The analog joy of a Traveler’s Notebook meetup.

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Stack of Traveler's Notebooks

Today I attended a Traveler’s Notebook meetup at Oblation Papers and Press, Portland’s premiere paper boutique and letterpress studio, and one of my favorite places on Earth.

I bought my first Traveler’s Notebook in May 2010. The first words I wrote in it were, “I know, I know — a new notebook, really?” Yes, really, self. And look at me, eight years later, meeting other people who probably wrote similar sentences in their own similar notebooks.

The future, despite the decidedly dystopian trajectory, can still contain glorious moments of geekery.

A certain giddiness engulfs the soul when surrounded by people who express their creativity with the same tools. I get this feeling in a posse of writers and I got the same feeling today. Our host, Kelly, exuded delight as she remarked on the fascinating ways in which each of us had customized our notebooks. I brought some journaling supplies to share and inked some fountain pens too, but I needn’t have over-prepared because Oblation provided inks to try with dip pens, stamps and ink pads, washi tape, stickers, and goodie bags containing paper samples and other ephemera.

And so our version of a group photo contains zero people. Or does it? Here we are: our notebooks as our avatars, blank canvases turned into journals, into sketchbooks, into planners, into endless possibilities.

Day 363 of Project 365: Turning the page.

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Tonight I turned the page to peek at 2017. It looks so clean and new from here. I am sure 2016 looked much the same, last December 28th. Is it foolish to look forward to a symbolic fresh start? Are these merely the first few hours of our darker days?

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Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: Carrie Fisher being interviewed in 1977 about “Star Wars”. In French. She really was awesome.

 

Day 362 of Project 365: Fireblue.

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Here is my first Kaweco, a Liliput Fireblue, which is one of the smallest fountain pens — less than four inches long when capped! Each pen is hand-torched by Kaweco CEO Michael Gutberlet to give it the distinctively mottled steel finish. I’m looking forward to putting it through its paces in future ink tests!

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Day 339 of Project 365: Printing practice.

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A friend asked if I would write some lines of poetry in Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku fountain pen ink but I need to break out the dSLR to capture the shading. Not tonight! Too sleepy.

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Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: an episode of “Take My Wife”.

Day 334 of Project 365: Refilling the tank.

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Some people unwind after a long workday with a martini. I refill fountain pens.

Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: the rain.

Day 309 of Project 365: Worse things happen at sea.

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I was thumbing through this fun book my dad sent called “Let’s Bring Back: The Lost Language Edition” and found this phrase. It is meant to be soothing but it sounds pretty ominous too. (Bonus failed Uncial in the corner.)

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Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: nothing in particular. Must be time for sleep.

Day 307 of Project 365: Good as we’re going to get.

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The Chicago Cubs won the World Series! Somehow this “Westworld” quote seemed appropriate.

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Practicing my wonky g’s with some Pelikan Edelstein Amethyst in my Conklin All-American.

Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: November rain. Not the GnR song.

Day 304 of Project 365: De Atramentis Charles Dickens.

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The weekend is nearly over, so it must be time to play with some ink. De Atramentis Charles Dickens is a greenish gray (the bottle says “cement grey”) with excellent shading.

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Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: “Little River” by Loamlands.

Day 299 of Project 365: Tea without sugar.

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I’ve introduced FunkyPlaid to “Detectorists” and I’m enjoying it even more the second time around.

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Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: that great theme song again.

Day 252 of Project 365: Analog vs. digital.

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I love my notebook, but on days like today I worry that my analog to-do list isn’t capable of handling everything I throw at it. Occasionally I flirt with a digital task manager …

And then I think of all of the ink I’d be missing out on.

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Writing from: my study in Portland. Listening to: FunkyPlaid watching NFL.