My New Best Notebooks

I spent way, way too much time last year trying to fit a bullet journal–or more of an omni journal–into a Midori Traveler’s Notebook, passport size. This waste of time was compounded by the fact that I was somehow bitten or infected by the current mania for perfectly decorated diary pages that involved Artwork and Design (with a capital “A” and “D”). I suffer from CDFS Syndrome (can’t draw for shite), and I was determined to conquer this by means of Tombow Dual Brush Watercolor Pens, which I would use in my miniature bullet journals to draw Beautiful Graphics.

Folks, I will freely admit that all of this, combined with my inherent love of fountain pens (from which I have suffered for many years) sucked me into a perfect storm of stupid. There’s a reason first graders learn to write large letters with fat pencils. It’s because they’re not coordinated enough yet to do anything else. And so it was with me. I started and restarted my bullet journal no less than three times over the course of the year. Each time, victory would be within my grasp and something would happen (something along the lines of real life) to prevent me from moving ahead.

In November I decided to take stock. I had a bazillion dollars invested in watercolor pens, black ink, even a Pilot Vanishing Point to do my actual writing with. Spending any more money felt unjustifiable. That meant no $25 Leuchttraum notebooks, no Tomoe River paper, no Moleskine cahiers. But what about all those watercolors? What about the Staedtler Fineliners? And please, what about the black extra-fine Pitt Artist Pens? Oh, no!

Salvation came from my favorite website, the one and only Goulet Pen Company. There I found, for $15.95, a Clairefontaine “My Essential” Notebook in dot grid. It was the answer for everything. This paperbound notebook has everything: An eight page index/table of contents. One hundred and eighty-four pages of smooth, cream-colored Clairefontaine paper, numbered and dot gridded. Several of those pages at the end can be torn out. Pockets fore and aft. An elastic closure. A ribbon marker!

I made it mine.

Shucks, I bought two of them. One is for the bullet journal, the other is for my collections. Both are filling up nicely, and both are in daily use with almost two weeks remaining in January. I am finding no bleed-through, minimal ghosting, and all the other lovely benefits of the pricey notebooks at a bargain of a price. I only hope they don’t catch on too much or they’ll either quit making them or they’ll be too expensive.

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