why I chose a bashed notebook over a pristine one

Oh, how many lovely new pristine notebooks do I have in my drawers, on my shelves, and lined up proudly on my desk.

A self-confessed notebook addict, I’m unable to pass a stationery store without a little peak at the perky new notebooks that could steal my attention, part me with my pounds, and then remain awesome but abandoned on my desk.

I got a posh notebook as a present for Christmas a couple of years ago –  complete with inscription from the gifter – and somehow I’ve never felt worthy of using it. There has never been an occasion when I thought this book would be suitable. So it sits, in its shiny-clothed isolation – like a posh dress waiting for a gold-rimmed invitation – not being used, loved or creative.

An already damaged notebook has more chance of encouraging my creative writing.

It was in the want, rather than need, of a new journal, that I passed by the lovely Paperchase and happened to spot the perfect notebook for me. Twice the price of what I would usually pay, but leather bound and worth it. The lines are closer together – I dislike those fat-lined notebooks, as they need so few words to fill a page, and I feel my thoughts need lines that are narrower and somehow more intimate. The leather is already damaged, as though someone had bent over the corner on the front and pressed a hairbrush to the back. The paper inside is yellowing, and perfect for use with a fountain pen.

My new purchase was not perfect. I checked out all three purple leather journals in the shop to see which one fitted me best. All three smelt of that ‘old’ leather that you get in second-hand shops. The book I chose felt wise: its pattern was innate, it had been around the block a few times, and it was comfortable with its lines, its bends, and its creases.

This felt like a big decision – and especially symbolic as a challenge to my own perfectionism.

Crucially, I started writing in the notebook five minutes after I bought it. I had the warm, fuzzy feeling of knowing that I had a new confidante with whom I would be sharing some secrets. This book will not be heading for splendid isolation. As it has already been damaged, it is more than fit to carry my imperfect thoughts, nurture my embryonic insights, and free my fearful inhibitions.

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2 thoughts on “why I chose a bashed notebook over a pristine one

  1. I am just the same, I can’t pass a stationary aisle or store without lusting over all the pens and notebooks.

    Choosing a damaged notebook is inspired. I’ll have to try that.

    We writers love our symbolism, don’t we?

    • I don’t think we could function without our symbolism – or, indeed, without our many notebooks. Let me know how you get on with your next choice of notebook. I’m working on not having to be perfect, and I’m finding it liberating.

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