Moleskine Notebook — the image, quick capture from a big warehouse store, and that’s another sign that my brand of cool and hip is now mainstream. Suggests I’m forced to search elsewhere for off–beat, odd, high–quality.
Or not. I don’t recall the exact story, but I discovered “European” paper notebooks some two dozen years back, or maybe further. I still have a few, and I can never embark without including a smaller version of one of those Moleskine Notebooks, usually the 3X5ish size.
Not long ago, struck by an idea, I started searching for the formerly ubiquitous “Reporter’s Notebook,” as that was a size and style I liked, perfectly suited for a quick note, on the fly, and easy to hold. Spiral–bound, at the top. This quick search devolved into a rabbit–hole then rabbit–warren filled with paper notebooks, plus, handy cardboard boxes of the right size — and shape — to store notebooks.
Realistically, I keep very few paper records. Ideas, concepts, and potential plot lines are quickly transferred to digital, as, other than books, analog is tenuous, at best.
Still, every time I set up a piece of Every Day Carry luggage, when I set out to do readings someplace, I include some kind of paper, ink, and pencil — habit is habit.
The Moleskine Notebook Story
The Moleskine Notebook story is typical, anymore, with what has happened to names, brands, and the march of progress in our post–modern world. The original, and this is strictly from memory so validity is not assured, the original Moleskine Notebooks were manufactured in either Italy or France, and much beloved of the Paris Poets of the 20’s, the fabulous expat movement with Hemingway being the standard for both the movement and the notebooks. Allegedly, the Moleskine Notebooks were his favorite.
Part of the myth, the brand itself was almost dead until someone rescued it, bought up the last remaining stock, secured the rights to the name, and started peddling the notebooks again, now, in colors, sizes, and presumably different flavors. The quality seems to still be there. So far, I’ve worn out one notebook’s elastic strap, and that’s in the last 20 years.
Buying up the brand itself, while I didn’t examine notebooks closely, not recently, I wonder about the manufacturing process, and since I see the various product for sale, like in the giant Costco? With that kind of ubiquity? I have to wonder if the manufacturing process has been “off–shored,” in some capacity.
Then, too, in our age? There’s an app for that.
The notebooks themselves seem to have the quality that they were originally known for, the strong thread holding the binding together, the high–quality paper, probably acid–free, and the sturdy covers.
The last time I bought some of these, I got a three-pack, and I still have one that is blank, currently riding in my lap–top bag, and the notebook is still largely unused. For me, these are more tokens and totems rather than fully functional tools. Although, to be fair, they are fully functional as tools — if I could only read my own handwriting.