by Dean Harris

Paper Paralysis

For many people, the humble notebook is a trusted and favourite tool, particularly in aid of creative pursuits. Unfortunately, as much as I might like to, I can’t count myself amongst their number.

There is a beauty to be found in a notebook. One that I am particularly fond of. A notebook whose pages are filled with ideas and thoughts and doodles is undoubtedly beautiful. A blank notebook holds an incredibly strong sense of possibility. Every page in a notebook can be transformed in to just about anything.

But there is something else to be found in a notebook. A sense of permanence.

It is the possibility, and the sense of permanence that cripple me every time I open a page. My internal voice is silenced, and anything I wanted to write disappears. It is as though the blank page has cause a form or mental paralysis. A paper paralysis.

For me, the computer and the plain text file are the tools I use to explore my ideas. A computer holds none of the permanence that scares me about my notebooks, but has all of the possibility.

If I’m unhappy with an idea or completely lose confidence in it, I’m little more than a keystroke from removing it from my life. Words on a screen can be discarded on a whim. That is of immense value for my “creativity”.

And so, I find myself at once loving and loathing each and every notebook I own. The beauty and the possibility entice me. The possibility and the permanence paralyse me.