Monday, July 09, 2012

The Nice Notebook Dilemma

Unleashed potential
Some of the notebooks awaiting use

As has been well established within the pages of this blog, I am something of a notebook addict. I have scads of notebooks squirreled away: mostly cheap composition books, but also a second Rhodia Webnotebook (I used my first awhile back), an empty Moleskine, a hard bound Rite in the Rain notebook, a cloth-bound Clairefontaine, a Leuchtturm1917, and a hardcover Blueline, among others. Pretty much every time I finish a notebook, I take these nicer journals and notebooks off the shelf and finger them...and then ultimately put them back and grab one of the ubiquitous composition books.

It's not so much that I'm intimidated by them, I don't think. I've never been one to worry about ruining that first page with less-than-profound thoughts and messy handwriting. I think it's more that right now, they're mine as objects to be treasured (and gloated over). Once used, the notebooks themselves no longer matter--only the words inside matter. The notebooks fade into the background and become just another repository for my scribbles.

Journals and diaries>
Some past notebooks, which I wrote about here.

I have a strange mental block against letting them go. Which, I suppose, is something of a hoarder mentality, and probably not very healthy.

I think I shall resolve to live more openly (recklessly?) and to embrace what my hoarded goods may become, even if it means letting go of what they are now. What have I got to lose?

Except for those lovely empty notebooks...

Oh dear.


MEK said...

Nice post! I, too, am likely to "save" nicer items (notebooks, coffee beans, you name it) for some unidentified "later," when it would usually be better to just enjoy using them.

notagain said...

I have that same "problem" but never succeeded in analyzing it as you have. I know I get stuck thinking they need to have a unifying theme and then never start them. More recently it's because I can't get them into the typewriters.

Bill M said...

You are not alone. Your post fits me too. I do not have quite as many,but yesterday I almost bought a bunch of those black and white composition notebooks like the 4th one from the right on your picture, 17 cents each at Wallyworld.

Art said...

Use the Write in the Rain book as a shower or tub book, for when those great ideas come in watery environments.

I'm with you too, though, on having tons. I am packing, and I have two largish boxes... one full of paper and spiral books, the other full of old and new notebooks and writings etc.. for me, I've noticed a very strange trend of the times that I haven't written my daily journal in a Moleskine as honestly, not such great times in my life. So i save the beautiful printed leather Victoria and Albert Journals I have for some rainy day, some inspiration, or when I have the courage to overcome a *created* stigma in my head.

MTCoalhopper said...

I had considered including one of my hand-stitched notebooks with those dip pen nibs, a while back. Now, I see that it would have been in good company on the shelf.

I do my journal-writing in a notebook with replaceable pages, and have done for about five years. Wanting to transition to something more permanent, I started making notebooks, including a beautiful red, cloth-and-banana paper covered one. Two years later, it is still sitting on my shelf, still flawlessly unused.

Little Flower Petals said...

Continuing my original thought, I suppose this reflects another reason I like those cheap composition books (which, as Bill points out, can be had for less than a quarter some places and some times of the years): they have almost no intrinsic value of their own, so I don't mind converting them into just so much used paper.

I do like using nice notebooks, don't get me wrong--there's a reason I've accumulated so many of them over the years. And I've enjoyed using a number of them, particularly the Rhodia Webnotebook and (when not using fountain pen) the Moleskines. But I guess a lot of the time I keep waiting for the perfect moment for them: an unidentified later, as MEK put it. I know I can't have my cake and eat it too, so I just save the cake forever. ;)

Would love to see more pictures of your handiwork, MTC, and hear more about the whole process!

Anonymous said...

I still have the urge to keep getting more and more note pads and composition books. That was tempered when I realized I have, at least, several years worth for to-do lists and other such stuff. Time to start using them up. I ain't getting any younger.

Then I discovered the Clairefontaine clothbound notebooks. Absolutely smooth surface so the fountain pens and GOOD pencils skate across the page effortlessly. The brilliant white paper shows the color of ink and lightest pencil marks perfectly. Very expensive compared to composition books but worth it.

Let's see if my resolve makes it past the back-to-school sales.

Jeff The Bear

Anonymous said...

One other benefit to the Clairefontaine notebooks and I hope it doesn't apply to anyone here. I injured my right hand, especially the index finger. Won't be able to use my typewriters for a couple of weeks. (I'm basically a two finger typist.) Even fountain pens are a problem. But I can use a pencil. The weak touch I can manage at the moment shows up well against the stark white paper and the almost frictionless feel helps as well.

I'm typing this left handed but it is too awkward for more than a few lines.

Jeff The Bear

Little Flower Petals said...

Ugh, I'm sorry about your hand! That's no fun!

You're helping me work up my resolve to (maybe) use that green Clairefontaine clothbound notebook next. But you've also reminded me of another stumbling block I set for myself: I don't like mixing pen and pencil in the same notebook. Ever. It's not a logical thing, I know. But anyhow, this means I have to decide before I start a notebook which I'm going to use. Lately, it has been all pencil, and since I can get away with using pencil on paper which would be a mess with fountain pens, I have a hard time bringing myself to use fountain pen friendly notebooks with the pencils, even though many are also wonderful for pencil use. I'm getting close to done with my current composition book journal...maybe I'll take a deep breath and dive into that Clairefontaine. With pencil.

Livin' on the edge, that's me.

John said...

I have to say: the Webbie's are SO nice for pencil! :)

Little Flower Petals said...

Maybe I should flip a coin, then?

This raises yet another reason for not using these: I'm paralyzed by choice! It's a good problem to have.

Little Flower Petals said...

For those still playing along at home, I'm about thirty pages into that green Clairefontaine cloth-bound notebook at this point: guess that's a victory of sorts! It is indeed very nice paper for penciling.