The opening page of a fresh notebook is a heady mix of new stationery aroma and possibilities, I get caught up in the ceremony of putting pen to paper and setting the tone for any scribbles to follow, so much so that there are several notebooks in my stash yet to receive a maiden scrawl. I’m waiting for a worthy and perfect thought or idea to strike, you see. The longer I wait, the bigger the expectation grows until eventually I feel as though even Shakespeare would be hard pushed to do justice in kicking off proceedings and therein lies the trap. It is around this time that I’ll start crooning over other notebooks while out and about: cover fondling, page sniffing (I’ve become accustomed to the peculiar looks this earns me), flicking through pages and testing their weight in my hand. After a suitable period of procrastination I’ll inevitably find myself lured into a stationers by necessity – paperclips, glue or pens are the main culprits – and instead be seduced by the siren song of notebook adventure. When it comes to notebooks I am powerless against the rush, all self control exits stage left.
That isn’t to say I have dozens of them lying empty around my house, the great thing about being a notebook hoarder is that once you have a couple of newer editions the older crop start to look more accessible and before I know it I’m halfway through the ornate purple number with the cream lined pages and heavy magnetic clasp. Gifted notebooks upset the cycle completely, instead of the need to be worthy of the first page I tend to write in them almost immediately with whatever is on my mind that day – these turn into journals or inspiration books, full of daily-life stuff and pictures torn from magazines of whatever makes my heart flutter. Regardless of the rest there is always one constant slow-burner, a notebook with an added degree of special to me that I want to take my time filling and keep for life, this one was a gift from Tristan a few years ago and is all heavy marble-edged paper with a beautiful deep red leather binding. The smell is out of this world.
I once knew a person who had a dozen identical notebooks, one per year, filled at the rate of a page per day and shelved together when completed, from an interior design standpoint it looked good, but somehow it made me sad. For me, part of the joy in having a little library of notebooks at my fingertips is the way I can grab whichever takes my fancy when I’m struck with inspiration while I can’t sleep at night, and the unpredictable journey each notebook takes – I’ll write pages upon pages of thoughts or stories - then my next entry could be weeks later about a recipe I’m experimenting with. There’s a certain kind of magic about the rainbow of spines in a varied stack of notebooks too – all different sizes and textures and each with their own story to tell, which never turns out to be quite the plot you think it will at the beginning. I like to pick and mix – some of mine are pastel and pretty, some are fabric covered and tactile whereas others wouldn’t look out of place in the Hogwarts library.
Whatever your taste there will always be a notebook that fits and sometimes, the very special ones, find you.