March 6th, 2009

In which our hero searches for the perfect journal

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to my diary:

It's sixty volumes and spans nearly twenty years.

Many people think of me as "a photographer", though I think of myself as an artist who sometimes uses photography, but primarily, I consider myself a writer -- I may be a writer on hiatus from time to time, but I live in words.

My diary started it some time in 1990 and have kept it religiously since then, jotting down stories, poems, daily occurrences, travel experiences, saving receipts, playbills, and all the things that will make life easier for the grad students doing dissertations about me 100 years in the future.

For the first five or six years I used marble notebooks, easily available everywhere and rigidly uniform. I felt that everything needed to be The Same, an obvious continuation of what came before. But after I graduated from college I stopped carrying a Book Bag and the marble notebooks were -- well, I still carried one everywhere, but I yearned for something a bit smaller, so I dabbled in other sizes and found, "hey, this isn't so bad" -- I bought new journals, at times expensive ones, thinking that each experience could be better remembered through it's own, individual, notebook. I tried Moleskins of various sizes, and people gave me journals for birthdays and the like. I used them all:

My mother, who works largely with blind children once forwarded me an email from one of her students (actually, I think they composed it together) where he asked "boys don't keep diaries, do they?" I was pleased to tell him that they did. Anyone should keep a diary who has a life that's important, and everybody's life is important. I told him about Hemingway.

But I digress. I'd been using these for years and then ... then I found the perfect journal:

I either got it at Barns and Noble or Urban outfitters. I can't remember. It took 5x7 journal refills, fit in my pocket, looked nice, felt nice. I used it for five or six years and then last summer I left it on the Peter Pan bus on the way back from a Who Killed Amanda Palmer shoot in boston. I was crushed. But I'd just started the insert, so really, the only thing that was lost were my notes on who actually killed Amanda. I went to B&N, and Urban, neither of them had a replacement. They had ones that were similar , but not one that was as nice.

So then began my quest for a replacement. I've looked at everything. I've continued to use the 5x7 refills, but without the journal around them ... they're uninspiring.

I like this one, because it's faux leather and I don't particularly like the idea of carrying around something dead when I can carry around something that celebrates the ingenuity of (hu)man, but it's uninspiring ultimately.

This one, by artist Kelly Levely is just plain freaking beautiful (and if you have google alerts set up Kelly, hello! you're a wonderful artist) but it doesn't open flat and it doesn't take standard refills. The price is right, but I think the refill situation puts it out of the running.

This one is the right size but it's not terribly inspiring. Might as well go with the faux really.

This one from Orvis is just plain beautiful as well but it's a hundred and thirty two dollars (which I'm not necessarily adverse to for The Right Journal, but again, it takes non standard refills.

Which brings me to my questions.

a) Have you seen the perfect journal?

b) What is YOUR current journal? What do you write in?

c) What is your IDEAL journal? What doesn't exist, what would you buy if it did?

and maybe most importantly

d) Is there anyone out there, cause I know y'all are very talented, who can MAKE me the perfect journal?
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