It is a view to inspire a Columbus, to send you off sailing to unknown lands. Behind you, as you sit at the sturdy oak table, is the continent of Europe, on whose western edge you’ve been perched. Before you, crashing almost below your shoeless feet, is the vast Atlantic Ocean. Nothing, bar a wall of sliding glass, stands between you and the eastern shore of Long Island, 3000 miles away.
I have a moleskine city guide to BARCELONA, a city that I have never been to but have dreams about. I have imagined other lives for myself in that city. My longing to go there only increases as years go by; I feel like someone read to me about it many times when I was a child before bed fighting sleep, but I don’t think that ever happened. I feel like I’ve already been there, but can never quite return. When I was in Spain, I hadn’t slept in a few days, and was so close; I cried like a child in the train station when we discovered the train was booked.
I have a Rite in the Rain notebook, which the salesgirl said was great for crying and writing at the same time. I don’t intend to have anything to cry about, but I do know that sometimes good ideas come in the shower.
I have a little notebook that I bought in Spain, then wrote in when I got back and was depressed. Inside are little drawings and tasks that seemed insurmountable: “goal #1 for August 18th- Buy shampoo.” On the back is an embossed GBBN, but I could never discover what company manufactured them. It has a pocket in the back that I filled too full with something I don’t remember and taped up again.
I have 9 composition notebooks filled with scrawlings of my half awake self. I keep them because I threw so many others away. If I ever review them, I am reminded that I only hate what I write within the first month, and after that I have enough distance to treat the material as something I can rescue.
I have a notebook bound with a book cover that once protected a collection of stories. I write snippets of stories that don’t make sense based on the pictures already taped to the pages.
I have a notebook made of recycled paper with a leaf and a little twig pressed into the cover from my dear former roommate Rukmini, who wrote on the first page: “A gift from India: whenever you show your jalwa [style], think of me.” I do.
I have a red notebook with a repeating pattern of trees and Chinese or Japanese people in boats given to be by a dear friend that I now realize I never had much in common with, but we were in the same boat somehow.
I have a Piccadilly notebook with graph paper that will soon take a larger place in my life. I have a shell of a moleskine reporter that I used for my GTD system and CTA pass holder. I have fake moleskine mini cahiers from Target with red alligator skin patterns on the outside. I have a large 81/2X11 red notebook with rubbery outsides, bound by a mini bungee cord that smells like a cross between gym class and book glue: two smells that I love. I still have yet to buy an ecosystem notebook. The wonderful thing is their paper thickness, their tear out pages, and their eco-ness.
My notebooks reflect my life and contain it.I now have a bookshelf for them, and I finally feel at home.