Sunday, July 25, 2010

Old notebooks

Rhian will be mad, as she is preparing a post herself. But it'll keep. I have this strange and incorrect idea about myself that I don't take enough notes or have enough notebooks. Obviously this is nonsense--the house is littered with the things. I had been neglecting my personal archives for about five years, and they got pretty mouse-eaten and water-damaged...recently I moved them to my office at work, which I should have done a long time ago. Today I uploaded some photos of them to my flickr.



I used to use those big black sketchbooks, the kind with the hard covers--I kept one for years during college--a few shots of it are at that link. In grad school, I discovered the amazing National 43-581 chemistry lab notebook, with its blue hard covers, stitched binding, and green narrow-lined paper, which Missoula legend said was the notebook Richard Hugo favored for his poems. The photo above is one, containing the beginning of a lousy short story. I actually ordered a few of the smaller size today, the 43-571. In the pre-Moleskine era, these were as sweet as it got. I have also been using a Moleskine-knockoff hardcover notebook for music for about six years now, though the binding is shot and the elastic band is completely dead. There's a pic of it in that set.

I actually quite like the Moleskine notebooks these days, trendy as they are. Not many manufacturers line their notebooks narrowly enough for me, but those little brown Moleskine journals hit the sweet spot.

As for these photos, I love the serendipitous beauty of handwritten notes--but, paging through these, it was sometimes obvious that I was trying to make them look beautiful, and thus they looked stupid. Maybe it's my own former innocence I find appealing, who knows. Anyway--post some notebook shots, if you got 'em.

14 comments:

D said...

Yeah, moleskine notebooks are trendy but that doesn't make them any less nice to write in.

http://i32.tinypic.com/2hi3vom.jpg
http://i32.tinypic.com/ev2mth.jpg

That note at the top of the page in red ink in the second photo says something to the effect of "Change everything after this."

jrlennon said...

Thanks for posting those, D! Lately my "change everything after this" seems to come increasingly close to the beginning...

Ke said...

These are really fantastic...I'll admit, I've been lurking on W6 for quite a while, but I couldn't resist commenting here.

I'm working on a blog-or-something that will get my students involved with other writers by having them participate in something like this. It's not fully formed yet, but if you're interested, you can check out the prototype here: http://notebooks.kebanazek.com/

(I acquired & loved Pieces for the Left Hand when it was only out in the UK and am presently in the Montana MFA program, for whatever that's worth in terms of how-I-found-this-site).

rmellis said...

Love your site, Ke!

Everyone should read the Notebooks of Anton Chekhov, btw.

jrlennon said...

Agreed, that is a lovely blog. The layout is really effective.

Welcome to W6, Ke, and I hope you're enjoying U of M. We certainly did. And thanks for buying Pieces!

In fact, in my avatar, I appear to be gazing out at distant mountains.

5 Red Pandas said...

I'm in Taiwan right now so I can't post any notebook shots, but I did buy a bunch of the cutesy notebooks here. I started a story in a tall thin notebook with a quiet picture of a bicycle leaning against a tree under a nighttime sky. There is some "chinglish" on the cover that just barely makes sense as well. One of my favorite things about Taiwan is the stationery. They take it very seriously and I always linger when I'm in a store that sells it, especially notebooks.

Shauna said...

Love seeing your Penn schedule on the flickr photos!!!
-shauna

jrlennon said...

Ha ha, yeah, that looks like it was a good semester! I suspect that, aside from the fiction workshop, my real schedule looked more like

PLAY GUITAR
LISTEN TO OTHER PEOPLE PLAY GUITAR
DRINK BEER WITH SHAUNA
WHINE ABOUT GIRLS

rmellis said...

Pandas -- I had a pen pal from Taiwan when I was a kid... yes, awesome stationery!

Beth said...

I truly enjoyed reading this post about notebooks. I have been journaling and jotting things down in notebooks for over decades and have often wondered if I'm the only one. Great blog, and I look forward to following. Kind regards, Beth

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