Turning into a softie and more
Rethinking my dedication to hard stuff and other related thoughts
I had to change my thinking on an important subject, a foundational belief. It was tough. There was much inner deliberation, back and forth, pros and cons, sleepless minutes and so on as I grappled with a difficult decision. Could it be time to abandon my principles and bow to undeniable facts?
Could I compromise?
Could I swallow my pride and be more pragmatic?
And was I just a sucker for a sale?
Dear H.A.T.T.E.R., I need to come clean.
I’ve had to start embracing… the soft covered notebook!
I might have written an essay or six about notebooks in the past (long time readers will please stop snickering, thank you). I have spent too much time evangelizing (especially to myself) the Leuchttuurm1917 notebook or the Dingbats* Earth collection notebook or other bound paper products wrapped in the stationary equivalent of Captain America’s shield: hard, durable and with the stiff spine that allows them to stand up straight without support. When you’re spending the time to write by hand it’s comforting to believe that your notebook will be able to outlive you and survive the random liquid spills that many of us inevitably stumble into.
But here’s the thing: I have to limit myself to how much use these (expensive) kinds of notebooks for my day job. This is because over the past 3+ decades I have developed the unfashionable and potentially dangerous habit of making pages of notes, in handwriting, daily. I love the look and feel of a Dingbats* Earth A5 sized notebook but the way I write notes for work I can fill one of those up in 3 weeks. That’s [attempts to do mental math] a pretty expensive notebook habit for work. I’m not very interested in spending $25/month (or more) for beautiful hardcovered notebooks that, and let’s be honest here, are 90% full of stuff that I probably didn’t need to preserve for the ages.
The final straw, though, was the sales.
Indigo (Canada’s major book and other stuff retailer) has been holding
fire sales for months now on a wide range of items, including stationary. They’ve been focusing mainly on less expensive, soft covered notebooks and other office products and the discounting was difficult to ignore. When you drop prices to 25% - 50% of retail price… well, you’ve got my attention. If I can buy a 100 page soft-covered A5 size notebook filled with decent quality paper for $5.00 or less then I just can’t ignore that. Over the course of several sales I might have spent at least $60 on these discounted notebooks. To get the equivalent amount of paper from my preferred brands I would easily have spent 4 - 5 times that.
So… I bent. I capitulated. I changed my standards. Not completely, but significantly. I have welcomed the Nota brand in its different forms into my inventory. Rhodia’s soft covered notebooks may also have a place here but they are not cheap.
And you know, Nota makes fine little notebooks. For disposable writing they do a wonderful job and if I bend, fold, spindle or mutilate one of them I’m not going to have an anxiety attack. The paper is thick enough to stop me from sneering at the pages and pens are highly unlikely to rip through them if I use too much pressure while writing.
Mind you, my commonplace books will always be high quality, B5 size composition books because I’m just picky enough to want that. My journals will be as book-like as possible. And I reserve the right to use something classy for my writing when I feel like it.
But, darn it, for notetaking for work what’s the point of paying enough money in a year to buy a Chromebook for writing that should have been captured electronically anyway? I mean, for writing that I’m the only person who will need it anyway and is out of date before the ink dries?
The moral of the story: even old farts can change if enough money goes down the drain.
Over to you. Should you use the cheapest paper possible for henscratching and potentially worthless notes or is it better to splurge? Do you think about notebook covers as much as I do? Should we just stick to keyboards and touchscreens? Is this even worth thinking about? Or do you have a different opinion? Please, share your thoughts in the comments and let’s see if we can get this sorted out!
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