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Written by Beth Fergusson

Safely contained in a back pocket or hidden away in the depths of a satchel, sits page upon page of creativity, coated in an aged leather binding. A single piece of elastic secures the pages shut; guarding the valuable knowledge captured inside. A small notebook that contains a story.

With restrictions closing in from every corner, I found my creative light was beginning to dim. It’s understandable. The days have begun to repeat themselves to the point where the days of the week become even more difficult to decipher. That was until I discovered a notebook. A small, slightly discoloured leather book, with faint scratches along the surface. I tore the few used pages from the binding and held in my hand; a blank canvas. The card pages are a pristine white, once shielded by leather, now glowing with possibilities. It’s just an ordinary book, no different to the one that sits in that drawer surrounded by biros and a random selection of other items that aren’t ready to be discarded just yet. Whether you consider yourself creative or not, that notebook is waiting for you. Longing for ink upon its pages and giving in to it will present you with a whole new perspective to explore.

Pen in hand, I took to transforming the pages into works of art. The first page consisted of a series of pencil drawings, of plants that are visible from my window. The drawings were good. With shadow providing depth and pressure of pencil providing texture. But, perhaps for my first entry I was a little too ambitious. There aren’t enough hours in the day for me to continue filling pages with realistic form. So, my ambition shrunk as I closed the pages once more and placed it back in the depths of the drawer.

A few more days go by and the little echo I hear in the back of my head grows louder and louder until I can no longer ignore it. Ignorance is never a desirable quality so I know I cannot allow myself to revert back into the oblivious skeleton I have been for so many months prior. I needed to find a loophole within my plan. By the following week, I did not get anywhere. In frustration, I snatch the little pocket from its grave and slam it open on the kitchen side. The pristine white pages mocking me as I ponder over its potential contents. In my right hand my fingers intertwine with the pen as it dances through them while my left hand does that really annoying tapping thing that wouldn’t be tolerated if that noise was coming from anyone but myself. My frustration is a new level, not only with my lack of solutions but mostly with this irritating tapping sound I started but now I have some sort of little rhythm going on and I’ve been doing it so long that it wouldn’t feel right to stop. I drop the pen into the pages and think of something more useful to put my time towards.

Time for a cup of tea I reckon. As I carelessly swing the boiled kettle towards my favourite sports direct mug a couple of stray water droplets fly out of the spout and attack the pristine white card pages of the book. Placing the kettle down gently after filling my mug, I spend a period of roughly 5 minutes of shouting abuse at myself because this could have been prevented if I hadn’t had a strop in the first place. I take a very deep breath, close my eyes and try to silence the internal screaming of frustration. Turning back towards the mug which still requires milk, my eyes wander over to my failed attempt at battling my lack of creativity. To my surprise the page was full of what resembles smoke. The black ink infused with the water on the paper unveiling the rich blue pigment from within. It appears as though the ink and water had danced and fought and kissed and hated, all while my back was turned. I stared, for a while I may add. Without hesitation I steal some Tipex from the pencil case on the table and a snapped ruler that sits in that drawer surrounded by biros and a random selection of other items that aren’t ready to be discarded just yet. I smother its barley flat edge in the Tipex and scrape it over the flowing ink in rough angled marks. I throw a little loose detail as the final layer and stare at a beautifully disorganised mess.

This experience has taught me so much. That art is interpretation of how you perceive yourself. The less creative I feel, the less I create. Let the frustration you feel towards the world right now be seen within the pages of your own pocket book. Fill it with texture, words, illustrations every day. Let making your mark in this book guide you to making your mark on the world and tell a story.

So, my challenge to you is to grasp that notebook tight and fill every page.

Written by Beth Fergusson