Blog | Lauren Bell 08.18.14

The Notebook: One Copywriter's Romance With Ideas

Imagine a body of water in the morning. The surface like glass. Not a boat in sight. Most people would look at this body of water and say, “It looks so calm, so peaceful.” But I would look at this body of water and say, “I wonder how many dead bodies are in there!”

I’m not demented. At least not in the clinical sense. I’m what my mom calls, “different,” what society calls “weird,” and what PJA diplomatically calls “unconventional.” Whatever I am, I am also inarguably forgetful. Which is why I document random, fleeting thoughts like this one in a notebook that I have so creatively named: “The Notebook.”

No, not the Ryan Gosling one. “The Notebook” I speak of is unremarkable by all outward appearances: a blue, spiral-bound journal purchased from The Paper Source in 2008. Its well-loved, makeup-smeared pages contain mostly humorous, sometimes solemn scribbles documenting whatever I find noteworthy in everyday life — hilarious exchanges, random observations, universal truths, and one-of-a-kind moments.

Like the time I visited my grandma during Christmas 2013. The nursing home was playing holiday music over the stereo, and the elderly residents had gathered in the lobby to listen. “Jingle Bells” had just ended, and there was a brief moment of silence as we waited for the next song to begin. And then, Track #2 came on: “Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer.” The nurses stopped everything. We all looked at one another. And everyone burst into uncontrollable laughter. It was one of those perfect life moments you could not make up if you tried.

“The Notebook” contains shorter accounts as well. I’ve documented how getting a pickle from the pickle jar is often a team effort. (I need my husband’s strength to open the jar, and he needs my little hand to reach the bottom.) I’ve noted that animal crackers are, in fact, cookies. I’ve wondered where those “Made in China” stickers come from. And I’ve observed that when adults cannot think of anything else to say to someone else’s child, they invariably resort to complimenting their clothing. (Hate to break it to you, little ones, but your light-up shoes are not that cool.)

I’ve recorded ridiculous sound bytes, too. Like the time my friend told a story about when he was “in downtown Europe.” Or the time a 30-year old tough-guy bragged, “As soon as I move out of my ma’s house, I’m getting a wolf.” The time my husband jokingly called our Internet bandwidth “bandgirth.” And the night I confused “breaking the seal” with “opening the floodgates.”

I’ve wondered if toes leave unique prints like fingers do. If cats have belly buttons. If “bells” are the only things that can “toll.” If “hot” is the only thing that can be “piping.” And if fish pee. I’ve recounted the torture of living in the apartment below a heavy-footed sasquatch. The joy of applying your eyeliner perfectly symmetrically on the first try. And the tragicomedy of dropping the remote control on your face.

I know what you’re thinking: “Sooooo … when does Ryan Gosling come in?” Point is, “The Notebook” is far more important than a pretty face; it’s about ideas. Some creatives get theirs in the shower, or in bed, or in the car. Tina Fey once revealed that she got a line for “30 Rock” from her daughter. (“I want to go to there!”) And for me, “The Notebook,” this pu-pu platter of potential thought starters might come in handy on uninspired days when ideas aren’t streaming on-demand. At best, one of these random notes might spawn a deliriously successful advertising campaign that will make one of our clients millions of dollars and Facebook friends. At the very least, they’ll cheer me up on a dreary day, reminding me of the whimsy, the absurdity, and the extraordinary wonder there is to experience in everyday, ordinary life — no Ryan Gosling necessary. (Just kidding. Ryan, call me.)

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