Saturday, April 14, 2007

My Notebook Fixation

I'm one of those people who loves keeping notebooks.

I didn't realize that the "one of" phrase applied to the word "notebooks." I know lots of people who keep diaries and journals. I know less who like to keep sketchbooks or who like to scrapbook or who keep a book around for writing down lyrics or poetry. And I know lots of people who clutch their calendar books to their chests like life preservers.

What I mean is that I like keeping notebooks. Sure, I mainly use them to journal nowadays, but I just like to have a notebook around. I get all giddy when I go into Staples or when I see the journal selection at Barnes and Noble (which I actually prefer to Borders, if you must know).

It all began when I was probably around eight years old. My cousin, my brother and I began a little notebook fellowship of sorts. Hm...that would have made my brother two years old. Okay, I think he came along a little later in this story. Anyway, we began filling notebooks with our own superhero characters. We started creating an entire world of warriors who were called to fight the basic fight of good and evil. I'd fill up one book, and made my parents rush me to the store to start another. The beginning of a new book was thrilling: it had so much potential. How would its pages be used?

Of course, eventually we grew up. I still like to doodle, but this activity of ours faded as my cousin and I entered high school. Sadly, the books I filled are lost to the ages, collateral damage during a session of spring cleaning. I still hold out hope that these icons of my childhood are in the corner of a closet yet to be rediscovered.

That experience left me with a love of notebooks, but the lack of a clear need for them. I continued to be fascinated by each book's potential and excited by trips to the school supply section. But for quite a while I was a ship without a rudder. I have a notebook that I may have bought at some point in college that still isn't full. It contains drawings, lyrics (mostly horrible), notes from campus organizations, notes from seminary lectures...the excitement of the notebook intact, zero direction.

It wasn't until the past few years that I really became a journal person. That is to say, it wasn't until the past few years that I decided that my notebooks should mainly be used for journaling. The reason that I decided this is to give my weird notebook obsession a new purpose; a general goal. Finally, the psychic fulfillment that I felt wouldn't be so weird. The main purpose is still to journal, but I also use them to keep sermon thoughts, early ideas for blog entries, slightly better song lyrics, and random drawings.

I've recently discovered that there are other people like me who just like notebooks. They just like to have one around to write, take notes, journal, draw, and any number of other things. Some have always had a singular purpose...others perhaps came up with a purpose later to justify themselves. Like me. Take, for instance, the blog known as Notebookism. Take, for another instance, the blog known as Moleskinerie. They just freaking like notebooks, okay?

For my own part, I have a few product preferences. Moleskines are the top of the line for me. They're modern and classic at the same time. They're also expensive as blank notebooks go, dare I say a little elitist. But they're quality and they look and feel good. When I purchase a Moleskine, it's like I'm treating myself. My cheap alternative are the canvas-bound journals that Borders sells. They're much less flashy than the Moleskine, but they're solid. And if I'm just looking for something that works, there's the classic Mead Composition book with the black-and-white marble cover that maybe run me $2.00. It feels more rugged, like I'm slowly compiling notes for the Book That Will Change The World.

Why am I telling you this? I don't know. Maybe it's because I recently discovered that I'm not the only one who just likes to have a notebook handy. Or maybe it's because I'm more proud of this aspect of my weirdness. Or both.