On Quote Books As Breadcrumb Trails // A.C.

On Quote Books As Breadcrumb Trails // A.C.

Planner season is nigh, and my various notebooks and covers are playing musical chairs as I configure next year’s setup. Not only that, they’re condensing, consolidating, as if bulking up for the winter. A natural result of gathering paper and use over the course of the year? Part of an end-of-year nostalgic wish to have more to reflect on (and in) on hand? Probably both. As things shift around, my wallet insert has left the Passport TN, and on a whim I’ve replaced it with all the notebook inserts I’ve used to copy poems, quotes and excerpts. I usually like to keep my TNs on the lighter side, filing inserts away in an archive binder or box as soon as they’re out of blank pages. Out of sight, out of mind. So I didn’t realize it until I gathered all three copy books together, but it’s been a few years now since I started keeping them. And just by looking through them, a quietly intriguing amount has changed.

The most obvious thing is the handwriting. I can write smaller and more neatly now; with practice, the spacing (or leading and letting, for the type nerds out there) has gotten more consistent. Only on average, of course. There’s plenty of writing done quick and breezy in here. But sometimes I was consciously trying to access the semi-meditative state possible within practicing handlettering. I remember some excerpts took ages to copy because I’d pause at the end of every line, both to let the ink dry completely and to refocus and steady my hand:

Next are the colors. It’s fun to look through this as a sort of sample book, or a log of a journey in ink. There’s the one my friend gave me a sample of, there’s the one that’s super deep and complex and beautiful but takes way too long to dry, there’s the one I got a too-big bottle of years ago and still haven’t used up, actually. There’s that time I was really into golds and browns ONLY, here’s the time I got way too excited about inks with glitter and shimmer, and so on.

But the quotes themselves are the most fun for me to turn an analytical eye to, because they reveal the words that struck me most in moments past, the sorts of ideas I was mulling over in a given season. It’s interesting to compare my oldest notebook with my newest one and trace the themes that resurface years after our first encounter, turning slowly into motifs.

I mentioned in a past story: A See-Through Romance that I try to group quotes together by theme. That means leaving a few blank spots or pages on either side of something that feels important. I think I have a feel, nowadays, for how many lines of text will probably fit in a given space, factoring in pen size and how big and loose I’m writing. But knowing the exact amount of space to leave is impossible. “Will I really find something that fits this space later?” “What if there are too many things I want to write here later and I find out I didn’t leave enough space?” “What if I totally forget about this space and/or notebook entirely?”. Oh, it’s all possible. But you know what they say about putting out the energy into the world you wish to receive. The space you keep open with intention is likely to become filled with intention, too. And whatever remains on paper is always ready for harvest.

Text and photos by: A.C. Esguerra

Where to find A.C. : instagram @blueludebar

Read other stories by A.C. : Here

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