I started keeping a notebook December 1999. I remember because on the very first page of that spiral-bound book–a lot like this one–I wrote my Christmas wish list. A notebook has been my constant companion ever since. It took me a year to fill one of these the year I went away to college (that nervous breakdown suddenly made more sense when I realised I wasn’t writing). I stopped for a while in 2008, after I graduated university, when I felt lost and unsure I had anything more to say.

My habits changed again with my first iPhone in 2010. What I used to write in my notebooks, I now wrote on Twitter, on Tumblr, even in the notes app. I didn’t have to save it for later. I could post my thoughts from the bus, from the concert, from the street. I needed paper less, but I still needed it. I used notebooks for specific novel projects, I filled an 8x10 sketchbook when I lived in Halifax, and I wrote diary-like entries in a Blueline dayplanner.

But then I came back to these notebooks. They’re all different sizes and colours. Some of them have lost their covers, pulled from the spiral binding after too many months travelling in my bag. They don’t fit nicely on a shelf. They don’t even fit in this box anymore.

This might make a more beautiful, more rebloggable photo if all my notebooks were perfectly rumpled Field Notes or easily stackable Moleskines. But then they wouldn’t be my notebooks. I was 17 in December 1999. I had just graduated high school, but not yet decided what I wanted to do next, only that I wanted to be a writer. I’m 33 now, and a writer is exactly what I am (though it’s not the only thing I am). This box is proof enough.