The Moleskine Debate

Nicola @ vanillasky U.K., writes:

There’s been an interesting debate over at Moleskinerie. I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of days.

I understand the premise – the Moleskine in itself does not make you a better writer, a better artist – but there’s been something niggling at me. I understand that I am not more creative because I own a Moleskine; however, I do think, in some way, that the Moleskine plays its part in the creative process.


The Moleskine is steeped in history, adventure and out of the ordinariness. The list of Moleskiners includes Bruce Chatwin, Ernest Hemingway, Matisse. In using a Moleskine you can somehow imagine yourself as a member of a community of users, albeit an insignificant, by comparison, user.

I think it’s a natural impulse to want to own tools used by the great and the good, hoping that their very use might inspire your own creativity. Granted, I could probably achieve the same results using any one of my other notebooks but using my Moleskine adds something intangible to the process.

I use an iBook rather than a clunky grey PC for similar reasons. I like the look and feel of my iBook. Using it is simply more inviting. Work done on my iBook is, for the most part, more creative than anything I do on a PC. I feel more inclined to be creative.

I have a thing about ink too. I can’t remember when I last used blue ink in a fountain pen. It has to be a shade of brown. My preferred colour is poussiere de lune (translated it means moondust and is a sort of burgundy brown). It looks so nice across the page. The ink cartridges are packaged in tiny silver cylinders. Almost every time I use the ink it reminds me of Paris – where I first found the cartridges, in a very nice stationers underneath the glass pyramid at the Louvre. It has nothing to do with creativity but (and I can’t think of any other way to say this) it does my soul good.

There’s a certain aesthetic pleasure to be had from using nice things. It’s a case of maintaining a balance between using the tool for itself and using the tool as a means to make you better at your creative activity, whatever that may be. And it’s important to remember that, if all you had to hand was a scrappy piece of paper and a bog standard HB pencil, that’s all you need to do your thing.

Perhaps it just goes to show that Moleskine marketing works!

“This silent and discreet keeper of an extraordinary tradition which has been missing for years has set out on its journey. A witness to contemporary nomadism, it can once again pass from one pocket to another to continue the adventure.

The sequel still waits to be written and its blank pages are ready to tell the story”

Originally posted @ vanillasky February 1, 2004 09:58 AM

Image: Cortina Netherlands

3 thoughts on “The Moleskine Debate

  1. I agree– having a small notebook with a sense of history, with a sense of connection to famous writers *does* make me want to write more…and write with greater clarity and style. Opening a Moleskine in a cafe makes me think of Chatwin in Patagonia– and makes me want to describe my own world with that kind of lovely ironic eye.

  2. Personally, I care very little for who’s used Moleskins or who currently does. I think they’re an incredibly good tool designed elegantly for a specific purpose. I would use them even without any historical connection. And I’ll certainly continue to use them regardless of public opinion or backlash.

    I know that’s not really the gist of the article here. It’s just my two cents.

  3. I like the look of them, the smell, the way you feel when you run your bar hand across a blank page.
    The openess of the possiablity of that page.
    The way it invites you to touch your pen….and make a mark.
    The way that it makes the pen stand out and speak to you.
    The softness of the ivory pages, the sheets of happiness.

    That my friend, is why I like my moleskine.

    Honest to God, I don’t even know who Chatwin is. I don’t care if 30 years ago they were extinct. All I care is that they are here now.

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