A Man With a Plan (and Boy, Is It a Plan)

Ntb"Having unhappily put up with an unwieldy multitude of diaries, address books
and notepads for years, Mr. Berendt caught the Gutenberg spirit three years ago
and indulged in a little obsessive-compulsive print project of his own. He
printed up all the letters and numbers he would need to spell out the months and
days of the week (no need for K, X, Q or Z) and sent them to a company that
makes rubber stamps to order.

Once his cargo arrived, he took a simple clothbound Clairefontaine notebook
he found in Paris and set to work with a ruler, ink pad and red pen. The result,
a minor triumph of custom publishing, is a yearlong diary that combines notepad,
agenda and phone book in a most orderly and portable fashion. "The key is that
the cloth binding folds over, so you have a tablet," said Mr. Berendt, a
connoisseur of writing materials.

This year, wondering if his amateur act was a bridge too far, he ventured
into Smythson, the venerable London stationer, to see if it might have something
similar. "They did have things that were close, the Duke’s Diary, the King’s
Diary," Mr. Berendt said, listing model names. He asked if the store could make
one like his. "They said, ‘Of course we can.’ It would cost about $5,000."

So back he went to Clairefontaine, his stamps and ruler. "It takes a while,
and I feel like a complete idiot," he said. But the order it creates is more
tranquilizing than any massage or course of meditation. "It really reduces my
frustration level," he said. "If I can’t put my finger on what I’m looking for
instantly, I get totally scatterbrained."

"A Man With a Plan (and Boy, Is It a Plan)"
By David Coleman
The New York Times [Registration Required]

[via Rebecca’s Pocket]