138 Filednotes

There are a stack of notebooks of many shapes and thicknesses in a writer’s home. Books and blogposts may be written via electronic medium, but the kernels of creativity and the draft phase of creation often catch a writer unawares. So, it is very good to have a supply of tiny notebook stashed among your person and portable belongings for when the muse strikes. To this aim, my gym bag, purse and bedside table sport a nice little stack of Field Notes.

Handy resources like Field Notes and Moleskin are just the right size for the scout, the farmer, the journalist, the artist, the traveler, the gumshoe, the scientist, the geek and the collector.  Many a fan has attempted to help distinguish the two companies by dissecting the notebooks and clarifying the paper and cover quality stats for you if you would but Google Field Notes versus Moleskin.

I chose Field notes for a few reasons; because they are from my town (economy boosting), I know a guy there (fortuitous) and most importantly, because when I have a Field Notes notebook in my hand or pocket, I feel linked via a retro-time travel mulitverse channel to a simpler time (so grounding).

That said, there is nothing particularly revolutionary about them, which is why we cherish them so much. They have the soothing simplicity that belies luxury in the same way a watch or a fountain pen does. Not only writers find this alluring. People who dig them do so because they are collectors, because they actually work in a field and need to jot notes and observations, because they enjoy the retro feel of paper, because they find the layers of technology of non-paper organizational devices to be distracting, or simply because the act of writing or drawing in a small notebook does not feel like you are embarking on an epic journey that will demand artistry and precision. In other words, it feels like a safe place to doodle or think.

Industrious and Suitable

I am sitting at a table with 8 strangers, partaking in an underground dining experience that I will be writing an article about. Mobile phones are not explicitly banned, but they are clearly not present. I whip out my palm sized Field Notes notebook to record the names and contact numbers of the 3 or 4 people I have connected with who want to be involved in the article. Voila, I am not a jerk, because no one can suspect me of playing with apps and passive aggressively tweeting my experiences while I am writing down their information.

Adventurous and Resilient

I am kayaking down a solitary channel of the Les Cheneaux islands on summer vacation, trying to avoid the duck hunters in the reeds and keep dry while sketching the eye-popping scenery of wooden Chris Craft boats, fresh boat houses, pine trees, mossy knolls and a cast of circling hawks. The waterproof notebook choice was a sound one.

Hardy and Workaday

I am fumbling at the Fresh Market in Niles, surrounded by a crowd of serious international food shoppers vying for space in the produce aisle. In order to stay on budget I must ignore the golden beets, the 40 kinds of feta and the overwhelming variety of 25 pounds of rice options that encircle me. I consult my list in my handheld notebook which is perched on top of the impulse buy of spanakopita.

There is something about Field Notes though that inspires fandom and enjoyable flickr tags that reaches beyond the mere functionality of the books. It might be the graphic style sensibilities of the designers who never fail to update us with mouth watering pictures of their new pocket sized editions which harken us back to our scouting and state fair attending days. It makes all things seem possible. Will they eventually fulfill my other nostalgic needs, namely: burnt umber colored macrame, crochet and knitting notes -just toss in some details in the front cover about converting knitting needles? Or the defunct punk band homage? That cover would be so sweet. Or the jumbo Field Notes (sans spiral binding) that would still fit in my purse but allow me to write in my usual girly scrawl without having to pretend I am writing a note to the tooth fairy? That isn’t so much nostalgia as a direct hope for another level of functionality.

Lastly, to complete the design fantasy and the writer’s wishlist, I would like a customizable 2X3 notebook in the shape of a business card that I could give to people with my info on it and be assured that they will not toss it away but rather think of me fondly every time they need to write a grocery list. I’m sure one of those dream notes is on their to-do list.


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