Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Neal's little black book

Frequent "No rules" commenter Mr Porkpop has posted an interesting article over at D*I*Y Planner on how he uses his Moleskine notebooks for journalling. I got a kick out of the introduction:
By day, UK-based Neal Dench is a mild-mannered project manager and technical writer. By night, he assumes his secret identity of Mr. Porkpop, a fearless crusader in the war against... uhm... technical... and, er... project stuff.... *cough* Is this mic on...? Okay, I confess. I wanted to put a spotlight on journalling and Moleskines, and he was just the perfect chap.

In this excerpt from the article, Neal explains why he uses Moleskine notebooks:

...the biggest attraction for me was a sort of nostalgic appeal. People often say "they don't make them like they used to", and yet here, in the form of a small (albeit quite expensive) notebook, was the exception that proved the rule. As a child, I was captivated by all the old notebooks we had at home, some belonging to my parents in their youth, and some belonging to their parents or even grandparents. There were books for random thoughts, books that my Dad had used for his projects, sketch books, autograph books, diaries, some rich with the ideas of others, some empty, all with that same musty "old book" smell, and all of them with an overwhelming sense of potential. Like boxes of old photographs, they were something from a past age, that somehow was no longer available to me. Now here, in the form of the Moleskine, was my own opportunity to create something similar.

What surprises me is that the initial rush of enthusiasm for the Moleskine hasn't gone away. I've kept on writing. Why haven't my little black books just become the latest repository for boring lists and depressed recollections? I think it's partly down to a sense of freedom. My Moleskine has no boundaries, not even lines (I use the small plain notebook), and so doesn't try to confine what I do in it. Feel the need for a sketch? No problem. Want to write sideways, rather than from top to bottom? That's OK. Try doing those things on a PDA. Because I'm not confined by a diary format, I need only write a sentence, if that's all it takes. Alternatively, I can write pages and pages if I'm so inclined. My Moleskine even gives me the freedom to write nothing at all if I want, which is something a diary doesn't, with its pages and pages of empty days constantly reminding me of events left unrecorded.

If you journal or if you're thinking about it, click over and check out Neal's practical tips for getting the most out of your Moleskine.

3 comments:

booksquare said...

While I love the look of the Moleskine, I am a Lett's of London girl. I adore the narrow rule. I have a very specific size and style journal that fits into a leather cover my husband gave me many years ago...and they stopped making my style! Never fear, I spent many hours seeking the last available source of the product and have enough journals (I go through one per year, though last year I had to spill over to 2005's book) to last for the next twenty years...

Argh! Captcha is really icky. Hard for people who are blind (I'm not) or using non-standard web browsers. I take it you've felt the magic of the surge in comment spam?

Neal said...

Wow, Brenda, you blogged about little me! I'm truly flattered -- thank you!

Brenda Coulter said...

It really was a nice piece, Neal.

While I love the look of the Moleskine, I am a Lett's of London girl.

Ah, yes, Booksquare. Those are pretty things, but I've never written in one and have always wondered how the paper compares to the Moleskine.

Argh! Captcha is really icky. Hard for people who are blind (I'm not) or using non-standard web browsers. I take it you've felt the magic of the surge in comment spam?

Yes, the comment spammers were flying at me thick and fast, and I figured the time I spent deleting their junk would be better spent perusing your excellent blog. I know the captcha is a pain, but since I started using it a month ago, I haven't seen a speck of spam.