Our modern world offers wonders of technology that would boggle the minds of people even just 30 years ago. If you would have told 8 year old me that I could have every Iron Man comic book ever written stored and readable on a device the size and depth of an actual comic book I don’t think that I would have believed you. Likewise that there was even something like the internet! All of these new devices and machines make jobs easier, have brought about changes in entertainment unseen since the television revolution, and keep us all connected.
But, for all that, I find that I have been going back to an old technology: paper.
That’s right good old fashioned wood pulp paper. And pens, a wide variety of pens.
My paper habit really got going again back when Rene and I got married in 2010. I was looking for groomsman gifts and was having a problem finding something that I thought would be A) not cliche and B) something useful. That was harder to find that you’d think. My search ended with me at a Borders Books by my parents house (like I said, 2010, before Barnes and Noble was the last big bookstore). I didn’t know what I was looking for while I was there so I just wandered around hoping that inspiration would just fly out and hit me in the face.
…until I was walking out of the store when a spinner rack by the door caught my eye. It was full of journals in a few different sizes. Mostly the size that would fit in your pocket, but some larger. They all had a funny name: Moleskine. Moles-kine (with a hard “i”)? Mole-skin? Moly-skiny? However it is pronounced (and the current CEO of the company stated in an interview on NPR that he doesn’t care and pronounced it three different ways during the interview) it is apparently famous!
THE LEGENDARY NOTEBOOK
Moleskine® is the heir of the legendary notebook used for the past two centuries by artists and
thinkers, from Vincent Van Gogh to Pablo Picasso from Ernest Hemingway to Bruce Chatwin.
The anonymous and essential little black notebook, with its unique rounded corners, elastic
closure, and expandable inner pocket, was originally produced for more than a century
by a small French bookbinder that supplied Parisian stationery shops frequented by the
international literary and artistic avant‐garde. This trusty, pocket‐sized travel companion held
their sketches, notes, stories, and ideas before they became famous images or beloved books.
Well, I liked the idea of using things that Hemingway and Picasso did, even if it felt a little pretentious. I liked the feel of the books and since all of my groomsmen were in creative or technical fields I knew they could all use a notebook to jot things down in. So they each got one and I got a notebook for myself, but I didn’t use mine until months later. It was December 29th, 2010 when I made my first entry, which was all about how I wasn’t sure if I would even use the book at all. In mid-January I forced myself to put words down that ended up being a rambling mess. But then we went to Sundance that year and the little notebook became invaluable.
We had a series of meetings and sessions where I needed to be able to take notes and having a legal pad, like so many others did, was just unmanageable with the coats and gloves and everything else that goes along with a cold weather festival. When I took my notes I felt agile and quick, ready for the next bits of information. I also felt small, like I took up very little space. Which was handy since there usually was very little space to be had. I still keep that original notebook on my desk for reference.
That’s when my habit formed, and my brand loyalty. Moleskine is not paying me for this post (although if anyone at corporate is reading this and feels like throwing some swag my way…) so I can say, just from my personal use and opinion, I really like these notebooks. I am on my third pocket book, an Evernote branded one that came with a three month premium subscription to Evernote, and have a project book, story journal, wine book, plus a few others that are just waiting for things to fill them.
Even though I feel like my “addiction to paper” is new, really, when I think about it, I’m just going back to my old habits, before the smartphone and tablet. When I was a teenager and full of hormonal rage I filled book after book with the rantings and thoughts of my brain. I recently found that trove of tomes in my parents storage facility and, hoo boy, I was definitely a teenager. Have you ever wanted to reach back in time and smack yourself? Go read your old journals and you just might. Although I no longer compose bad poetry and ponder the existential existence of Bat Boy, writing is still the best way for me to get an idea out of my head. Even though I can 3D render things on the computer or dictate notes to my phone, there’s something satisfying about the scratch of pen nib on paper that makes everything feel more “real.”
What about you? Are you a paper person? Are you all tech all the time? Let me know in the comments.
See you next time.