This month I’ve been cleaning up assorted papers I’d accumulated over the last few years. Like many writers, I have a strange attraction to notebooks, some decorative, some plain spiral-bound of varying qualities, bought for various reasons: a pretty one on a clearance table, a cheap stenographer’s pad purchased on a journey. I’ve set aside a few of the nice ones from my collection to give as gifts.

However, that still left all the ones that were half-used, or tattered from being carried with me for days on end, or that had notes scribbled on just one or two pages. Part of the problem is that in the last few years I’ve mostly switched over to the Moleskine brand, since they produce a slender notebook that will open out flat; it fits much better in my everyday messenger bag than anything else I’ve tried. What to do with the small spiral-bounds?

Most have lots of empty pages I can use. On the used pages, I found Calls for Submissions, long past; those I tore out and recycled. I found grocery lists, packing lists, and the like; recycled. I also found my own writing ephemera: notes on a story or novel I was writing, early versions of story drafts, ideas for stories, opening scenes for stories I’d utterly forgotten about. I couldn’t bring myself to recycle them. I tore those pages out, trimmed the ragged edges, and placed them into the acid-free boxes I use for my novel manuscripts. Maybe someday, I’ll want to revisit them.

At Heroes and Heartbreakers in the last couple of days, you can read my thoughts on Kristen Callihan’s Firelight and on Clothes in the Time of Downton Abbey, which means 1912-1919.