Living in Frames, by meshing the lyrical moments of life with the captured images of experience. This is a reverie, a journey, the fork in the road, and the never-ending story....

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Writing in Luxury

Just last week, I treated myself and splurged on a genuine, leather Moleskine journal. I thought I was going to make it until the end of the year before switching to another notebook, but the pages filled fast, and I was forced to make the purchase, or else go without for the remainder of 2009.

I was picking up a few books for school at a local bookstore, when I came upon one of those displays stacked with generic journals for $4.99 & Up. I usually gravitate towards these deals, stocking up where I can, because I know I will eventually go through them, and they are always good to have on-hand. For the last 5 years, these colorful covers and ruled pages have been a staple to my daily, writing activities and seem to work best for my sketches, brainstorming, and free-writing. So why not go cheap and buy in bulk, right?

But on this particular shopping trip, I wasn't satisfied with the usual selection. The pages weren't bound right, the line spacing was too large, the cover was in faux snakeskin, or the size wasn't convenient enough. So, I walked on.

Next to this display, there was a rotating rack, also with journals. Even from afar, I could tell they were of better craftsmanship -- Ah yes, the infamous Moleskine! I knew people who swore by the brand, but I couldn't get past the trend or rationalize the extra ten bucks. If I was going to write, I was going to write on or in, whatever I could get my hands on. I don't discriminate, as long as its a legible surface.

Writer/Poet, (Some people believe we should distinguish between the broad and specific labels. Not all writers are poets, but all poets are writers.. or something like that. Anyway... ) Natalie Goldberg described her own preferences when it came to notebooks, in her craft-book Writing Down the Bones : "Garfield, the Muppets, Mickey Mouse, Star Wars. I use notebooks with funny covers. They come out fresh in September when school starts. They are a quarter more than the plain spirals, but I like them. I can't take myself too seriously when I open up a Peanuts notebook."

And isn't that what it comes down to? When you choose fancy stationary or writing materials, you are investing that your ideas and thoughts are worthy of such. I find myself writing more neatly, even with expensive birthday cards, being extra careful not to blemish the pages with my horrendous handwriting or poorly-formed meditations.

In my hands however, I liked the texture of the Moleskine under my fingertips. I flipped through it and the line spacing was spot-on. And yet it was still about the same size and thickness as my past journals, but with a noticeably better quality. Then on the cover, the fine print simply stated: The Famous Notebook of Van Gogh, Picasso, and Chatwin... I was sold. "Perhaps, the words will come more sweetly," I thought to myself as I broke the bank and left the store.

Today I am happy to report, the journal is working out well, and my writing is very much alive and thriving. There was no adjustment period or directions needed. The transition went mighty smoothly, and the "acid-free pages" and "hand-glued bindings" are growing on me. When I blessed the inside cover with my "author's note to the reader" (which is basically an explanation for its contents), I thought about customary journaling and wondered how long it will endure, particularly in this age of technological gadgets.

To me, there is something still so intimate about writing in a diary. My handwriting is distinct to the rhythm of my thoughts; it is my every inspiration and breath in, and my every secret professed in exhale. The contents of a hard-drive could never reveal of me, what a journal could. And perhaps that is why I have become more selective about the organization and contents, as I've grown as a writer.

I always worry about what I will leave behind. And I definitely don't want the manner in which I leave my writing, to distract from the meaning of my words. "Don't judge me for what I was not in my life, but for the passion I approached my life with." That's what is most important to me. And as long as that comes across, I would be content writing on napkins for the rest of my days...

For the history of Moleskine, go here (Actually, it is pretty interesting):

Time Flies When You are NOT Having Fun

I know, I know. I have let this blog go over 2 weeks without posting. I wish I had a really creative excuse, like I just got back from participating in water rituals in Thailand, or I was kidnapped by a band of gypsies to be sold as a love-slave...Unfortunately, I am still Stateside and my only excuse is one of time.

It is as though I woke up one day and all the extra time I once possessed, was sucked through some invisible worm-hole. Which wouldn't surprise me all that much, since the lining of my reality is appearing more and more fragile these days. Sometimes I even catch myself seeing the counterpart of my life and wondering if it could be just another dimension of existence, or perhaps where all my time is escaping off to afterall.

When I was young, I had no connection to time. My life went along a certain flow, without increments or divisions, and the only dictation I had, was instituted by my parents or by school. Summer vacations seemed to span an eternity, where who you were in one grade, was definitely not who you were going back as the following year. And evenings lasted until they interrupted a game of ball, or an innocent kiss, and your parents called you by your full-name to come back home. I miss getting so caught up in a moment or an experience, that I lose that sense of time and need to be called back. Now, I am the only one accountable for my days and I have no one else to tell me how to utilize them, other than myself. Time has become my dictator.

Until I owned a cell phone, I never wore a watch. I was given them as presents, but they were all stashed away in their original cases, in my little box of time. My cell phone however, has become a constant reminder. When I notice the clock behind the stove, on the microwave, or on the TV, I still check my cell to see if I have gained or lost a minute. It's compulsive and I hate it.
But what I find even more dispicable is that, even if I haven't checked my phone in the last minute or hour, I am still acutely aware of what time it is, without even looking. And when it comes to simple questions like, "Should I stay or go?" "Should I order another or not?", "Should I rush or meander?", it is always in regards to the time!

They say time goes by faster when you are older, because you are preoccupied with getting things done. I guess that could be true, but I would still prefer my long-lost naivety when it comes to such things. Instead, I can't help but think -- in 4 1/2 months I am going to be another year older, which means another year closer to 30, which means that much less time to do XYZ, which means I can hear the clock tick-tick-ticking, which means that now I am in a hurry and living in heat, and all the lovely things I used to take the time to stop and notice, I am brushing past, because I don't have the time!

Whoever decided to divide days into 24-hour blocks; IT WAS A REALLY, BAD IDEA! You spend almost half the day just on biological necessities, such as eating and sleeping. Then there is work and commuting. Leaving let's say generously, after maintaining your survival, 4 hours to do as you please. 4 HOURS! And we wonder why there is so many stress-induced diseases out there? Time is the culprit. I am certain of it.