The Levenger Tyler Folio
This summer while I was teaching and on tour, a very large package from Levenger arrived on my parents’ doorstep, addressed to me. Since neither of us knew its source, I asked my parents to open it for me. There was no way I’d be able to wait until I got home to learn the content of this box. They said it weighed almost ten pounds, and everything in it was very finely wrapped. Stuffing and wrapping aside, when it was all said and done, my parents described to me a very professional, leather, business folio (what Levenger is perhaps most famous for) with my initials engraved on the front. The weight of the box came from the other package beneath all the stuffing–10 trademarked, full-sized, lined notebooks cut for the perfect fit inside the folio.
I’ve never been afraid of the blank page. Never been one of those writers who needed to write perfectly in the notebook or felt intimidated by a blinking cursor or unfilled pages, abandoned diaries, or unused notebooks. But I’ve never had a Levenger, either. And certainly not 10 blank notebooks! On the cusp of the biggest revision job of my life–revising a first, godhelpme, novel–you can bet I’m feeling the weight of the task before me. When I finally got home and saw the folio for myself, along with the card from Cousin John (Mom’s first cousin), I knew exactly what I’d use it for: re-working the novel.
Sure, I’ll also use it to take notes at festivals and conferences. Maybe that would be a different one of the 10 notebooks? Conveniently, they slip in and out and are easily exchangeable. Perhaps I’ll store presentation notes in it or speak from it with a little more authority. It’s a beautiful object, for sure, but I’m also kind of excited for it to start getting its first marks of wear and tear around the edges. In order for that to happen, I’d actually have to start using it and here, ladies and gents, is where the confession comes in: I am a little intimidated by the folio. It sits on the corner bookshelf next to my desk and watches me, wondering when I’ll begin that task of revision and if I can really do it by hand…or will I just be brainstorming? There’s something about “leather” and “brainstorming” that doesn’t go together. But I drafted much of the first version of the novel by hand and enjoyed the process, both longhand and shorthand, of seeing the words and sentences unfold on the page in that way. The Levenger awaits either way…