Journal picking

My favorite writing notebook is the softcover pocket Leuchtturm1917 journal. I found one with a flexible soft white cover in a local bookstore years ago and loved that it lies flat, has creamy off-white paper, faintly printed lined and grid versions, and feels overall superior to its Moleskine counterpart. The Leuchtturm1917 has since grown and introduced new sizes, colors, and a variety of styles that seem to have kicked off with the popularity of bullet journaling.

I went through phases with my journaling preferences. Early in college I experimented with a variety of different styles of notebooks, and there was that period of time where I filled stacks of cow-print composition notebooks inspired by the film Henry Fool. I have since strictly kept a pocket Leuchtturm1917 and go through one about every 3 months. I recently purchased two plain medium hardcovers and noticed a striking difference. I shared my past woes with the decline of paper and binding quality with Nifty at Notebook Stories, but noticed a new development.

No Leuchtturm1917 is the same, each has a slightly different cover overhang and binding imperfections. While the "old" and "new" versions are both made in Taiwan (the even newer ones are now made in China and have declined in paper quality), there are interesting differences. By the way, the "old" version I am referring to is not the same as the glorious ones that were made when they first started selling them in the US. Those had a single bookmark and creamier paper. How can one tell if the sealed notebook is the old or new version? Here is a tip! The old one has a smaller font on the back of the jacket. The new one has a "FSC" stamp on the lower right. That's pretty much all you can tell from the outside to determine if the precious old style is in the stack. Yes, I am the weirdo looking through and comparing them in that stationary aisle, like a picky eater selecting the right kind of apple or knocking on a watermelon because they all look alike but not the same inside.

The "if lost" opening page has been redesigned. The table of contents looks very different and shortened to 2 pages instead of 3. The old book has 249 marked pages, the new ends on 251. The branding and markings in the new notebook are darker and bolder. I prefer the old version with the smaller and lighter numbering. The binding, luckily, looks the same but I can't say the same about the paper until I use them. The new version has 80 G/QM paper marked on the inside of the front cover, but feels thinner to the touch compared to the older version (I tested this by touching both with my eyes closed to remove bias). The changes are subtle, but these are the sorts of things I notice right away. The bold numbering on the bottom of the pages is unnerving.

Have you used a Leuchtturm1917 notebook before? What are your notebook pet peeves? 

Everything beautiful is painted in melancholy

There is a heaviness after the holidays that comes with the anticipated return to routine. The snow has melted, uncovering a brown mush of a long forgotten autumn. Christmas trees discarded on the sidewalks, the forced festivities put away in that out of reach shelf in the back of the closet. I often feel like a pitiful child at the end of summer vacation, when a long break comes to a close and it is time to wipe the dust off my laptop and lose track of the hours counting down to the weekend. The weekends too, speed past like a smudge of trees outside the window of a fast moving train. A new year marks a new beginning. Isn't it too much pressure for one calendar day? It is too much pressure for any one person.

I'm detail oriented. When I talk or write to a friend, I describe the moment. I set the scene, location, scents, sights, sounds, what I am in the middle of or was doing right before. I feel it is important because the time and place influences my state of mind, the context of musings and questions. Take me out of the present moment and I am like an entirely different person. I didn't realize the extent of this until a friend brought it up, and then I remembered instances when I've been told similar things. I am detail oriented and some view it as a quality while others are annoyed or intimidated. I consider it my quality. 

I took myself on a walk when the sun already set and a cool deep blue tinted the horizon in a settling fog. I listened to the first chapter of Asleep by Banana Yoshimoto on my cell phone, and when I returned I played a part I liked without headphones for my husband while we drank tea and he slowly cut slivers of Camembert cheese for a Challah bun I shouldn't have eaten but did. As we chewed and listened, pausing with his hand in a package of wafers to quiet the plastic crackling while listening to the important sentences, the tunnel of trees on either side of the path came to me. The path I walked on while hearing the very same words read by the robotic US female local voice #1. Everything, almost everything, is in context of a memory. 

Everything beautiful is painted in melancholy because it doesn't last. I saw these words on a page in one of my diaries and can't remember if it was something I thought or read somewhere. Knowing me, I would have noted down where it came from.

In this moment, I am perched on the edge of a kitchen chair. It is not the most comfortable position and I could always scoot back. I don't know why I do this but I always have, probably because I used to work jobs where I needed to frequently alternate between standing and sitting. The light is dimmed and a candle is flickering in a cup next to me, a cup with a cat that appears to be sleeping in a fetal position with the words "Can't adult today" stylized around it. It is supposed to smell like green tea, but has a floral scent I can't put my finger on. My diary lies open on the opposite side, where I looked to get me going with this post, a book, another notebook, a small speaker, an assortment of wires and chargers within reach. The fridge just started rumbling in another cycle started off with a grunt, and there is an unnerving tapping noise in the heat pipe behind me by the window. 

ps: I am glad I have kept going with this blog. It feels like a cozy nook I've carved out for myself and gives me incentive to keep writing. I'm planning to build up the courage and share a little more about myself on here soon.


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