want to punch in the face sometimes.  She is his mistake though, so what’s a girl to do?  Maybe his girlfriend is my lesson in patience.
I am a total sap.  Romantic stories reduce me to tears at the drop of a hat.  It’s actually quite pathetic.  In all honesty though there is a baseball-themed beer commercial on t.v. that has the same effect on me.  Crybaby, you may say.  Nope.  I am just overly moved by the emotion conveyed in a message.  Alright, that’s bullshit.  I am an overly sensitive crybaby.  I always make sure to keep tissues close by.I am one who claims to seek calm and order in my life.  A childhood of chaos and constant change have made me fear change and drama.  Yet, somehow it finds me always.  Maybe I subconsciously seek it out because that is the only way I know how to live.  What do you think?I am a watcher (and judge) of people.  I say that I try not to judge, but who am I kidding.  You are lying to yourself if you say you never judge people.  You know I am right.  I do like to watch people though.  Their actions and lack of actions say more about  person than words ever will.  I learn more about my friends by just watching the way they behave.

Now I am just rambling.  I told you I love to talk.

We shall meet again soon, maybe with a specific topic in mind.

Until we meet again, my friend.