“We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half-full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-coloured uppers, downers, screamers, laughers … and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls.
Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.’
Or so Hunter S Thompson wrote in ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’. While the ghost of Raoul Duke would probably rise up and rip my guts out through my throat if I was to compare myself to Thompson, I think it is fair to say that I have two collections that I push to the limits. The first of these is tabletop games. The other is stationery.
You see, I’m an analogue person, born before the internet was a twinkle in some ARPA researcher’s eyes. As a teenager, I kept a diary in an exercise book, my school notes were kept in yellow notebooks, and my first attempts at writing were made in dog-eared jotters. Because I wrote things down – and with a little nod to my obsessive nature – I gained an appreciation of the different types of stationery and what they could be used for: lined paper for writing; blank for drawing; squared paper for mapping; log paper for graphs. Indeed, as time went on, I developed a full-fledged love of stationery.
These days I have a notebook of some kind for every occasion. For everyday use, I have a bevy of black Moleskine journals – usually one to each project. I find the hardbacked notebooks very robust and able to resist the trials of being carried about in a bag all day. I also have a leather wallet that can take refills of A6 paperback notebooks, easy to stow away in my pockets. For personal use, I have a handmade leather-bound journal that I was given as a gift. Then, for my gaming notes, I have a refillable journal that I received from a Kickstarter campaign. And, as if these weren’t enough, I have notebooks from various stationers, some of which are limited edition designs or even custom-made.
So, apart from being an obsessive stationery-phile, what pleasure do I get from my notebooks? Well, I have the convenience of being able to make notes anywhere, regardless of power supply or a connection to the internet. Also, there is a certain amount of style in pulling out a notebook and pen, then just scribbling away. There is also no small joy when you meet another lover of stationery and geek out on the joys of 120 gsm versus 80 gsm paper. Finally, there is the sheer tactile pleasure that comes from feeling a nib scratching across good, cold-pressed paper.
Of course, most of the stuff I write in my notebooks ends up being transferred to the electronic realm – either by scanning or transcription. But, I still think my notebooks are better.
OMP Admin Note: John Nedwill is a writer, OMP Network member, and a regular #ONeMillionProject Blogger. His work can be found on Wattpad.com and in the OMP short story anthologies to be published by Dark Ink Press on February 20, 2018.