Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hello, Reporter's Notebook, my old friend

My dear, loyal friend.
It's been such a long time since I've seen you, my dear spiraled Reporter's Notebook.

We parted ways at the end of the winter quarter of my freshman year, over one year ago now. When I was done writing enterprise stories for my Multimedia Storytelling journalism course, I knew I wanted nothing to do with you for a long time. It was stress that you brought me, not comfort or reassurance. Certainly not happiness.

In fact, I did anything in my power to pretend that you never were the haunting notebook that reminded me of how much work and how much interviewing and reporting I had left to do. I wrote notes to myself on your pages. I kept you in my purse, but only to pull out should I have a surge of inspiration, hear a wonderful quote or feel like writing down a secret nickname to share between friends.

The one thing I would never use you for was to take notes on interviews. After all, why would I ever want to do such a thing? Oh yeah, because I'm a journalism student.

I admit, I still came crawling back every once in a while.

A few times in the interim, I decided to produce a story that required me to have a reporter's notebook. To take notes on an event or to interview and write down my pre-meditated questions. Whenever I needed you, you were faithful to me, ready to be transferred to any bag or purse that I see fit, with your papers ravaged with illegible scribbles. And I thank you.

So I'm sorry that I abandoned you for such a long time, only providing you with occasional human contact whenever it was most convenient for me. You deserved better.

Which is why I am sure you were ecstatic when I opened you up this morning, threw you into my tote bag along with my laptop and my Disney Princess pencil case, to take you on a long trip into a suburb of Chicago where you would finally see the light of day once more. Instead of covering you with my hand while I wrote down whatever thoughts came to mind, I was letting you shine as the beacon of information gathering that you are.

Truly, I couldn't be happier to see you be put to your proper, God-given purpose once again.

And faithful to me, you remained.

When I picked you up today, I could tell that you were ready to provide me with the comfort of having a place to jot down the information I needed just as you had a year ago. Even if a voice recorder may be more efficient, the fact that you were there standing at the ready, needless of a battery charge, proved to me that you were once and for all the superior of all note-taking instruments. If your name didn't imply this already, then I might have been surprised, dear Notebook.

Still, I think you must have been happy when I chose to write in alternative voices between last and this year. Didn't you enjoy me flipping your pages not because I'd filled them up with quotes upon quotes, but because I had my own thoughts to throw in them? Maybe you even preferred to read my thoughts.

Today you reminded me that you can serve multiple purposes. Not only are you the friend with whom I can write down my most personal and random of musings, but you are the companion who always keeps me prepared to produce a great final writing product.

I've spent so much time feeling like I'd rather coop myself up in a room and write about my own thoughts than to learn about others' opinions and experiences and share those. But because you serve both of these purposes, you've given me new license to see these two paths in life as one in the same rather than mutually exclusive.

The act of writing, Reporter's Notebook, is something that not only puts our own individual personalities into a permanent form, but it allows us to connect with people in a similar way. Like we divulge our own secrets into our diaries, interviews allow us to peer into the minds of our subjects and let them divulge their own secrets from our pen onto your pages.

Though I've never felt quite comfortable in an interview-heavy setting, you gave me the confidence today - with your subliminal reminders and your literal physical presence - to explore the world as a reporter and not as a shy college sophomore.

For the rest of this quarter, and the rest of my life, I hope that the confidence that you gave me today will persist. It is such a wonderful feeling to do what you thought you couldn't, to be a journalist when you worry that your own social awkwardness might prevent you from ever adequately interacting with others. You alone, Reporter's Notebook, had the power to re-instill that wonderful feeling in me. And wipe away the fears too.

So again I just have to offer my thanks for your versatility and your loyalty. I can't wait to see what else you can do.

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