Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Moleskine 'Vibe'

These notebooks (pronounced, MOLE-uh-SKEEN-uh) have such a big following. Amazingly, amidst the digital technology that abound, the fascination of Moleskine aficionados are affirmed by the scores of websites and fan blogs dedicated to this "little black dress of a notebook" (Laura Lynn Brown, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette).

I currently use 4 moleskines - a pocket-size notebook, a diary/planner, a large notebook and a squared cahier (pronouced, kaye, meaning exercise-book or copy book in French). I got my first Moleskine, the pocket-size notebook, when I first arrived in Adelaide in 2001. I chanced upon it at the bookshop of SA Art Gallery. Then, it was the only bookshop that sold Moleskines. I thought it was pricey for such a small notebook but I wanted to keep an account of the year(s) I will spend in graduate school. I have always wanted THE notebook with the elastic band Henry Jones (Sean Connery) used for his notes in his quest for the holy grail (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). When I saw it at the bookshop, I just had to get one. Though I was not consistent in keeping a journal of the years as a postgrad student - of chronicling the wonderful thoughts as well as the anxieties that hounded me, needless to say, I loved writing on the smooth vanilla coloured pages of the Moleskine whenever I can.

My second Moleskine is a large notebook, which I originally intended to use as my research journal. Somehow, I knew I will end up tearing pages of the notebook if I use it as my research journal. Hence, I opted to use a much cheaper unruled spiral bound sketch notebook instead and save the Moleskine for something else. Early this year, I thought it would be best if I started enjoying those pages of my large Moleskine notebook for my publication ideas, conference notes, and what have you. And yes, I'm using that notebook now.

Since 2004, my diary has always been a Moleskine. I now use and especially like the new 18-month 2006-2007 diary in soft cover. The week planner is on the left page and the ruled opposite page leaves room for notes, lists, things to do, etc. A recent purchase is a packet of large cahier with squared pages. I have just started carrying one of them as an extra notebook for those daily work notes that do not 'belong' to either my large notebook or the diary. The squared pages come handy whenever I get the urge to make sketches of architectural plans (which admittedly, I haven't had the luxury of doing in the last 5 'research' years).

If I always carry a variety of pens and pencils in my bag, why not notebooks as well?

What's the attraction of these Moleksines? Is it its snob appeal? I say that it's for the notebook's true practicality - the fact that it lies flat makes writing (and drawing) easy for a leftie like me. The simple packaging (for some this reads as dull and boring), the smooth, buttery paper (and acid-free, to boot) that allow the use of both my favourite Artline 200 felt tip pens without blotting as well as the soft B and HB pencils without smudging and those squared pages are just added bonuses.



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