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Sunday 15 November 2020

Is it real?

Is there such a thing as the perfect notebook, or is it a quest for the impossible?

The Traveller's Notebook story is infectious. It has got under my skin.

Type, traveller's notebook or Midori into a search engine and see what comes up.

I feel like I've opened the door of the wardrobe, not the one to Narnia. this is a strange land, is it Midoria?

It is a land where the simplest thing, a leather sheet with a handful of holes punched in it and threaded with an elastic band becomes a gravity well.

It draws in the refills and on the paper it collects the thoughts, ideas, tickets, stickers, stamps. Anything you could possibly get to stay between the covers, or with a clip on the edge (hanging on by the metaphorical fingernails,) pen, pencil.

There will be one somewhere, with sketch or watercolour paper, in an insert with a waterbrush tucked into the elastic or snuggled into a clip. It has to be.

I digress, my question was, is there such a thing as a perfect notebook, or are we, like the Grail heroes, chasing the impossible.

The quest, the journey, the search for the imposible, is what matters. When success is in the travelling, not reaching the end. 

What we discover about ourselves on the journey is the quest. The picture is a thought in action.

Without leaving my seat, what notebooks do I have to hand, and you can see the result.

A5, cahier, passport size, moleskine, home made kraft card cover cahiers. Leather Midori style, Wanderings, September leather, and a home made one. 

A motley crew, the current cast of a story that stretches back years, decades.

I've found making notebooks immensely satisfying, and I occasionally wonder if I have too many. Am I feeding a strange obsession? Perhaps, or merely doing something I enjoy and find relaxing.

Go on, admit it Martyn, you're hooked on stationery, when I find myself in that aisle in the supermarket, I am stationary.

There is a strange promise in a pristine notebook. to make the transient solid, capturing the fleeting thought and fix it on the page.

The fresh page, and the book beckons, taunts and challenges in one moment. To reveal a precious thing, not by peeling away, by adding lines of ink or layers of paint.

Who said the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step?

Every story begins with a single stroke of a pen on paper, or the sweep of a brush. The step into the unknown, how will the story unfold or the painting ever be finished?

The search goes on.

Will the perfect notebook reveal itself at the moment you close it, after reaching the end of the last page, knowing it becomes a passive companion, retrospective, and not an active player on the journey. 

Am I looking for an individual book, or a type. Closing the last page creates the desire to find a match, another of the type to continue the story.

The degree of perfection dictated by the task it is called to.

I'm drafting this in an A5 notebook with a suede effect cover, writing with the ubiquitous Parker jotter. Picked up for a few pounds at The Range. Off the top of my head I can't recall the brand.

I'm comfortable with it, scribbling the thoughts and drafts for a blog post on the pale cream paper. 

I may be in a mellow mood, for yellow paper, white is too stark, cold, clinical. It has an uncomfortable brightness.

ivory, pale yellow, or a similar colour is warm, more welcoming.

The notebook, let's call it THE notebook, as a type will call for a sense of connection. It will become a nexus from the fleeting world of thought to the outside world. Inviting, not taunting or challenging, welcoming.

Inviting the pen to jot down the idea. we are not doing lines for misbehaving. we're planning brilliant, intimate, inspired, life changing.

To ask so much of a notebook!

The perfect notebook couldn't do what we ask, it has to be as we are, imperfect. 

The cover of the Midori, of the numerous Fauxdori and alternatives is a skin, and the idea of making what you will out of it. The skin holds the parts and the book begins a life of its own, a companionship with its owner, but essentially it carries the bumps and marks of its own existence. 

They show its character, as our bumps and grazes show ours, it changes as we do, as we share the journey.

A friend, a companion, what else could we want?