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How Many Notebooks Do You Have?


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I find that I remember things better when I write them down. I have a crazy (and busy) life, and I feel the need to compartmentalize it. That’s why I have seven active notebooks.

It probably would have been ideal if I centralized things, but a very sentimental journal entry about someone doesn’t look good beside a list of to-dos, including “pick up the laundry” and “send money.”

I go crazy having to look for my notes on e-mail campaigns (which I’m working on at the office) and find them beside a list of stories I have gathered but haven’t written yet (five done of twenty-plus), or worse, some resolutions like, “I will never . . .”

Seven notebooks. Yes. Allow me to count them:

1. Moleskine Plain Reporter – initially this was where I started a novel in progress (two pages and counting). If you happen to steal it, you’ll get an inkling of what bothers me. This is stuff that never goes into my personal blog. Now you know. (And yes, I name names there. Eek. I learned a lesson from a friend who recovered a journal from 10 years back and came upon initials, and a decade later she doesn’t remember any of them!)

2. Moleskine Lined Journal – my very first. There are a few leaves that I need to finish, but I’m thinking of retiring this as it’s more than a year old and has gone traveling with me. Its binding is falling apart, and I am afraid my grandchildren won’t get to read it. This one started out as a journal, but more interestingly, like my reporter, it also contains notes on my very first interviews (I can’t decipher my scrawl anymore) and books I read.

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3. Rhodia Uni-Blank (above photo). I love its paper! This contains a lot of interview notes too (I know, I have this habit of randomly picking one notebook and running off) as well as stuff from work. No journal entries, thankfully. I’m planning to retire this one soon as these are not available locally. I won’t get another one ever. That’s for certain.

4. Moleskine cahiers ( plain and squared) given by two different people. One has four blank pages left and contains my weekly editorial lineup for this arts and culture blog (I take it seriously, yes), as well as a list of people I wanted to do a profile on. It’s a long list that’s part of a greater list and I’ve done only three stories so far. I also listed a lot of addresses and numbers here, in addition to possible stories I can do.

My other squared cahier acts more like a to-do list. Someone gave it to me for Christmas, but I gave away the two (it comes in a set of three) others to people who have been wanting a Moleskine but never got the chance. I only wish the last few pages weren’t detachable because I write from both ends, and flipping through the pages wears them off easily.

5. Ayala Museum notebook. Its cover is “Mother and Child” by National Artist for Visual Arts Ang Kiukok from 1983. I started using this around 2005, but in the process of moving from one home to another, I completely lost it. Half of it is still blank. It’s a home directory: you know, whom to call to buy gas, or which box number I stored the pair of glass plates. I need to write everything down as I am so forgetful.

6. My Little Brown Notebook, which I got for Christmas. It’s not in the picture because I decided I will be using it solely for notes at my day job. It’s anything but little (in fact, it’s huge and bulky!) and is very handy as it contains a food directory for, like empanada or lechon.

I still have a couple of blank notebooks around, and am I excited to start them off (there’s this sexy feeling I get when I’m starting a new one), but I want to make sure I use up all these seven other stuff before I do.

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One Notebook to Rule Them All


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I’ve heard of the French Rhodia but have never seen one in the flesh, er, paper. So I was naturally curious about it. A friend in New York sent me one recently, and it came a day after my birthday, so I’d like to think of it as a birthday present.

I’ve been using a Moleskine for some time now, so my notebook preferences are hammered down.

My only reservation about the Rhodia is that it reminds me so much of school days with its very utilitarian look and orange cover. The version I got is not lined, and I just find it hard to write on blank paper. This will certainly be difficult.

But as in sex and everything else, the first time is always lousy. Maybe the second time, there will be redemption.

So there, between a no-nonsense French and a sleek Italian, what do you choose? I think, as in a pie, the test is in the eating, er, writing.