In an effort to keep myself from wasting the day totally my mind occupied while awaiting election results, I'm doing a little browse around the web at gorgeous travel journals.
There's Detour, an international traveling art exhibition of beautiful journals, now in Berlin. There are the journals of Kolby Kirk, Flickr set here. It's inspiring fun to browse through En Route Journals , and 1001 Journals,I dare you not to forward the link to Erik Gauger's compelling notebooks.
Since we're talking about an old medium here, from my own shelves, may I also recommend a book called Drawing from Life: The Journal as Art? Other great resources (books, workshops and inspiration) here.
For my part, I keep a small soft-sided Moleskine notebook with me at all times. I started using the Moleskine in April, prior to that, I'd been using my BlackBerry for notes. This was about efficiency, safety, and practicality: I'm a fast thumb-typer, and I had the notes in electronic format and backed up on my computer, and I'm texting to my husband and to my friends when I'm traveling almost constantly anyway.
Then I had a little disaster. On March 13th, 2008, I was in Mumbai, dining at a lovely restaurant called Soam. I was sampling various drinks -Jaljeera; which is cumin water, nimbu pani (lemon water) Masala chaas (spiced buttermilk) Thandai (spiced buffalo milk) and a variety of Indian street food including Pani Puri –puffed fried bread that you stick your thumb through and pour a watery sauce over. The waiter stumbled a little when approaching our table, jostled the tray, and accidentally spilled liquid all over me –and into the trackball and keyboard of my BlackBerry.
The phone was –and I'm fairly sure this is the technical term — fucked.
I switched to a notebook for the rest of the trip. And I noticed something –my notes, when I took them by hand, were more reflective and more lyrical.
Something about taking out a notebook and pen, and taking a moment to think, created a different (and for my writing, a more useful) type of a note than what I was taking on the BlackBerry.
I've also started to use the notebook as a scrapbook. I paste in business cards, ticket stubs, photos, printed on regular old copy paper. This is fun, but it's also a useful pre-writing practice, since it encourages me to flip through my notebooks more than I was doing before when it was just black and white text marching down a page.
I know my pages aren't anything approaching the true works of art I've seen in my browsing (that's a page from my journal pictured) but it's prettier than a PDA! Even when it gets doused with water, as the page I'm showing you here was.
What is it with me and water disasters on the road, anyway? Just in case, I've now switched to waterproof pen.