Shawn Low

Thanks for setting up the site. I’ve contemplated whether I wanted to join this community. A part of me has always been put off by Moleskine users who are part of the fashion glitterati and parade with their notebooks as a badge of honour.


I am somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of an elitist mentality adopted by users of a black book with an attached rubber band. I mean, it’s a notebook for God’s sake! Paper! Cardboard!

So I played silent observer.

The recent thread on ‘Why We Write,’ demands a response. Here’s why:

I’m a photographer. Not a great one but a decent one. And often, people are focused so much on gear gear gear (Ohh! I’ve got an all-singing, all-dancing Canon EOS1Ds along with a USM 17–35 F2.8 L lens! I’m eyeing the Leica MP and the 35 F2 Aspherical Summicron!). So much so that the heart of the art, the IMAGE, is often ignored.

The same goes with this love for Moleskines. We caress and drool and rave. We talk about what pencil should be used with it. We talk about the feeling it elicits in us. We talk about the convenient little pocket that’s so cool. But we don’t talk about the WORDS we put in it.

My Moleskine, a small pocket diary with a lined page for each day, serves as a reminder for promises I make to myself, to God, to people. It has bits and pieces of daily life. Half baked ideas for short stories, poems, feature films that may never be completed. Snippets of conversation. Sketches for a photo exhibition. Grocery list. To do lists with tiny little squares that I tick off when the task is complete.

On the other hand, my boss here at a publishing company, uses his to jot down letters to authors/printers/et al, ideas for his publishing class, draft copy for blurbs on books, etc. He previously bought a palmtop with an attached keyboard and never took to it. The Moleskine is a symbol of his resistance to the digital age. Whilst the HP collects dust, the black book soldiers on.

The Moleskine has become a companion in my daily grind.

It’s a catalogue of my life.

Shawn Low is a Singaporean currently living and working in Melbourne, Australia.

Visit his blog.

2 thoughts on “Shawn Low

  1. Jeez… I never realized that people were that much into moleskine’s. Maybe it’s a regional thing. I can understated the people who equate their gear with their ability, it happens with everything from sports, to art, to to do lists. I saw no end of it when i was in art school. The people who bought only the best paints and brushes and what not.

    Me personally, i get very peculiar about the pens and paper i use. I am always on the look out for a pen that works just a little bit better or that notebook that has just the right kind of paper. This isn’t always about how much something costs. I currently use ball point pens for a lot of my drawing. I searched for one that felt right and i use it.

    With the moleskine, the same applies. I’ve gone through so many notebooks looking for just the right one. While i have used a ruled molskine for years for notes and such, i had actually put of buying a sketch book for a while due to the price. It wasn’t till i had seen witold riedel’s drawings that i figured the paper would work for me. (He seems to draw a lot with a fountain pen. I have found that fountain pen nibs and ink to be similar to rapidograph pens and ink. When i am not using the ball points i’m using these, and it’s sometimes hard to find paper that works for both, A necessity for a sketchbook.)

    So umm, yeah. Moleskines are nice, well built and designed notebooks, and expensive. Everything in our culture can and will become a fasion statement some time or another. But, remember that, you also get what you pay for.

  2. Hi Shawn,
    great to see another Melbourne person here
    who loves Moleskines. They seem to be
    coming to every bookstore around town.
    Best display I’ve seen is at the Avenue
    Bookstore in Albert Park. The whole range,

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