My mother bought me a soft-bound lined Moleskine for my trip to London. The Moleskine journal, according to legend, is what Picasso and Hemingway used to take notes and doodle, and that’s how I use it, too. I traveled in England before wi-fi was prevalent and before phone plans had reasonable overseas rates. I turned off my flip phone when I boarded my departure plane in New York and didn’t turn it back on until three months later when I returned. I relied on a digital camera to take photos, but even then there were many places, such as Westminster Abbey and the Royal Opera House, where picture taking was not permitted, and so I drew instead, or scribbled descriptions of my experiences.

In addition to doodles and notes, my Moleskine contains addresses and phone numbers, a hand drawn 18 month calendar and weekly planner, my reading list and to-be-read list, recipes, Bible studies and prayers, watercolor paintings, movies and concert ticket stubs, Polaroid snapshots and magazine cutouts, schedules, packing lists and outfit plans, shopping lists and meal plans, to-do lists and budget notes, exercise and diet trackers. Sometimes other people make doodles or notes for me, and anytime I’ve been left a post-it note I have stuck it in my Moleskine.

A secondary character in A Series of Unfortunate Events, which I read as a kid, kept what he called a “commonplace notebook” in which he recorded everything. That’s a good description for my Moleskine. People have tried to refer to it as a journal before, but that’s not what it is and I never call anything but “my Moleskine” or sometimes “my Moleskine notebook.” I used to pronounce it the proper way, with four syllables, but that confused people even more, so now I just say “mole skin” as in, “Hagrid wore a great moleskin overcoat.”

Since having the baby, one of the biggest changes in my life has been not writing or drawing in my Moleskine as much as I used to. This is especially tragic because I record stories from my days in my Moleskine, so that means all the sweet moments with the baby aren’t being recorded the way I would like.

4 thoughts on “Moleskine

  1. This is lovely, Adria! I really love seeing how you use your Moleskine.

    I share all of your struggles with pronunciation, confusion and application but completely lack your artistic abilities.

    You’ve inspired me to restart my connection with the physically written word, though. Good for you – this comforting habit will be with you through all the ups and downs.

    And as a writer, blogger, parent and neighbor: I feel like we must make a point to get together over a cuppa one of these days!

    1. Thanks Beth! I’m getting back to it myself after four months of light usage. All the beautiful bullet journals I see on IG inspire me, even though I can’t be that organized or have such nice script handwriting.
      You’re right, it truly is a comforting habit. That’s why I like to write my prayers down, and why I write my anxieties when I feel overwhelmed. When they’re committed to the page (and to God) they’re no longer plaguing my thoughts! It’s also a comfort to read back on them and realize the things that worried me weren’t so bad, after all, just as it is comforting to be reminded of the good memories I record. I’d love to get together with our books sometime!

  2. Hey! The 3rd from the end page with comment about the WOKV self-centered radio announcer–I remember him! Everything WAS about him! The news would be like “A blind bank robber swallowed a pink snake today in South Slasson, Germany,” and that dude would then say how he’d been THERE at some restaurant, or hotel, or convention, or had biked through there, or had a girlfriend there, etc., every freaking story no matter the story. It was always about him!!!! Couldn’t stand him!!!

    1. That’s a comment written by Delaney when we had Earth Science class together in college. I have some of the best notes and doodles from sitting next to her in class! I don’t remember the announcer so I’m glad she made the context clear in her comment, including “dad hates this guy” 😂 I do remember the day in class she wrote that, and the student to whom she referred. He was so smug as he identified the location based on a picture of its unique landform and then also insisted on proper pronunciation.

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