Life, Poetry, Quotes, Writing

The thrill & embarrassment of finding an old notebook


I found an old notebook the other day. And when I say old, I really mean it: this is a notebook I used when I was in my teens. I wrote down short poems I had written, and quotes I liked from books and songs and movies. Kind of like a Facebook page or Tumblr blog these days I guess, except all done in pen and pencil and tucked away between the covers.


Reading my old poetry is 100% cringe-worthy. I can read my old poetry collections without suffering any embarrassment, but the poems in my notebook pre-dates all that and most of it is too precious and… well, I guess “lame is probably the word I’m looking for.

The quotes and short diary-notes I’ve written down in this notebook are more interesting to me now. There’s lots of poetry in there, most of it by Swedish authors, but also lines and verses from T.S. Eliot, Christina Rossetti, and William Blake too. There are also many “empowering” and “insightful” quotes, and many of those are still making the rounds on the internet. “Stick together, a circle has no behind.”  “The world is a book. And they who stay at home read only the first page.” But also more original things (or so I’d like to think, anyway): quotes taken from Federico Garcia-Lorca, The Rigveda, Paul Verlaine, and warrior-songs from Native American tribes.


In one place, there are quotes by Tolstoy, Rush and T.S. Eliot on the very same page. I like that. It describes my brain both then and now quite well.

In fact, one of the things I can tell from this notebook, is that even though I am in many ways a very, very different person now than I was then, I can still feel part of that teenager inside my: she’s there, peering out from behind my other experiences (and wrinkles). She was less experienced, more sensitive to what the world thought of her, she agonized over things that shouldn’t have bothered her, and her poetry was definitely lacking… But she was me, she is me, and I am her, even though my edges have been worn down by time and life and the world, and even though the face looking back at me in the mirror looks a bit different than it did then.

And one thing is for sure: her handwriting was a whole lot better and more legible than mine.

3 thoughts on “The thrill & embarrassment of finding an old notebook”

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