Notebook: Record Keeping in the Diaspora

MATATU invites you and your (new or old) notebook(s) to a writer’s salon where attendees from a range of origins and backgrounds exchange documentation ideas, languages, and practices. 

"The mistaken assumption is that a writer’s notebook is a diary. Certainly, there are writers who, indeed, keep diaries, but a writer’s notebook is so much more. My notebook is a collection of reflections, speculations, confessions, descriptions, quotations, impressions, and meditations. It’s fragments of words, sentences, paragraphs as well as entire essays. It contains ideas and drafts of poems and the novel that I am currently writing. Thus, it is one of the most valuable things I own and I don’t go anywhere without it.

In addition to text, my notebook is a scrapbook. In it are receipts, theater tickets, newspaper headlines, excerpts from magazine articles or books, airline tickets, photographs, restaurant menus, labels from wine bottles, and pictures of anything that I think is beautiful – art, interior design, for example. The notebook is my life. — E. Gerard Parsons


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Featured Presenter, Briana Bellamy: "I carry my notebook with me sometimes untouched for months. Still, I keep it tucked in backpacks and purses, back pockets and suitcases. There is some kind of comfort in keeping the keeper of dreams and trials always at the ready. I go through periods of drought - yes - but at any moment a great wave may overtake me, and I know my notebook must be near.

Memories, poetry, rage, records, realizations, and maps illegible except for a few awkward drawings of landmarks and turnoffs. Returning to old notebooks carries me to the contours of my experience - perhaps only decodable by the fragments of my own memory and the sensations stained pages evoke in me. My notebook is more than a diary or a dear friend. It is a refuge to which I can always return."


Featured presenter, Nikki Howell: "A tough practice to become consistent with, writing in my notebook has become a necessity for me. I’ve always lived between worlds, not quite knowing how I fit in or familiar with my own voice. Writing has a been a way for me to slow down my mind and process my feelings with a treasured friend who listens, never judges, and propels me forward so that I return to the world with peace and renewal.

My notebook travels, it picks up leaves from autumn in Vancouver, sangria stains in Barcelona, and tears in Zanzibar. It, along with my grandma’s necklace, will be the first things I take with me in a fire. My notebook will be the way for my kids to get to know me, know themselves. This friend of mine gives me the courage to be vulnerable and share with you."


Nomadic Press: Through publications, events, and active community participation, Nomadic Press collectively weaves together platforms for intentionally marginalized voices to take their rightful place within the world of the written and spoken word. Through its limited means, it is simply attempting to help right the centuries’ old violence and silencing that should never have occurred in the first place and builds alliances and community partnerships with others who share a collective vision for a future far better than today.

'Notebook’ is presented by MATATU within a body of workshops that navigate self-determination, wellness, sovereignty, and a roadmap to the future.

Red Bay Coffee
January 20 • 11:00AM

Co-presented by Nomadic Press