Note on the Fridge to Moleskine and the Very Good News

No Telling

Dear Moleskine,

I know I’ve been a tad insistent about this ruled, extra large notebook business. I know I’ve whined and shaken my fist in the air in frustration. In short, I know I’ve given you a hard time.

The last email I received about the rebirth of the XL ruled Soft Cover Moleskine was heartening. While my favorite XL ruled cahiers were still history, I could make do. It put a dent in my despair.

So you can imagine my absolute joy this morning when I found this little miracle in my email:

Here I sit, down to my last two or three cahiers, and you slide out of the email ether riding a white horse and slinging out Exactly What I Want. I was this close to breaking up with you, Moleskine, and now you’re offering my favorite notebook in two new colors. I feel like dancing.

You may now consider us reconciled.



(Start your credit cards, Moleskine lovers, and click on the announcement above to stock up.)

Note on the Fridge to Moleskine (Part II, maybe III)

No Telling

Dear Moleskine,

I know in the past I’ve been a little upset, maybe even a little OCD/freaky about your decision to discontinue Extra Large Ruled Cahiers. To add insult to injury this year you introduced two new colors – blood red and navy – in addition to your regular black and cardboard cahiers. Again, without an XL Ruled Cahier in the lineup. I didn’t whine, though, until I discovered you’d also discontinued the XL Ruled Soft Cover books.

Sweet Jesus.

To tell you the truth, I’ve been in mourning and unable to gather enough strength even to complain about it here. Instead, I did the next worst thing and gave up, started cruising other sites for “almost” notebooks. I don’t mean to disparage all those Rhodia people out there, but that paper is white. Doesn’t matter how smooth or fountain-pen friendly it is, it’s blinding.

So imagine my delight today when this appeared in my email.

It’s not a full-blown ruled cahier resurrection, but close enough for me. I can exhale now and scribble like a madwoman in the last twenty pages of my old XL Ruled Soft Cover. There will be more! And I won’t have to figure exchange rates to get one of the last five on the planet.

So thank you, Moleskine. You’ve saved my brand-loyalty and my sunny disposition.

Moleskine and Etsy and the Seven Stages of Cahier Grief

Fresh Ribbon

I’ve been a little put out ever since Moleskine discontinued production of my beloved black, extra large, ruled cahiers. A friend who went to the AWP conference gifted me with Moleskine’s 2009 catalog and – adding insult to injury – now there’s a glorious, deep red XL cahier – in blank and gridded paper only. No! Moleskine also added an 8×11 hardbound ruled “folio” notebook, but I can’t find this one online anywhere. There’s the barest mention of it here, but no picture or price.

I need to make peace with this loss. There’s a reason people make fun of Moleskine addicts. There are seven stages of grief, you know, and I’m floating somewhere between #4 and #5. It’s not a pretty place.

So off to Etsy. I figure if Big Business isn’t interested in me, I can send my couch-cushion change to someone who cares. I love supporting artists and they love making art. It’s a match made in heaven.

There are so many gorgeous choices. It’s taking me too long to figure out how to link the pictures to each site, so I’ve included the links below each one. (A little help, techies?)

Neilsonhandmade has a stunning How to Win Boys “upcycled” book. I may need to rob more than just my couch-cushions to get it, but it’s a contender. The Trouble book is another, but there just aren’t enough couches to bankroll that one. When I win the lottery, this will be one of my first stops.

Allibell has handmade journals are a little closer to my price range. Thirty pages of mulberry paper and all that vintage ephemera for only $9.00.

Ah, Afiori. This jewel is only 4″x6″, but it has a hundred pages (x2 of you write on both sides) of mixed papers. The cover is one of Afiori’s prints on frosted plastic, so it doesn’t have to be so preciously guarded against coffee spills and such. Only $12. Lovely.

