Tears would stream if I lost my journal. Well, any of them. I’m not exactly a one-journal kind of girl. I use some for thoughts, others for notes, still others for planning and dreaming and doodles. Little bits and pieces of me and from me but apart, which is how I imagine it must feel to have children, photocopies of you wandering about.
And boy do my journals get around. Every day I lug at least two of them on my hip waiting for something noteworthy enough to jot down. There are days when they return just as empty or full as they were that morning. But most days I make an effort to fill a page usually in order to stay organized or jog some thoughts, spill creativity or slay me of writers’ block.
My go-to notebook is the cool kids team. It always fills up first.
So this summer, when I turned the final page of the green, embossed-pattern journal, I was back on the market looking for the one.
The one has smooth, well-weighted, unruled pages, and a decent amount of them at that. It is sans spiral because I am easily infuriated by pesky wires that twist out of place only to let pages spill onto the floor and because I like how bounded books look and feel, and smell. Is that weird?
The one has a sturdy, plain-ish cover. I’m all about patterns, polka dots, plaid, stripes, intricate damask. They would do it for me. But quotes and pictures of kittens are not quite as appealing nor inspiring, so the plainer the better.
I was on the prowl. Ask anyone who shopped with me during this dim moment of my life (mostly my boyfriend, Ben, and my brother). With every office supply aisle came another disappointment. The journals were either too frou-frou or too expensive or too spiraly.
I refuse to spend more than an hours’ worth of wages on a book of empty pages. Sorry, but that’s ridiculous. So, yes, I had a price in mind and I wouldn’t settle. I usually spot the best ones at TJ Maxx, but clearly they were having a barren summer, for there were none to be found.
Target is my next best drug, err, I mean, shop of choice.
But that aisle tormented me.
It’s the one with an entire display devoted to Moleskine. Perfectly bound journals just waiting to be set free from the plastic wrap, and I wanted to set them free. Except I’m a college student and any job I’ve had up until this point pays less than $20 an hour. As far as my wallet and I were concerned, they were out of the question, however beautiful and quality they were.
Naturally I revolted.
I left Target that fateful day with a $3 notebook from the clearance rack. It fit all of my qualifications, except that it was slightly more vibrant than I preferred, but it was cheap. Yeah, that’ll do it.
One week later, after we’d bonded and more than a couple of pages were occupied, the honeymoon stage came to a screeching halt. The pages weren’t bound after all. The slightest sudden movement yanked a page right out, and they were as thin and flimsy as tin foil so those movements likely ripped the pages as well.
Back on the hunt I went, settling once more for a cheapy notebook at Target. It’s cute with its gold polka dots and all (that’s how they get you), but it’s spiral-bound and boasts ruled pages.
Why is that so impressive?
I can’t tell you how many notebooks are practically screaming at you about how cool they are with their lined pages. Well, sorry buddy, you’re not nearly as cool as you think.
Ruled pages are limiting. If I want to sketch something I can, but there are going to be 52 stupid guidelines through it that I can’t remove.
I’m looking for creamy, blank pages. Not striped pages to help me write straight. Not pages with a flower motif in the corner and a vine traveling up the side. Just plain, welcoming pages hoping to be accessorized by an inky thought or a colorful illustration.
All this to say that last week I buckled under the pressure of a 50%-off-any-one-regular-priced-item coupon from Michaels, which has a Moleskine end-cap of mostly unruled journals.
Instead of $18.95, I got a full-sized, classic Moleskine for less than 10 bucks. Now I’m itching to finish the pages in my last spiral-bound fiasco to move on to my little black book.