Saturday, December 10, 2005

Notebooks: Moleskine

"Keepers of notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant rearrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with a sense of loss."

~ Joan Didion

Obviously if you know me, you would already know about some of my affectations. One of them being my "thing" with fountain pens.

Recently I've acquired a new affectation: Moleskine Notebooks (pronounced mol-a-skeen-a). For the uninitiated, here's a a link to Wikipedia on Moleskine.

Moleskine is produced by an Italian stationary company Modo&Modo. They hardsell the moleskine as "the legendary notebook of Hemingway, Picasso, Chatwin."

Now, I'm not sure about Hemingway or Picasso, but I first learnt about Chatwin's compulsion for moleskine from The Songlines:

For lunch we had beer and a salami sandwich. The beer made me sleepy, so I slept until four. When I woke, I started rearranging the caravan as a place to work in. There was a plyboard top which pulled out over the second bunk to make a desk. There was even a swiveling office chair. I put my pencils in a tumbler and my Swiss Army knife beside them. I unpacked some exercise pads and, with the obsessive neatness that goes with the beginning of a project, I made three neat stacks of my 'Paris' notebooks. In France, these notebooks are known as carnets moleskines: 'moleskine', in this case, being its black oilcloth binding. Each time I went to Paris, I would buy a fresh supply from a papeterie in the Rue de l'Ancienne Com├ędie. The pages were squared and the end-papers held in place with an elastic band. I had numbered them in series. I wrote my name and address on the front page, offering a reward to the finder.

Some details on the product:

The Moleskine Notebooks have a cardboard bound cover with rounded corners and an elastic closure. An expandable inner pocket made of cardboard and cloth contains the Moleskine history. The acid free paper pages are thread bound.
Pocket size: 9 x 14 cm (3½ x 5½").
Large size: 13 x 21 cm (5 x 8¼").

I avoid ruled notebooks, preferring squared or plain pages for my scribbling.

[Squared Moleskine Notebook]

Notebook Squared

[Plain Moleskine Notebook]

Notebook Plain

I like the freshness of new notebooks. The paper is crisp, clean and you almost can't bear to sully the surface. Problem is - a notebook isn't much use if we don't write in it. So I usually break in my notebooks with a quote or something transferred from an older notebook - a sense of continuity in the chronicle perhaps.

I broke in my first moleskine (purchased 1st December 2005) by hand-copying T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets unto the pages. By slowly and meticulously writing out the poem we're forcing ourselves to re-read them in a more deliberate manner. And goodness knows T. S. Eliot needs to be re-read until he starts to make sense.

Moleskine - the English site by the makers of the Moleskine
BBC h2g2 on Moleskine - it's a lifestyle choice, moleskine! ;p
Moleskinerie - a network for moleskine fans around the globe

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