What Do We Write?

We have talked about what we write on and what we write with but none of that matters as much as what we actually write. Our fancy notebooks are only as good as what we put in them. What do you write in your Moleskines?

Mike's Moleskine Adventurer's Journal

A common response I’ve seen and felt upon acquiring a Moleskine is one of fear. What can I write that will do justice to this little book? What words do I have that are worth archiving in a notebook that may last two hundred years? Where do I even begin? These notebooks only cost $10, just a few dollars more than a cheap notebook we would be happy to use for grocery lists, but we still fear writing a wrong word or a clunky sentence. That blank page is horrifying to us when we realize we may have nothing to say. Some of us eventually find those words, or at least accept that if we do not write SOMETHING the notebook will be useless, so we begin. But what do we write?

After jumping over the wall and writing my first line in my notebook (I actually cut it out with scissors when I was done but at least I started) I came up with multiple writing projects all using these little notebooks. Like many, I have a journal. This morning I wrote of the “still in school and failing economics” dream I’ve had since graduating eight years ago. Two days ago I wrote a eulogy for a candle I was fond of that finally burned out. I use a Moleskine plain notebook as my pocket journal. This one has fictional stories, movie reviews, weblog entries, and favorite quotes (“There is a small distance between a pat on the back and a kick in the pants” – George S. Patton). I also use a Moleskine address book and day planner, my Palm Pilot replacements.

A larger project I have, one that has already taken up three Moleskine sketch books, is an adventure journal for the massive online game Everquest. Laugh and sneer if you must, it isn’t exactly Bruce Chatwin’s work, but after the game is gone, I will walk away with the tales of adventure that I’ve experienced over the last four years.

The journals are in first-person, some written as an autobiography and some as a daily journal, with sketches and drawings of strange sigils, runes, weapons, and beasts that I find on the way. I enjoy writing of these adventures and enjoy playing the game more after putting my mind into that of my character. The classical feel of the Moleskine gives it a physical authenticity. This book could exist in a fantasy world. Would Bilbo carry around a Moleskine? A computer game journal is probably childish and stupid, but after three hundred pages my handwriting has improved and my writing style has gotten more natural.

So for the other “Mollies” out there (a term I am already beginning to loathe), how do you justify your Moleskine’s existence? What do you write?

By Mike Shea
View larger image at the Gallery