Notebooks are taking over my life

I am love with making notes. I makes notes in the morning, at bedtime, in the private places, in meetings, in my sleep. I make notes about things I have just done, just so I can cross them off my list.  The window man (?). ELE. Now we are 16. (Kester’s friend?). Like a film with subtitles, it all means something at the time. Which means it might not do by the morning after. (This does not stop me. It doesn’t seem to be the point.)

There is the small 9x14cm one, the handheld one which goes pretty much everywhere, into whichever bag, down the back pocket, or between the pages of another, bigger book. (As you ask, the current model is by Darkstar and I bought it for a reasonable fee from the estimable Nero’s Notes. Calepino (plain) is also a favourite.) This is the random, brain-dumping mother of everything. The note about the meal out. The to do list. (Never-ending.) The sudden flash of poetry-inspiration; an idea for a paper; a phone number. I get through quite a lot of them.

There is the slightly bigger one, also handheld, around A5-ish. This is for longer pieces of writing (or longer lists) which contain information (from meetings, from talks) That I Must Not Forget. It has to come with me to work, every day. Some days I never open it. On others I use nothing else. The problem is when I start using it for the phone numbers and to do lists and random flashes of inspiration etc (meetings can be good for this) that normally go in the tiny one. The current one is by Twsbi. It is absolutely brilliant for pencils.

Then there is the commonplace book. This doesn’t travel very far. It stays desk bound, or bedside bound (is that a word?) so that I can copy the latest chunk of very important and beautiful poetry/prose/blogging/quote etc that I find in whatever it is I am reading (This Is Not A Drill by Extinction Rebellion, as you ask). Again, there are days when it is rarely closed, but several more when it barely sees the light of day. This absolutely has to be Clairefontaine, because that is the rules, because I use fountain pens for this, and as eny fuel no Clairefontaine is the best in the world for this.

Another bedside book is where I do my Morning Pages. This splurging is private and very random and I have no idea what is in it. But there are rules, literally, ho ho. Seyes ruling with a margin, Clairefontaine, fountain pen, slightly chunkier than A5 format.

There is the desk bound A4 Clairefontaine, plain pages, which is somewhere between all of these. I have done random-rubbish morning pages in there. And juicy commonplace quotes. And phone numbers. But it also has something of the scrapbook about it. I stick in old bus tickets from Amsterdam. Postcards from friends. Scraps of paper on Which I Once Wrote An Amazing Sentence. Sometimes I do a plan of something in there. A poem or two has happened here. It’s where I muck around.

Finally, there is the drafting book. The current one is from Sweden and is by Paper Style. I may never own another one as they don’t appear to export to anywhere for less than the cost of a small car. It is beautiful. It is grey. It has a linen cover. It has to have plain pages. I notice that meeting notes have also crept in here (I may never forgive myself.) It is where poems happen. And where I collect the place(s) that poems also happen which are backs of envelopes and other scraps of unimportant paper, somewhere in the inside of the back cover.

It isn’t a great system, but it works for me. I know where they all live, and what they do, and what they are for. When I lose track of this is where the fun really starts.




  1. With minor variants – Snap! But my morning pages are double spaced in Ryman Lanham A4 (I buy five at a time) This is also format for first drafts. Actually the Morning pages – or first thing in the morning free writes, are the well I draw most of my poems from, usually a year or so after the entry. Refer the Redgrove incubation notes.

    My commonplace is entered on the computer – 32,000 words accumulated since about 1972.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HI Christopher. I like the look of the Langhams at Ryman. Nice and smart and not too showy. I should commonplace on the PC as well but each time I want to add something out comes the old notebook and pen. Very hard to shift these habits. Will look up Redgrove incubation etc. Sounds fascinating. As ever with gratitude, Anthony


  2. A5 Leather bound plain page notebook from earthworks on Etsy: Wild swimming journal, complete with custom made stamp “date, location, water temp)

    A6 Moleskine notebook: in the swim bag for instant note taking and temperature recording

    Assortment of A5 lined inspirational meme quotation notebooks: all the stuff I really need to remember for work, random shopping lists. I try to remember an “A” in a circle for actions.

    Pink leather bullet journal, A5: neglected bullet journal with colour coded to do lists. Pink, social. Green, self-care. Orange, work (now too much on the list for bujo). Blue, family. Yellow, house.

    I love hearing about your notebooks too and I’m getting shopping tips. Can’t write with a bloody fountain pen though. Stupid left-handedness!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks, Anthony. I have much in common with your topics for noting. I don’t recognise any of the types you use – would one get them in W.H.Smiths? I use a plain A5 Italian brand for a daily diary.Keep writing and keep us posted. Jeremy (Harvey)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The pink, cardboard cover exercise book, the decorative hardback Paperchase gifts, the Moleskines, the Tesco spiralled exercise book, the reporter notebooks, the handmade book gifts, the self made. There are already more than I use, yet I have just yielded to the appeal of a new Field Notes trilogy. Perhaps it is preparation for hibernation?


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