There are literally hundreds more upcycled, recycled, hand sewn, vintage, breathtaking journals on Etsy. I even found quite a few artistically enhanced Moleskines there. Sadly, none of them are extra large, ruled cahiers. When I’ve moved ahead a bit in the grieving process, I’ll give them more attention. Right now it hurts too much.

The Moleskine Quest Continues

No Telling

My new Moleskine is in! After having an emotional moment or two over the discontinuation of my favorite Moleskine extra-large ruled black cahiers, I went on a serious quest and finally found a few. In the UK. For a lot of money. Damn the expense, though, because I ordered the next best and even more expensive thing – an extra-large soft cover Moleskine from The Journal Shop on Ebay. About $30 and a week later, I’ve got her sitting right next to me, ready for scribbling.
These soft-cover Moleskines are just larger versions of the ones everyone else carries around – 192 pages with a proper back pocket and workable elastic band protecting the most luscious ivory paper ever made. The cahiers are lighter, but you pay for that lightness with a cardboardy covers and a sad little back pocket that tears easily. I tell you, I’m in heaven.
I realize I’m just putting off the inevitable, though. When The Journal Shop runs out of these they’ll be gone forever and I can’t bear to be stuck without a proper notebook again. Enter Black Cover, a blog in search of the Perfect Moleskine Alternative. It was nice to find someone out there more obsessive than I am about such things, but even nicer to find so many reviews on notebooks. Finally, someone else gets do do the dirty work.
A review there of Piccadilly Notebooks has me ready to take a chance. They’re close enough to Moleskine to make me happy, it seems, and while there’s not an extra-large notebook, the large is mighty close. Price? I could’ve bought two Piccadillys for the cost of my one Moleskine. Availability? These can be had online at Piccadilly’s site, but rumor has it these notebooks are also available at Borders. That will just have to be a rumor, though, since I’m miles and miles from Borders and their website is on the fritz. Luckily, Black Cover is having a little contest, and I could win some samples. Wish me luck with this, because otherwise I’ll whine about notebooks forever.
No one wants that.

Note on the Fridge to Moleskine

No Telling

Oh, dear. For the past couple of months I’ve been frantic for more Extra Large Ruled Cahier Moleskine notebooks, and you appear to have ceased production. Can’t find them anywhere – not even the sad Kraft paperbag covered ones.

This simply won’t do. I’ve a special fondness for these notebooks – EXACTLY these notebooks – and it frightens me a little that I may never see another one. Sure, I know you make scads of other sizes and strange gridded things, but my level of desperation for the lovely lined beauties has made me look elsewhere for scribble notebooks.

Elsewhere, I tell you. And it’s not a pretty experiment.

Ladies – you know what it’s like when you’ve got to find a new lipstick, hairspray, shampoo, whatever? We buy and buy brand upon brand, always finding something that’s almost right, but never quite what we’re looking for. Countertops and make-up cases groan under the weight of unused products. Same with the Moleskine.

Apica, chemistry notebooks, cute composition books, expensive leather journals from miscellaneous book stores – they’re all functional and in their own ways a delight, but they’re not the Moleskine’s that slip perfectly into my purse, the ones with the flexible black covers, the ones with the perfect line spacing on exquisite paper.

Please let us know soon the true fate of these XL lined cahiers, because scribbling should be near-perfect tactile experience, and I’m sitting here with almost-but-not-quite notebooks.

Thank you so,

UPDATE: I wrote a pleading email to Moleskine and received this heart-stopping response…
“Thank you for contacting Customer Care. We appreciate your inquiry. However,both the XL Ruled Journals and the XL Squared Journals have been discontinued by the manufacturer. The only XL Journals we have are Plain. We do offer both the Ruled and Squared Journals in both the Cahier Line and theTraditional Moleskine Notebooks in both Pocket and Large sizes. Please let us know if you have additional questions, or if we can assist insome other way. Customer Care

Toll-Free: 1-800-808-7714″
Sweet. Jesus. Say it aint so, Moleskine….

