It started in college. I was buying my text books for the fall quarter of my freshman year, and I saw a small, blue spiral-bound notebook emblazoned with the school logo. On a whim, I decided to buy the notebook and wandered over to the campus cafe. I was eighteen and felt so grown-up ordering a cup of coffee and a croissant. Balancing my drink and pastry and books and shiny new notebook, I settled into a seat — the murmurs of other students and the lilt of background music felt…just right.

I opened the notebook. It was too early in the school year to start studying and I wasn’t sure what to do. I doodled a bit and without thinking too much about it, I started writing. I don’t have that notebook anymore and I don’t know what I wrote that first day, but I have continued to write in small notebooks in coffee shops, occasionally doodling along the margins. Many were spiral bound, some were not, all were crammed with my teeny tiny writing. And almost always, I had a cup of coffee and croissant beside my notebook.

I rarely wrote in the comfort of my home; there was something about the bustle of a coffee shop that I loved and craved. My friends and family thought it was a funny quirk and often strangers would come up to me to tell me of their own aspirations to write a novel. I sought out cafes in Los Angeles, Japan, Indonesia, Europe, San Francisco and Seattle. I think there’s something magical about coffee shops and I feel lucky to live in a city that seems to have an endless supply.

What did I write about in these notebooks of mine? I wasn’t, alas, creating the next Harry Potter, though there was plenty of fantasy involved. I wrote whatever came to mind, whether it was what I ate, who I was crushing on, my latest foible, my inability to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing in this life.

Now I’m going digital and virtual and all bloggy with my habit. Welcome to my online notebook.


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