Moleskinerie New Year


by Joy Rothke

I carry my Moleskine [gridded, pocket size] everywhere I go. Either
it’s sitting on the top of my desk as I work, on the nightstand as I sleep, or
most frequently, in my pocket, protected by a battered ziploc bog, and an
ever-changing selection of pens. Tropical weather is hard on paper, and I do my
best to protect my notebooks from the vagaries of relentless humidity.]

no novice to the world of journals/notebooks/diaries. My love [fixation?] goes
way back to childhood, when I carefully recorded the minutiae of my suburban
existence. In college I agonized over narrow vs. wide ruled paper. I’ve kept journals on and off for 35+ years. More off than on, for the
usual reasons:

· Couldn’t think of ‘what to say’
· Lost interest
· Book
was too [large/heavy/pretty/personal, etc. to carry around
· I got bored or
blocked to too sad/too happy to keep a journal.

I have a shelf of books
about writing/keeping journals and I know the lingo. Ask me about unsent
letters, prompts, lists of 100, morning pages, etc. I have a stack of unused
hardcover blank books in a filing cabinet, along with numerous spiral notebooks
from everyone from Clairefontaine to Hello Kitty.

Before I moved here three years ago, I went through several years of
old journals, and discovered them to be, mostly, Big Books of
Whining—interspersed with horribly embarrassing details that would be
humiliating if anyone read them. So except for a handful of pages with
meaningful quotes or Deep Thoughts, I ripped them apart, stuffed them in various
garbage bags and flung them down the trash chute.
Almost two and a half years passed until I discovered Moleskinerie.
Like most of the things you find online, it was through a series of links, and I
can’t remember who or what brought me there. I read all the posts and something
about this little black book said ‘buy me.’ International postage made them
quite pricey, but I still ordered two.
When they arrived in mid-April, I spent days admiring my new purchase,
but other than writing my name and address on the flyleaf, Notebook 1 remained
pristine for over a week. Finally I made my first entry with a purple gel pen.
Mercifully ink smudged and bled, and I was on my way.

That Mole is filled with lists and rants and sketches and photos of my
dogs and ticket stubs and glued ephemera. It was my constant companion on a
three-month visit back to the USA. It took almost five months to fill it. I started my second Mole on 12
November, and it’s close to half-full. It’s got several pages of
resolutions/goals, etc.—mostly in a format I borrowed from Andrea Sher’s
wonderful blog My 2005 Pocket Calendar has been sitting on
a corner for my desk for the last week. In five days I can begin using it.

Did I change or did the Moleskine change me? Perhaps a little of both.
I gave up all my expectations of what this ‘commonplace book’ [as I prefer to
call it] should contain. It’s a lot of stuff, some important, a lot more
prosaic. Having someplace to put it all makes it easy.

Happy 2005 and keep

Joy Rothke is an American freelance writer/editor living in La Fortuna,
Costa Rica. She also manages the Wandering Moleskine Project mailing list.