My Notebook Addiction

As I’ve alluded to here on occasion in the past, I write. A LOT. In addition to my typed output, I write a very large amount of stuff – notes, mostly – by hand. With a (fountain) pen.

Cleaning recently, I finally realized with a little bit of horror just how many notebooks and blank books I have – to say nothing of the boxes of folders filled with loose-leaf notes and drafts, et cetera.

Since they were there, and some people seem to enjoy these sorts of things… here’s a look at the notebooks I’ve used over the last fifteen years or so.

My notebook addiction – the earliest years. In the upper-right, an old Strathmore sketchbook stands as a silent testament to my complete and absolute lack of artistic talent. Moving clockwise, there’s a battered yellow WriteRight notebook filled with old and quite horrible short stories, as well as old and occasionally-not-that bad poetry, including the first drafts my first published poem or three. Also saved for posterity, old AD&D characters from when I used to have friends who were severely into that. Lower left is a cheap notebook from Padre Blank Books, whose real cover is so hideous I disbound the whole thing and reversed the covers, then decorated the front with a vaguely Celtic scribble. Upper-left, old Mead steno pads, which I liked because they’re fairly easy to write on handheld.

The not-so-early years. On the left is (obviously) a Black-and-Red notebook underneath an A5 Whitelines notebook that might be discontinued now. On the right is a Myndology notebook – a licensed version of the famous Atoma notebook from Belgium – over a mysterious no-name black lined blank book with cloth covers that I seem to vaguely recall might have been some long-forgotten Borders bookstores house brand. Most of these contain varyingly cryptic notes and references for work; the latter contains exciting things like… notes for this blog, and some favorite recipes.

On the left, two identical “composition books” from Miquelrius. At top right, an old leather-bound lined journal type of thing from Cavallini. On the right, a hardbound art-store blank book – maybe Strathmore again, though the paper seems better – on top of an Apica notebook from Japan.

The not-at-all-early years (i.e. the present): On the left is a very cheap composition notebook from Target, badly made from pretty hideous paper, which holds about fifty pages of notes for Mendacities, as well as another fifty or sixty pages of notes for my next, sadly still-not-completed novel. The sheets of paper stuck in there are combination bookmarks and blotting pads, and the huge binder clip is there because the dumb thing doesn’t stay shut, even when there isn’t any paper stuck in it. On the right is a very distinguished-looking Leuchtturm 1917 notebook, a much-improved Moleskine clone. In it I’ve been writing – by hand, with a fountain pen – a piece of short-ish historical fiction, mainly for the novelty; I’m currently at about 8,000 words – at about 250 words per page – with another three or five thousand to go.

They make a kind of impressive pile, in a way.

Not shown, but mentioned for the heck of it: Perhaps a dozen small Rhodia pads full of ephemeral notes, the voluminous quantity of loose 8×10/A4 notes, and the occasional 8×10/A4 notebook I’ve used over the years. Oh, and the handful of empty notebooks waiting in the wings. 🙂

As should be evident, I’m not possessed of any huge degree of brand loyalty, really. I’m a big fan of Rhodia for notepads, as noted (pun intended), and I use Whitelines A4 paper a lot, but otherwise the only things I own multiples of are the Miquelrius notebooks, the Atoma/Myndology notebooks, and the Apica notebooks. (Well, and the old steno pads.) This is actually somewhat of a conscious decision, as there’s a vague chronological order to all of these whose index is only in my head, and it’s much easier to say “well, notes from the Blahblah project are going to be in… was that early 2007? …the Myndology notebook” than “They’re in one of the many unlabeled and unindexed identical notebooks”.

Besides, I’m still searching for the elusive perfect notebook. The Atoma/Myndology ones come somewhat close, but have their niggling problems. The Miquelrius ones have nice paper, but their own issues. I love Whitelines’ paper in pads, but their notebooks leave me underwhelmed. Apica have nice paper, but are short, expensive, and kind of cringe-inducingly ugly. The Black-and-Red notebook paper is beautifully smooth, but too many fountain pen inks take forever to dry on it. The Leuchtturm paper is nice, but I feel a burning shame whenever I look at it’s slavish imitation of the Moleskine, and subsequently want to punch myself in the face for trying to be a preppy dillhole.

Published in: Geekiness, General | on May 31st, 2011| No Comments »

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