Mini composition books!


Big possibilities from small supplies! Modeled after their old-school forbears, these miniature composition books are ready for action. They feature 80 narrow-ruled pages, a thread spine, and surprisingly sturdy front and back covers. The primary difference between these guys and their ancestors is size.

Take a look at the highlighter. Those notebooks are tiny. Whereas traditional composition books measure 9.75 inches by 7.5 inches, these feature dimensions less than half that. They are 4.5 inches tall and 3.25 inches wide. Which makes them adorable.

Cost? Only $0.79 at Meijer. And they come in four colors: black, green, blue, and red.

If you are wondering what to do with a miniature composition book, consider…

  • Filling it with quotations
  • Recording Must-Remember Reminders
  • Maintaining your grocery lists
  • Stashing it in your glove box just in case
  • Keeping track of the books or movies you’d like to read or see
  • Composing haiku on its size-appropriate pages
  • “Texting” on it in order to baffle strangers
  • Giving them away as party favors along with a high-quality pen
  • Writing little notes to your partner and leaving the comp book on his/her pillow
  • Mailing it back and forth to a pen pal instead of using traditional letters

Endless possibilities exist!

Things not to worry about…

This morning I received the accompanying photo from my friend Sandy Pinchback, a recently-retired AP English teacher. As former colleagues at Lake Orion High School for fifteen years, Sandy and I share a long history of professional collaboration regarding literature, composition, and engaging young adults in meaningful classroom experiences.

She and I also share a deep personal connection that transcends our different generational origins. We are — in her words — each other’s Anam Cara, or soul friend. (Anam Cara refers to a Celtic spiritual belief about the way souls can connect.) In world view, we are closely aligned; we subscribe to compassion and cooperation more than capitalism and competition. Education, psychology, and creativity are subjects we savor. And we possess a firm conviction that people possess value regardless of their job title, social position, or economic means.

Like me, Sandy is a journal writer. She granted me permission to share this image, one that captures an entry created several months ago. She found herself re-reading this short piece as she sat at the Whistle Stop Diner in Birmingham, sipping coffee while planning the rest of her Monday schedule.

I appreciate the smooth curves of Sandy’s penmanship, the texture of the paper, and the mixture of humor and seriousness contained in her entry.


Buffalo Journal


Some entries are short. Very short. The following entry from September 30, 2016 featured only one sentence from Ryan Holiday, author of The Obstacle is the Way (2014).


9-30-16   Don’t leap until you see the landing.     — Ryan Holiday

(i.e. don’t quit your job until you can recognize where you are going)


12-27-16    Morning is the most honest part of the day, and coffee is the stuff of liberation.

“The Road Not Taken” Journal



8-31-18  6:39 AM, kitchen table, Crow’s Nest

And this begins my first new journal now that I am back in Michigan. Moments ago I completed Colorado Journal #6 by penning two pages about the discomfort I experienced at last night’s Orion/Oxford football game. It was a tough experience, but I think I have diagnosed the reasons why. And doing so can help me set up a situation where I don’t experience the same familiar tensions and discomfort in the future. I want to create a new football experience, one that boosts my levels of joy, pride, satisfaction, and engagement.  And I can do that now that I have returned to Orion with a new intention, a new perspective, a #### new sense of myself — one that is actively evolving…

Note — While transcribing this entry, I winced at the recognition that I had used the word experience four times in four successive sentences. But that is the way that journal entries can work. I begin composing, and sometimes I don’t think too much about word choice. Although I taught English for 15 years, I still find writing to be very challenging.

Colorado Journal #6



7-31-18  7:45 AM, patio, Longmont

Today marks the #### end of my last full month in Colorado. Thirteen days in August remain. And I am moving steadily toward my departure from this great state — and a return to ground I had inhabited over a year ago.

Colorado Journal #1



8-22-17  8:32 PM — Wednesday, sitting in Cam’s kitchen

Today is Mom’s birthday. It is sad that she is not present to celebrate it. It is hard to believe that she has been gone for so long, and that Jeff and I have been w/o a mother for nearly a decade. Would she be proud of me — out here in Colorado, trying to create a new life?

Havaianas Journal

Sometimes, writing with my Honors students was just plain fun. In this entry, I respond to one of their impromptu journal suggestions.

On this particular morning in June of 2012, one of my sophomores had challenged the class to explain in their journal why a classmate, Lexie, had arrived late. Lexie was (and still is, I’m sure) a mature, thoughtful, and outgoing young woman; therefore, she did not seem at all dismayed by this proposal which emerged unexpectedly from one of her peers.

Having heard the challenge, I dutifully responded — with the intention that I would read the completed entry to my sleepy-eyed students. And that is exactly what I did.



6-12-12  Reasons why Lexie is late:

  1. She works as a crossing guard, and is unable to get the little kids across the street fast enough.
  2. To enhance her cardiovascular performance, she runs to school — along M-24 — every morning.
  3. She sings every song on Queen’s greatest hits album in the shower, #### and is unable to leave the house until she finishes the last verse.
  4. She eats her bowl of cereal one flake at a time, and this slows her down.
  5. She feeds every pet at the #### Auburn Hills Humane Society branch each morning.
  6. UFOs
  7. [Her] household is in another time zone, so she is always an hour behind.
  8. #### It takes 45 minutes for her to attach all of her bracelets.
  9. Choosing a hair-band can be a very time-consuming task.