Tuesday, May 15, 2007

white leaves

I bought about a hundred dollars' worth of blank books the other day. I was nearing the end of my current journal volume (about a year and a half of entries) and, much to my surprise, I discovered I'd used up all my blank books already.

The last time I bought a bunch of blank books, Meera seemed bemused; it would take years and years before I'd ever fill them.

Well, it did take several years (they passed very quickly) but I did it! The fact that there's very little in there besides a whole lot of self-therapy, and comments on how I did or didn't enjoy my breakfast, is neither here nor there. The fact is, it was very gratifying. And so, in anticipation of many more pages to fill, I overdid it again in procuring a fresh ample supply of blank books.

I want each book design to be unique. I loved those inexpensive Benedikt Taschen blank books with paintings by well-known artists on the cover. (Here's a photo of me, displaying the insides of one in 1993) The pages were white, smooth, and unlined. (Lines cramp my doodling style. Sadly, I seldom doodle nowadays. It used to come naturally, even compulsively, and I miss it.) I filled many of these Taschen editions, including Munch's Scream, Matisse's Blue Nude I, Dürer's bunny rabbit, and many more I've forgotten. I worried about the series going out of print, which is why I got in the habit of buying up several unique designs at a time.

My diary writing output, once quite prodigious, has dropped off considerably over the years. Besides not having as much spare time as I used to, my perception is that I've written so much about the same old vices and weakness and frustrations that there's precious little more to add. In the early days, troubled relationships, separated by long periods of unrequited love and foolish infatuations, filled many a page. Things are much simpler, more stable now. I am comfortable, I am sated. Bo-ring! :)

My love for my wife and children is strong and enduring; deeply gratifying and uncomplicated. I often stop and daydream about how lucky I am, how blessed, how happy I am. But seldom do I sit down and write about the details, the nuances; the remarkable things they say and do to enrich my life. I've been lazy in my contentment, I guess.

Well, I'm willing to make a conscious effort in my day-to-day writing to celebrate their unique qualities and contributions to the world. So, naturally, I should have plenty of blank books on hand.

The beloved old Taschen format seems to be a thing of the past, at least in our local bookstores. Spiral bindings abound...which I can't abide. On top of that, unlined is rarer than ever.

Eventually, I did find two or three brands I like. I was particularly pleased with paperblanks embellished wrap. They have an extended back cover that folds over from the right to cover the exposed page edges. The covers have handsome old leather designs including manuscript text facsimiles from the likes of Shakespeare and Charlotte Brontë and a faux but very realistic-looking worn spine. The choice for my next volume of scratchwork is the Van Gogh Wrap (right).

The pages are faintly lined, but with dim lighting, and my far-sightedness, I can barely see them...so I may just jumpstart my doodling career.

And certainly all those blank pages will beckon me to fill them with words. A new era of prodigious diary writing awaits me, I just know it.

    From the day's playlist...

  • Max Reger: Mein Odem ist schwach: "Mein Odem ist schwach"─Kammerchor der Universität der Künste, Berlin; Christian Grube, conductor─Mein Odem Ist Schwach...Konzertmitschnitt vom Herbst 2002
  • Bèbú─Clusone 3─Clusone 3
  • Gentleman [Edit Version]─Fela Kuti
  • Eight Miles High─The Byrds─Fifth Dimension
  • Khamma (légende dansée)─Martin Jones, piano─Debussy Complete Piano Music, Volume 4


The Unwelcome Guest said...

Good choice! I have been looking for a blank page journal that has the lined-page underlay that can be used or stored amongst the pages of the future in the back of the book. For a while I have been dreaming about buying this gorgeous Tree of Life blank book that has just such a feature, but I can't seem to talk myself into spending $75 on it. Someday!

Hope you are well. Have been enjoying keeping up with your blog, and certainly missing seeing you on a more regular basis.

- la 'shkins

The Unwelcome Guest said...

Oh yeah, I got caught up in the aesthetics and forgot to say how great it is that you're continuing the journaliing/diary tradition. Do you save all of your completed journals?

Puzzled said...

Those Taschen books often came with a lined page for insert. I don't think I realized what they were for at the time. That Tree of Life looks like just the thing for a hobbit to write a Middle Earth epic in. I think I'd be afraid to mar its pages with my humdrummery. :)

Yeah, I've kept every one of my journal books...some in a pretty tattered state (which is why I can't abide spirals bound)...and I've only lost one. (I've misplaced several, but managed to recover them eventually.)

I miss you and the gang with a chronic ache...in other words, this hiatus has not been easy, and yet I haven't been getting as much accomplished as I thought I would. Starting a blog might have something to do with it. It's become just one more big thing I don't have enough time to give proper attention to!

Thank you for stopping by and dropping a line. It's like finding a message in a bottle on a desert isle. These blog spots can be quite lonely places.