Back to Handwritten

“She needs a new journal. The one she has is problematic. To get to the present, she needs to page through the past, and when she does, she remembers things, and her new journal entries become, for the most part, reactions to the days she regrets, wants to correct, rewrite.”
― Dave Eggers, How the Water Feels to the Fishes

The Window at Molly’s, the street (Decatur) unusually quiet, with notebook, vintage Esterbrook pen, and Molly’s frozen Irish Coffee

I have started writing in my physical journal on a daily basis again. For decades, I wrote every day into the computer, and published a lot (most? maybe, maybe not) on my Online Journal (these were days before the appalling word blog was invented). Then, when my kids were in high school, I had to stop the online thing – too many people were reading it and giving me shit.

So I went to the Moleskine. This was about the time my addiction to fountain pens started, so it was a good pair. I wrote every day in my Moleskine, at least a page, sometimes more, sometimes many more. I have a stack of journals I filled and go back and look at them sometimes.

Then I started to blog again (2011) and my daily scribbling fell off. I still wrote in journals, but not on a quotidian basis. I experimented with bullet journalling and planning and other techniques. But something was missing.

The other day, driving home from work, I was listening to a podcast – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Plannerverse – and the guy was talking about how he used his planner for planning… but he kept a hardbound journal to write in every day, to keep a record of what he was doing and how he was feeling.

And that resonated with me. I dug through my Moleskines and found one that was only a third full. The last dates in it were about ten years ago – toward the end they were getting irregular and gaps were appearing – I could tell I was on the way to stopping, only writing on through habit and inertia.

So now I’ve started back. I never realized how much I missed this. I have a small zippered pouch with a selection of pocket fountain pens (Kaweco Sport, Pilot Prera, Pilot Kakuno) that I can carry when I leave the house (usually on my bike) and I can stop and scribble somewhere. I have my grail pens (Sheaffer PFM, Lamy 2000, Parker “51”, Eversharp Skyline) and I love writing with them at my desk.

It is so odd to look at the ten+ years old entries in the same book I’m still scribbling in. So much has changed, so much is still the same.

We’ll see how many years I can keep this up now. How many do I have left?

My Pomodoro timer, Moleskine, and Ivory Pilot Prera fountain pen.

2 responses to “Back to Handwritten

  1. For years now, I’ve fallen into a more or less weekly pattern of journaling — so much for the “daily” root of the word journal! — and like you, I prefer the fountain pen. In fact, I got my first fountain pens the same time I got my first computer, and while the PC’s long gone, the pens are still here. It’s surprising how long a bottle of good ink lasts, too.
    The keyboarding’s definitely taken center stage, though, with blogging and book drafting/revision at the forefront.
    One thing that’s fallen totally out of the practice is actual correspondence, handwritten or typed, the kind on paper and mailed off in envelopes. An emailed note just ain’t the same.

    • No kidding. I used to love writing letters to people. I traveled a lot in my job and would buy cards, sit in my motel room at night, and write letters to people. I miss that a lot.

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