There is something about these notebooks, isn’t there. I found one in a Barnes and Nobles when I was looking for a journal. It’s simplicity, functionality, elegance, ergonomics, and style all somehow combine into an item that is greater than the sum of its parts. I love mine. I bought thirty more in honor of Bruce Chatwin who bought 100 when he heard there might not be any more.
I find I like the sketchbook the best. It only has half the pages but the pages are thick and solid. They suck up ink eagerly and never bleed over or spread to the opposite page like the thin paged ones do. For my more permanent work I use the thick-paged ones. For daily note taking and rough drafts, I use the thin pages.
Part of me rebels against these words. Its just a notebook. Its paper. Words matter. Stories matter. The little faux-leather covered overpriced notebook does not matter. It’s stuff. Its degradable material that will be dead in probably one or two hundred years max. It doesn’t promote thought. It wont make you a better writer. It doesn’t create life changing experiences.
But it does. Somehow, when you pick up one of these, you want to fill it. You want to travel and write about it. You want to record your thoughts so that perhaps in two to five hundred years someone else will read them and know what you were thinking. They are useful to the point of artistic beauty. I feel like Winston Smith in 1984, risking his life to record his thoughts in a world that steals them from your head with doublethink and thoughtcrime.
I love my Moleskines and you can have them when you pry them from my cold dead hands.
(Image: Mike Shea)
Pen addiction is a horrible thing. Since my fall into Moleskines, I have also become a pen addict. I started with a couple of Rotring 600s, the ballpoint pen and the pencil set for about $30 total. I bought a Lamy fountain pen after that but didn’t really care for it. A Sensa Stylist was my favorite after that for a while. Then I discovered Pilot G2 ink refills, an “archival” ink that runs about a buck a tube or less and can be picked up just about anywhere. Its great ink and I’ve been using it ever since.
But it only fits some pens. I picked up a Waterman Phileas, a Rotring Core, a Rotring 600 Rollerball, and a couple others that can use the G2 ink. They’re not bad. My Rotring Core is probably my favorite desk pen with my Rotring 600 and my Waterman Philias as my two walk-around pens. I love the Rotring 600 pencil but that Faber Castle thing does look good. I may have to get one of those. Also on my new wish list are the Rotring Freeway rollerball or the Rotring Initial Rollerball. They both look good and I’ve tried out the Initial and liked it.
Rotring is my favorite pen company. They make very solid pens that are G2 compatible, very nicely designed, and not too expensive. I’ll be sticking to Rotrings for a while now. You can get some great pens for well under $50. I don’t see a need for a $400 monstrosity.
Like Moleskines, fancy pens won’t make you a better writer. Reading more and writing more will. It doesn’t matter if its a .50 cent bic and a back of an envelope. Words matter. Thoughts matter. Pens and paper are just vehicles. Still, I love my Moleskines and I love my fancy pens. How’s that for doublethink.