26 January 2009

Fetish: Stationery Products

There are people of a certain bent, and you will know if you are one. Do you linger around the few remaining stationery retailers or specialty paper shops? Do you spend inordinate amounts of time haunting the pen and pencil aisle at Target? Do you forage Goodwill and thrift stores for reams of vintage paper? If these behaviors sound familiar, you probably already know about the pen, pencil and notebook renaissance(s). All of these apply to yours truly, by the way, but I'm just not always able to follow through. Scrupulous journal-keeping is appealing in theory but difficult in practice.

As with so many other subcultures that formerly hid in the shadows, the paper people are crawling all over the interwebs. There are scads of sites and blogs devoted to the analog retro-lution, and of course some are better than others. One of the more dedicated notebook blogs is BlackCover, dedicated to finding the perfect little black book. A more eclectic approach is on display at Strikethru.net. The intrepid blogger there indulges in typecasts, pencasts, pen and typewriter reviews and musings on the vintage paper life. There is also a great collection of links in the sidebar. Moleskinerie is devoted to (what else) the ubiquitous Moleskine brand of journal. From what I can tell, the site was initially begun by an aficianado but has since been acquired by Moleskine, the brand (something for bloggers everywhere to aspire to, I guess). Notebookstories is a bit more homespun and personal, while
RhodiaDrive is dedicated to the Rhodia brand. There are dozens if not hundreds more. There are entire subcultures devoted to Moleskine and Rhodia "hacks" at places like Lifehack.org and 43folders. There's a dedicated flickr group, for God's sake!

You can sense a bit of a backlash in all of this, or perhaps just a nostalgia for handcraft. I recently ran across a book titled The Art of the Handwritten Note. For me, it is more along the lines of wishful thinking: when I'm rolled along to my grave it would be nice for some grieving relative to discover a cache of notebooks ala Emily Dickinson, full of unpublished masterpieces. Or I could just sell my blog.

(image of Guillermo delToro's notebook via blogs.sun.com or go to panslabyrinth.com)

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