I don’t mean to be a notebook snob. But after four months sailed by without a page of journal writing from this dedicated journal-writer’s desk, I promptly accepted my status and hit purchase on a stack of my favorite notebooks. You might be tempted to assume that I wasn’t writing in a notebook for all this time simply because I was busy or because I was writing in other places. Those excuses might fly for some of the other tasks that have lingered on my to-do list for months, but they could not have accounted for my having fallen off the notebook path. I have written through busy. I have written through crazy and happy and sad. I have written even when I had so many other things to write that I wondered if I’d run out of words. In the notebook, everything is different. No matter what else is going on beyond its margins, I always look forward to meeting myself on the page.
The special notebooks, in case you are wondering, are these. I’ve had other notebooks lying around over these four months, which is why it took me so long to order my favorites. A piece of paper is a piece of paper, I kept telling myself—all the while abandoning one mediocre notebook after another only a few pages in.
I’m sure most artists would agree that it’s no use to blame your tools or your medium for your own lack of production. In fact, creative limitations are often a perfect starting point for innovation. And yet, if you’ve found the thing that works for you, you might as well stock up on it and never risk having to worry about running out.
The pages of my favorite notebooks are so perfectly smooth to write on and not so harshly white as to blind you. The cover is red, which makes it look very inviting and easy to spot when I’ve left it in a pile of all the other books and papers awaiting my attention. It’s small enough to carry around in a tote bag and large enough to allow for some breathing room. It lies flat when it’s open, and it’s flexible enough to fold one side around to the back if you need to. It’s sturdy enough to write with it on your lap, and it doesn’t (thank heavens!) have lines.
This is not an advertisement for my favorite journal, but more of a celebration of favorites. Sometimes it seems the internet is flooded with “favorites” and “likes,” but I’m talking about the really favorite favorites. These are not the pretty pictures, pinned and forgotten, or the impulse buys that end up in the back of the closet. They are the tangible things that stick with you for the long haul and accumulate layers upon layers of memories. The perfectly reliable pens to go with your perfectly favorite notebook. The tea that makes your day. Every. Single. Time.
When my notebooks finally arrived, I tore the box open and started writing. It was like meeting an old friend for coffee after a very long time. You can pick up just where you left off last.