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.

Encyclopedia Brown and Mister Rogers.

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About that writing offline I mentioned yesterday

I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t obsessed with notebooks. The first notebook I remember loving so hard that I wore it down to a floppy nub was spiral-bound with an orange cover. In my notebook I wrote down a lot of facts that I thought Encyclopedia Brown would need to know if he ever needed my help to solve one of his cases.

Now I carry two Traveler’s Notebooks: one for work, and one for creative projects. I like having this separation between the two worlds. When I switch between notebooks, I feel like Mister Rogers trading his jacket and dress shoes for a cardigan and trainers.

Writing from: a quiet study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: Spotify’s Winter Classical playlist.

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.