I’d like to preface this post by saying this is not the first thing I’ve written on this subject. So, thank you, Moleskine, for being a continuous inspiration. Please allow me to go on expressing my gratitude.
The last time I wrote about my lovely Moleskine, it was in a short poem for my creative writing class titled, “The Importance of a Notebook.” The whole thing was a rather juvenile attempt at criticizing consumerism-the basic idea being, people spend a lot of money on Moleskine notebooks so they can feel brilliant like Hemingway, but being a literary genius has nothing to do with your choice of writing material. I also had to mock myself pretty severely, because I had purchased one, and allowed it to collect dust in a drawer for nine months, due to a lack of Hemingway-worthy thoughts.
Then this trip came, and I needed a travel journal, and I happened to have a very expensive one just begging to be used. I figured even if all I wrote was drivel, at least the notebook could see the world, and that had to be worth something.
I am already about a quarter of the way through it. This might become an issue, because I am not even a quarter of the way through my trip. My Moleskine comes everywhere with me. The leather cover is already starting to show a few dents and scratches–nothing slovenly, just enough to make it look loved.
Perhaps the only redeeming quality about not speaking the native language or knowing anyone that I meet is that I am never worried about people reading over my shoulder. At home, I am constantly paranoid that someone is peeping at what I am writing, and finding it very silly and arrogant that I jot down the occasional (daily) poem. Here, I don’t care. The odds that they are actually reading at what I’m writing are slim, anyway. It’s more likely that they are thinking me rude for hogging the bench by the Picassos, or professional for writing for hours at cafes, or psychotic for scribbling away in front of old buildings, my unkempt hair falling into my face.
Last night, I met a girl from Germany at the hostel where I am staying in Arles. She was waiting here one night for her friend to come, so they could go backpacking through the rest of Southern France for 2 weeks. We shared a bottle of wine and sat drinking it in front of the Rhone. As I was shuffling a few things around in my purse, I pulled out my Moleskine for a moment. She asked me if I were a writer, and, embarrassed, I said “I’m trying to be.”
I told her I started this notebook the day I left New York, and it’s been surprisingly easy to keep up. Then I told her I worried that I was going to run out of pages, and I didn’t want to buy just any new notebook because this one–
“It’s a Moleskine,” she said. She pronounced is “Mol-eh-skeen” in her German accent, but it was unmistakable what she meant.
“Exactly!” We chattered excitedly about the convenient pocket it in the back, the tough leather cover, the soft yellow paper. It really is the perfect notebook. She understood my obsession completely.
As a follow up to my earlier poem (which there is zero chance of me posting on here, be grateful), I just want to say there’s more to these expensive, impressive little books than sheer materialism. And personally, I think they do inspire people to write like Hemingway and sketch like Picasso. Although, none of the famous Moleskine artists left their final products on the pages of their notebooks. The notebook is a memory bank, and extra hard drive, an idea collection and source. It’s very personal, and it’s not supposed to be the final product. It’s part of many final products. There are people all over the world, right now, writing like mad in their Moleskines. Some of them are undoubtedly writing nonsense- but that’s part of the beauty of the notebook. It’s none of our business what people keep in there, and we probably wouldn’t understand it anyway.