It’s small, black and dignified. But that’s not why I bought the Plain Reporter Pocket Moleskine Notebook. No, I fell, hook line and sinker, for the sales pitch: “Moleskine is the legendary notebook used by European artists and thinkers for the past two centuries, from Van Gogh to Picasso, from Ernest Hemingway to Bruce Chatwin.
“Well, if it worked for Hemingway, just think of the story ideas I could jot down (because it HAD to be the notebook and not just his great literary mind at work).
The original Moleskine died in 1986, but was resurrected by a Milanese publisher in 1998, and expanded to include not only the standard notebook, complete with elastic fastener to keep it shut, but a storyboard version, a watercolour version, a lined music notebook, sketchbook, memo pockets and a Japanese album, among other styles. I went with the reporter’s notebook because, well, for obvious reasons, and picked the unlined version to leave my sketching options opened.
It sits, empty, on my desk at this moment because I can’t think of anything monumental enough to jot in it. The pressure (Hemingway!) is great.
I’ve had other notebooks that have been purchased with a similar intended purpose, but something always goes awry and they end up being used for stupid doodles, reminders and lists and ultimately trivial things that I come across or hear in my travels that seem awfully clever/quirky/hilarious at the time but leave me scratching my head later. This must not happen to my Moleskine.
As I see it sit, somewhat stately, on top of the pile of papers next to my computer, I do indeed feel a rush of creativity – albeit unchanneled, which makes it the least useful kind. The cream coloured pages (hand bound) stir a sense of inspiration. I could be on the brink of the Great Canadian Novel.
And then I check Wikipedia for more history. The bubble pops, as I read that the Moleskine was actually introduced in 1997, fashioned after Bruce Chatwin’s description of a black notebook he favoured and nicknamed “moleskine.” While it’s true that well-known artists and writers such as Picasso, Matisse, and Hemingway used similar black, pocket notebooks (from various manufacturers), they pre-date this particular brand.
Well, it’s a handsome notebook, anyway. And if I carry it with me, and make the effort to take down notes (plot notes, especially) it just might serve its intended purpose. And let this be a lesson to myself – Hemingway didn’t care who used it first. It’s just a means to an end – at least one can hope.
– Story and photos by Lori-Anne Poirier