Thursday, March 23, 2006

Moleskines - Joy of Man's Creation

It is not uncommon to like and to want what other people have. To a happy man, this desire is nothing more than the discovery of a new value to be gained for his own selfish pleasure; he's simply happy for the person who already has it and he looks forward to having one himself. But to others, the wanting is more like a disease.

Having said that, I recently ran out of pages in my writing journal, so I went to the art store looking to buy a new one. There on the shelf was the fabled Moleskine writer's tablet. It was neatly tied in a paper ribbon and wrapped in plastic. I had never seen one before. I was mesmerized by its look, feel, and promised features, but also by its price. The lovely little thing looked like Falling Water next to my worn-out (but functional) trailer-park notebook.

I have always wondered whether Moleskines were just another way for a writer to keep up with the Hemingways, by that I mean, just another part of the costume worn by litty-snoots in order to be seen among the cognoscenti. In other words, does everyone who spends a small fortune on Moleskines have a social disease, or do some really appreciate them for the way they're made? If it's the former, then I certainly wouldn't want to have one since I prefer to operate within what I call the Tragically-Uncool Zone (TUZ), which is a place of anonymity and better friends. But if it's the latter, then I would be denying myself a great pleasure unless I bought one.

Needless to say, I dropped a hefty $10 on a tiny blank book that day. The result? Take it from a writer who loves his notebook even more than most Christians love their Bible: Oh joy of man's creation! Moleskines are absolutely divine!

If you already write in bound notebooks, spoil yourself and buy a Moleskine ruled notebook, or if the price offends you, tell Santa that you want one for Christmas.


• They open flat and without a coil running down the binding to interfere with your hand;
• They have a small pocket that opens toward the binding so loose papers won't fall out;
• An elastic strap keeps them closed;
• The paper has a calm, earthy-white tone;
• The tooth is dense and smooth but not glossy — just perfect for writing;
• Rules run all the way across the page, front and back, and are a pleasant soft gray color;
• A ribbon in the binder marks your page;
• They're practically indestructible thanks to the woven binding and faux moleskin cover;
• They have lots of pages;
• And they look beautiful and feel pleasantly heavy in your hand.

I'm sure that some people like them because other people like them, but who cares? Clearly they earned their reputation for all the right reasons. In other words, writing in my new Falling Water notebook makes me happy, and that's all that matters to me.

[Editor's Note: If you're visiting this page and you have absolutely no idea what the big deal is with a Moleskine, here's some background: Moleskines, or tablets like them, were used by some of history's celebrated writers, who went out of their way to procure them — sometimes at great cost — and to praise them in literary circles. That's why the notebooks have acquired an almost legendary mystique among fiction writers and journalists. Of course, that alone is no reason to like them. Thus, my little post on the subject.]