As a matter of full disclosure, I feel you should know that I have at one point in my life grabbed my mother’s arm on the way into a Staples store and said, “Oh mom. I feel like I’m home!” and skipped off merrily to find which fun office supply advancement would go home with me that day; would it be a new cube of post its, a refill for my favorite ball-point pen (the Zebra), a new day planner, or the latest design in mechanical pencils? In addition to a problem leaving books in bookstores, I have never a day in my life passed by an office supply store, a stationery store, or a copy of the Levenger catalog. No, this is another thing about which I have a Serious Problem.
I have, for about six years, used a Moleskine notebook for my every day note taking: to do lists, random musings, sketches, grocery lists, short notes to myself or others, and as a catch all for business cards or the ever-scarce printed photograph. I always thought I was a pretty avid user of the Moleskine – mine lives in my purse and is so well used that the ribbon fell out and that the leather along the spine is shredded. I even bought a 18 month planner a while back. My father gave me a particularly small notebook which I have adopted for everyday lists and retired my shredded large notebook for more creative endeavors. I thought I was a Moleskine devotee. Let the record state: I know now that I am merely a dabbler in all things Moleskine. I am not worthy of the title. There are others out there who are FAR, FAR, FAR more obsessed with their little black book than I. I found all this out today as I was researching the notebooks, attempting to find a wholesaler through whom we may be able to carry them in the library store.
I found Moleskinerie while trying every combination of Google search terms possible for “Moleskine wholesale distributor” and cannot believe that a. such a website exists b. that I did not KNOW about it, and c. that there are others who are worse off than I am. People have written on this website with issues ranging from what kind of pens and highlighters work best with Moleskines to my personal favorite – a woman who was trying very hard to come up with a short-hand in order to keep her workout journal pieces short enough to keep in her weekly planner (the same weekly planner that yours truly uses daily). The website is five years old and has recently been acquired by the fine people at the Moleskine company. Now, if they could only tell poor little me how to carry their fine products in our humble little shop.
Moleskinerie put together “The First Annual Moleskinerie Exhibit” in January 2008, which you should absolutely check out. I am so excited to see what comes out of the 2009 exhibit, which I can only imagine will be along shortly! Seriously. Check it out. The images brilliantly display the wide range of uses for a Moleskine, and the beautiful way they make you feel like what you’re writing is way better than it actually is. Your sketch seems to be featured on fine paper with rounded corners and the feint black border of the fine leather edge peeping around the pages – better than a piece scribbled on a balled up receipt with a pen on the fritz, for instance.
I also believe that spending a lot of time and money on selecting the most perfect office supplies, stationery, and writing utensils serves many purposes. First, it allows you to procrastinate. In college, if I had a paper due in two days and I was writing it in my notebook with my fountain pen – first I had to select the perfect color ink, fill my fountain pen, put the ink jar away, title the to do list, and add “write Judd paper” to the list, wait for the ink to dry, and then put a post-it flag on the page with the title of the to do list – I felt like I had done enough work and I might as well run to the bar downtown to celebrate my successes. Most of the parts of the process could not have been done without a fine collection of office supplies. An interest in office supplies is a healthy stand in for an interest in writing letters on minimalist sculptors, in my opinion.
I also believe that having fine office supplies makes anything you do better with very little work. Don’t get me wrong, I love letters of any variety, but if I receive a letter on fine, unlined stationery – perhaps even personalized! – and in an envelope designed to match addressed with a wide-nib fountain pen, I am swooning before I even open it. And as I said before, a mediocre sketch becomes a work of art in a Moleskine
Wishing you long to do lists, leisure time, and office supplies,