Are there certain tools you find you absolutely can't live without? These days it's hard to think of there being tools that aren't electronic, and I have my fair share of those. In general, I am drawn to specific products more than brands. I have never caught the whole "cult of the Apple" though I was fond of the original Macintosh a quarter of a century ago. One of my exes foisted the big, ugly iMacs of the early 1990s on me that were all in gaudy tropical colors. Maybe I was projecting my troubles with him onto the computer, but all I know is that it crashed all the time, took up too much desk space and forever put a bad taste in my mouth for Apple products. I've had few iPods which I use less, and I find their stores really glaringly bright and ugly and their staff are always annoyingly cult-like and unable to solve problems and seem to have drunk too much of the Steve Jobs Koolaid.
But I digress...
In his book Hamlet's Blackberry, William Powers devotes an entire chapter to the cult of the Moleskine, as an alternative to the online life. For a long time I avoided them as being too cultish and fadish as well but have come to enjoy them over the past couple of years. The above represent the first six months of 2011. Not journals, per se, but books where I often make collages, paste in photos or articles I want to come back too or just work out words or thoughts beyond the many other journals I keep that range from ones on food, gardening, dogs, yoga, and topics I won't share publicly as well as a traditional journal that I have been keeping consistently since age eight.I have long used yellow tablets for work, but over the past few years have picked up a habit from my sister of using 5" x 7" yellow Cambridge pads and a Sharpie. There is something about the smaller format and the bolder strokes of a Sharpie that helps make tasks written in this format get done. There is more urgency and manageability to points written here, even if they spill on to another page.
My sister and I used these when caring for our ailing parents a few years ago, and there is always a tinge associated with that when I used them, but also a comforting continuity.
On the topic of family and continuity, this pen was given to me by my sister more than 20 years ago, and I think has forgotten giving it to me, but it has come to be known as the pen, the one I use for my daily list of things that matter the most to me. Not tasks, but those things that confirm I have really lived that day.
And then there are the mechanical pencils. Ah, the mechanical pencil. These are something I could write pages of poetry with and about. I would like to do an entire photos essay on them.
The above are but three of my favorite variations, none of them particularly. The top one is from the local art supply store FLAX, the middle one is a generic Papermate one from Walgreens and the last one is from Daiso, the Japanese dollar store. Its compact, sleek design is half the fun of it.
Mechanical pencils have a near sacred appeal to me, perhaps because they can both document and are erasable, a written masala that could be removed with one swipe of a gum eraser.
And then there are razor point markers....well, that's another post.