Of Mice and Men, Paper and Pen …

Mice and men are awfully cute, making me something of a marshmallow about them (even though they can be a bit of a pest at times) but when it comes to Paper and Pen, I’m ruthless.

Utterly ruthless.


I’m ruthlessly picky about them.

I have to be, considering I take them to bed with me. This is in case I get an amazing idea while hovering on the edge of sleep. And really, if a pen slides under the covers and pokes me awake, I will forgive it, if it’s my favorite pen.

(Not many men–save one–will receive such forgiveness under those circumstances. As for the man who does, I married him. I may be ruthlessly picky but I know a good catch when I see one!)

And much like an obsessive who spends a lot of time with her … well, obsessions … I am very discriminating in how a pen feels in my hand and how it moves across the paper and how the ink flows from the nib. When you spend as much time as I do writing and drawing, it is crucial to have a pen that can keep up.

Excruciatingly crucial.

Pilot brand’s G2 retractable gel pen is my go-to pen for everyday, rough-and-ready use. Not tactical pen use (for that, go here … ), but it’s the pen that lives in my cargo pockets. I just slap my leg and it’s there.

I posted my love (or lust, take your pick) for Pilot’s micro-tip pen, the High-Tec-C Maica, and while I can’t really bring myself to replace my G2s with it, as they are rather delicate, I do love it for practicing my calligraphy and Russian cursive. With so fine a tip, it is completely unforgiving of your mistakes: every waver and pause shows up in the line. Which makes it wonderfully suited for perfecting one’s penmanship, no matter what language it’s in.

But as with human beings, pens need a partner to get the most out of life. In this case, they need paper. Just as I have my favorite pens, I have my favorite papers and notebooks to go with them.

Here are my current two favorites. (And yes, they go to bed with me. Just because I turned off the lights does not mean I can turn my head off just as easily. It takes a while for those mental squirrels to shut the hell up … )

My first real grown-up affair started with this one: Moleskine Cahier Journal (I must thank my friend, B. N. Harrison, for introducing me to these. See her blog, here … )

I love that the pages are sewn in, not glued, and that the covers are craft paper brown or black. Not too fussy and just crying out to be decorated with washi tape or stickers or gel pens or paint markers or paints or … Well, suffice to say, they invite artistic alteration the way more durable covers tend to discourage.

Add the benefit of being flexible and form fitting in your messenger bag (for the large ones) or your back pocket (for the small ones), you’ve got no excuse not to have a notebook on you to jot down that important reminder from your kid’s teacher or to share a website with that enthusiast you chatted up while waiting in line for coffee.

I’ve used Cahier for years but, alas, they aren’t what you’d call inexpensive. As a result I have plenty of less expensive notebooks littering my bed, my house, and my person, because I’m not made of money and I can’t afford to replace my Cahiers at the rate I go through paper.

How much paper? Acres of it. Starting a blog hasn’t made a dent.


My conscience ocassionally nags me about it. Enough so that I decided that perhaps I should get something really nice for those really important notes and thoughts that I want to keep handy for later. If I had something nice and expenseive, yet non-intimidating and easy to use, my self-serving stationery supplies demon whispered, I would use less paper and save the environment from my vicious predation of trees.

Hmm … see how that goes?


And this is what I found for an excuse—I mean, answer:

The Midori Travelers Notebook, in Passport size. It’s small enough to fit in my cargo pocket and it’s customizable. I decided to splurge and get the kit, here.

Of course, I had to look over the accessories for it. And then I had to choose the color of the leather cover. In addition to the quality of the paper, that leather cover was an important selling point for me. If this is going to live in my cargo pocket, suffer getting thrown into my messenger bag or backpack as I’m rushing out the door, and get taken on trips to the wilderness like my neighborhood WalMart, it’s got to be durable enough to protect the contents and yet feel good in my hands and be pleasing to my eyes.

So, yeah.



And the start of my second love affair with stationery supplies.

I’ve only just received my Traveller’s kit in the mail. I’ll carry it with me and use it and break it in. When that’s done, I’ll come back and write up my review of it.

For now, I’m just enjoying having it.

Stay tuned.


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