Inside Notebooks — Lynne Dorfman

March 20th, 2012

In the latest installment of our Stenhouse author notebook series, Lynne Dorfman shares pages from her writer’s notebook. Why do you keep a notebook? Upload a photo to our Facebook page and you could win a free Stenhouse book!

I love to write ideas down in different colored pens and watch the words spill onto a notebook page.  It’s both comforting and energizing to watch the flow from brain to hand to pen to page!  I use my notebook to write about people, places, and objects that I love or that I find unique in some way. My notebook is filled with snapshots of friends, relatives, and pets.  Rich descriptions of Long Beach Island, the Poconos, my grandma’s house, the stables, and my East Mt. Airy neighborhood are some of my favorite entries.

My notebook is always a place to store lists.  For example, after reading Names for Snow by Judi K. Beach I had the urge to brainstorm a list of names for autumn.  I came up with names such as Leaf Dropper, Best Dressed Gal, and Masquerader.   I love making lists because they often help me find a topic I want to write about or research.  My notebook is a place for memory chains, my heart and hand map, and my neighborhood map.  I put photos, ticket stubs, and clips from magazines and newspapers that will serve as memory joggers or topics I want to explore.  A running theme in all my notebooks is my grandfather, Alexander William Sulima.  I have so many snippets about all the things he taught me to do and to appreciate.

Finally, I use my notebook to study the work of other authors.  I explore their writing using the advice of Katie Wood Ray in Wondrous Words. Mentor texts are imitated here before I use them in classroom communities where I  write for and with talented, young writers.  I could not imagine a writer’s workshop without the notebook as a central part of how  writers live their daily lives.  I am grateful to Ralph Fletcher, Aimee E. Buckner, and Katie Wood Ray for all their advice and inspiration they have provided in their professional publications about writer’s notebook!

Entry Filed under: Author News

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Mrs. V  |  March 20th, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Your entry makes me think of my own childhood. My girls are lucky that when they stay the night she keeps that tradition of special Saturday breakfasts alive (even stretching into any morning when we are there now that she is retired).

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