Hi. I’m Monda and I’m an office supply addict.

No Telling

Ever since I was a little girl hanging out at my father’s desk, I’ve had a thing for office supplies. Yellow college-ruled legal pads, killer Swingline staplers that look like miniature Buicks, Flair felt-tip pens, copy sets you can load in a typewriter to make multiple, tissue-paper copies – pink ones. Oh, and empty “Blue Books” just made for writing tiny novels, steno pads with that fabulous “eye-ease” green paper, and boxes broken at the edges but stocked with hundreds of sheets of Eaton onionskin paper. I can’t even talk about my love affair with envelopes. It’s just too much.

You know, I lived the double-luck of having a father who was both a professor and a coach. You know what that means. Clipboards.

It was easy to keep me entertained and out of everyone’s way – Dad just sat me in the corner or at a spare table in his office (home or school), and there I’d stay scribbling and typing and stapling and creating. His Hendrix office sported an old Royal typewriter the color and weight of a boat anchor. At home, it was a spiffy early sixties Smith-Corona Galaxie. No one ever really taught me to type, and I never really learned in any productive way. It didn’t matter, though, since the whole point was to keep me busy and out of trouble. Besides, I had writing to do.

I imagine there are scores of teacher’s kids out there with the same accidental training. The other eventuality is this unhealthy craving for office supplies. It honed my tastes and made me quite particular about writing tools.

I’d rather write in my own blood than use a ballpoint pen, for example. And forget pencils. There’s just something about them that anticipates making a mistake. There’s nothing sexy about erasure and correction – I don’t like the temporary nature of that business. I’ve got a friend and colleague who refuses to use anything but yellow number two pencils of a particular make and model. Ticonderoga? Something like that. Bless his heart, is all I can say, because – writing instrument aesthetics aside – he’s having quite a time finding a damned pencil sharpener. They just don’t automatically install those in the back of every room like they used to.

Oddly enough, I’ve never craved fountain pens. Too scratchy. The only thing that pulled me away from felt-tip Paper Mate Flairs was the advent of gel pens, Uniballs in particular. I buy them by the box and always have about six jangling around in my purse. Ah, heaven.

Paper is where I get into real trouble. Those yellow, hardbacked, college-ruled legal pads are my siren song. Can’t stay away from them. Even though I’ve matured into more of a Moleskine XL Cahier kind of gal, I can’t leave Office Depot without at least one package of legal pads in tow. Besides, the Depot doesn’t sell Moleskine. For that I have to walk into a bookstore, and those trips only cause more shelving problems.

In my pre-Moleskine days, I bought stacks of chemistry notebooks. I still do, actually. For those of you unfamiliar, these are like composition books only more elaborately bound. The paper is that magical “eye-ease” green of old steno pads, but they’re college-ruled and the pages are numbered. As an angsty teen I bought these at the college bookstore and wrote page after numbered page of bad poetry covered in tears and cigarette burns. Last summer, I went to a lot of trouble to get those put on the college bookstore shelves again. Count on the fact that I always have at least one Moleskine and one chemistry notebook going at all times.

Just yesterday Strikethru introduced me to an entirely new affliction that I ordered immediately – Apica notebooks. I only bought one just in case, but I’m sure to soon start juggling three different scribbling books, dammit. Take a look at them – they’re irresistible and we can blame Strikethru.

Swingline staplers. The old ones never die or break, not even if you staple through leather or drop them fifty times. I have one on my desk right now that sat on my father’s desk in the sixites. It works like a charm and weighs a good three pounds – if I ever have the need it can double as weaponry. When it comes to staplers, newer is never better. At work, I’ve been through four plastic staplers in two years and good riddance to them all.
My addiction is too involved to fully explain in a mere blog post. To do it right, I’d need to make another trip to the Depot or some other Palace of Paper to get more supplies. Legal pads, probably. And file folders. Hmmm.