by Christopher Mudiappahpillai

A Notebook, A Pen, and Me

This site is about as digital as it can be. It’s written (Or typed, if you prefer.) on my laptop. It is then uploaded via the internet to a server somewhere (I think.) in California. Then you and several others from many different places use computers, the internet and web browsers to view it. But inspite of all this, the origins of most of what has been written here are very analogue.1

And this is what I usually use when I get the urge:

Notebook: Moleskine
Pronounced Mol-a-skin-a, these are the best notebooks you can find anywhere. Besides being made of very good paper, the Moleskine is the only notebook I’ve found that actually stays open when laid on its spine. It also comes with a built-in cloth bookmark and an accordian pocket in the back to keep bills and tickets and the like.

Of course, those reasons alone can’t justify their relatively exorbitant prices. So what makes them so special, you ask? I think the answer to that would be the gravity and sense of history they carry with them.

Moleskines have been (and are being) used by some very famous people. And when you write with them, you feel as if you’re part of that tradition of creativity. I realise that may sound silly to some of you who are reading this, but think about it for a second. In some ways, it’s like a violinist being given a chance to use a Stradivarius. And yes, some people do take their writing that seriously.

Perhaps it’s stupid and even psychological, but I feel an urge to sit up and write neatly when using my moleskine. As if my writing deserves all my attention when done in this manner. Crazy, I realise, but it’s true.

Pen: Waterman Philéas
I only use fountain pens when I write. People look at me a little strange when I pull mine out or tell them that. But after extensive personal experience, I can say without hesitation that your penmanship can only improve with a fountain pen. But don’t take my word for it, try one for a few weeks and you’ll never go back.

The Philéas is my pen of choice because it’s an excellent cross between function, price and quality: it writes very well, it’s affordable, and has also lasted my twice as long as any other fountain pen I’ve used. It’s also the cheapest pen I’ve found that also includes a converter, meaning it can use both cartriges and bottled ink.2

And there you have it. My notebook and my pen.

Truth-be-told, I could probably survive without the notebook. But the pen on the other hand… I misplaced it for about a week a little while back. I found myself almost unable to write. And all the other pens I used – even the those of the fountain variety – seemed almost vulgar in comparison.

But again, don’t take my word for it. Pick up a Moleskine and a Philéas – or try mine out – and you’ll see what I mean.

  • 1When I say analogue, I mean things that are tactile: paper and pen.
  • 2Trust me, bottles of ink are far more economical.

And here’s a little something from a man who certainly knew how to put pen and paper together in a very nice way.

Sonnet CXVI
William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.

I also have an announcement to make: pictures. They’re coming here soon. If you look around a bit, you might even be able to find a link to some older ones.


One Comment

  1. October 24, 2005

    Hi Christopher,
    I love pens and I love notebooks. In fact, my penchant for these two leads to many a browsing hours at the stationery section of Office Depot and Staples. So this post was a great read for me. Though my entries on it are not as frequent as before, my faithful confidant/companion is a regular black and white composition book. I do a lot of writing on scrap paper as well. So as of recent, I acquired a notebook that has several folders attached to it which helps me keep all these papers together in one place.
    A Pen and Book Lover

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