I have always loved journals. Something about them appeals to the part of me that wants to be a writer when I grow up. There’s the not-quite-like-a-new-book smell of them and the smooth feel of the blank pages. On some, the lines go on for miles across all the pages, giving form to unthought possibilities. On others, the pages are blank and perfect, whispering a little as you turn them, asking for your time, your thoughts, your chance.

Even as I’ve always loved journals, and notebooks, and collections of bound paper, I’ve also had an ongoing battle with another part of me, the Manager who demands of the Dreamer all sorts of things. “What is this for?” the Manager will ask, “What specifically?” The Dreamer, ever wandering through fields of daisies with her head in the clouds, replies absentmindedly, “Oh, you know, for thoughts and ideas…” And the Manager, impatient now at this lack of an answer, points out how nice they look without that purposeless scribbling, how they will save just fine, how the Dreamer should wait until she has a plan – “You know, a story idea, a grouping of thoughts, a real set of things to say.”

When did the Manager gain the megaphone in my head? My mother recently mailed me notebooks of stories I wrote in grade school – not unorganized at all, but one topic in each. Even then, it seems, the part of me that wants – needs? – to put words on paper was listening to the part of me that needs – wants? – order and structure.

The Manager prefers writing with the clean lines of text on the screen – no margin jottings, easy synonym referencing, automatic spell check. The Dreamer is quite impractical and full of notions and ideas and a desire for underlines and highlights doodled all over the pages of whatever paper source is near.

I have a beautiful journal that’s made of special paper from Florence, Italy, picked out especially for me by two people who are dear to me. It is just the right size for a handbag (or a diaper bag) and has a leather strip that wraps all around it in a manner the Dreamer almost can’t resist. I almost want to carry it around until the pages are dog-eared and stained and slightly sticky. But there’s that part of me that can’t bear to ruin its perfection.

I also have a brand-new Moleskine, bought at Barnes and Noble (perhaps only because I wanted to avoid buying books) as a package of three (to offset the novelty and quiet the organizing demands of the Manager). I’ve been moving it from one side of my bag to the other for three weeks, opting to scratch on my old beat-up notebook when an idea bursts forth and the laptop is not handy.

So, maybe in June, when all the May hustle and bustle is past, I’ll break out a journal and just write whatever comes out. In fact, maybe this is the way to have the Manager and the Dreamer play nicely…