On The Allure of a New Notebook
- Its crisp, unblemished exterior and empty pages are a beacon of hope: the new bullet journal that will change your life, the brilliant words you’ll write, the groundbreaking art you will draw. This will be the notebook you tell your secrets to, the secrets that will draw readers into your fantastic world. This will be the notebook where you solve the unsolvable equation, where you name the fruit fly you’ve discovered. You will travel down the Amazon with this notebook on voyages of discovery. There are no masks or social distancing where this notebook will take you.
- It reminds you of school days. Not the actual school you went to, a muddy field surrounded by cow farms, but an urbane, glamorous school. Like architecture school in Germany or English literature in Dublin. You imagine yourself walking through narrow ancient lanes with your notebook in your backpack, gazing up with awe at the centuries-old wattlestone and timber buildings that loom over you, their age causing them to lean slightly into the passageway, as you stroll to a discussion of Goethe’s “Faust.”
- It’s pretty. Its charm will make the prosaic more attractive. Planning Board minutes recorded in such a fine notebook will be elevated somehow. To-do lists with items like “clean garage” and “go to dump” will be less mundane. Maybe you’ll write them in a calligraphy befitting its spring-green binding, with vining g’s and trailing f’s. A rising tide of beauty lifts all boats, even the boring ones.
- It is anachronistic and totally unnecessary. Paper! Who uses paper these days? You don’t use paper. You write on the computer, keep your schedule on the computer, write your to do list on the computer. Have you ever gone to a flea market and ransacked through a box of antique tools? Like a manual hand-crank drill? That’s what this notebook is. It is, somehow, a brand new vessel from the past.
- You literally can’t imagine what you’ll use it for, which ironically makes it even more interesting. The lack of a designated purpose opens up more possibilities.
- In reality, it will almost certainly sit on a bookshelf with all the other unused Moleskines you’ve bought over the years, lured by their bright hopeful covers and blank discovery-free pages. You’ll look at it periodically and think, “how pretty, I should use that,” pick it up and put it down somewhere else, in a complete failure of imagination. It will remain untouched, an unsullied symbol of hope.