This week I have been listening to the excellent book “The Soul of Money,” By Lynne Twist. A friend of mine recently circulated an article that appeared on business insider. where the author has yet to meet a “rich person”. Everyone he met, no matter how wealthy in appearance, always had a tale of frustration and woe. No one it seems, feels rich.
Mrs. Twists book goes right at that concept and it dove tails nicely with Daring Greatly. It turns out in a culture driven by a Scarcity Mentality, few Dare to live greatly because there is never “enough”. I love books that challenge the status quo and make us reconsider the unquestioned answer.
Peter Thiel of PayPal fame and author of Zero to One, is noted for asking, “What one truth do you believe that very few other people believe?” This book is one of those truth. I first learned about it from Verne Harnish but it keeps popping up over and over again.
It’s worth a read.
My Pen This Week
These week I was fond of my Delta Skeleton Stub. This pen is a piston filler with an impossibly smooth nib. It is bold and writes great with Iroshizuku Ku-jaku Ink. You want to be careful because it does lay down a LOT of ink, but that’s partly what makes it fun. They pen is hefty with a steel exoskeleton over the signature orange celluloid. I picked up in New York at the Fountain Pen Hospital and it has been one of my favorites ever since.
The piston filler has a novel ratchet mechanism which keeps you from over tightening the screw. All in all it is a great pen, but not a cheap one. It took me a long time to pony up for Delta and my only regret is that I did not do it sooner.
If you love fountain pens the way I do, then you love to use them. In todays electronic society normal opportunities to write are scarce to say the lease. Everything is a pin code, keyboard, or touch screen interaction away. Rarely does a chance to put pen to paper exist and often times those occur when someone hands you a cheap bic and a receipt to sign.
What makes a quality notebook for the fountain pen user?
But what makes a good journal? There are a few things (independent of price) that make for a good notebook. Mr. Rohn said he was fond of buying expensive journals because they reflected the value of the ideas he captured there. For me personally, once you buy a $100 pen, and fill it from a $25 bottle of ink, the cost of the notebook is not all that important. The writing experience is important.
So what makes a good journal?
Here are my criteria – aside from side, shape, and page behavior. What I mean by page behavior is how the pages behave when the notebook is open. Some notebooks are quite stiff and the pages like to stand up and get in your way when you are writing. That is realitively easy to figure out in a store whether or not a notebook will behave well. However, how will it hold the ink?
The pages hold fountain pen ink well, in my opinion are pages that do not bleed through and do not feather. What is bleed through and feather? Read on.
Bleed through is when ink on one side of the paper bleeds through the page and is visible on the other side, discoloring or detracting from the writing that appears there. This happens when the paper is too thin, or is fabricated in a such a way that the ink finds a path through the threads to the other side. Paper thickness is not always a good guarantee of non-bleeding paper.
Until recently my go to notebooks were the moleskin line of note books available virtually everywhere. In the last year however, they have noticeably degraded their paper quality. Here are two examples of moleskin notebooks bleeding through:
High quality notebook paper does not let the ink bleed through.
Had I written using a ball point pen, this problem would never occur. With a fountain pen however, this is a problem. High quality pens are often free flowing with ink.
The second problem that you can encounter with “cheap” (and sometimes not so cheap) notebooks is the notion of feathering. Depending upon the length of the fibre in the paper. Again, with thick gel, or ballpoint inks this is not a problem. With a more fluid ink like a fountain pen, this can be a big pain. Feathering occurs when the ink follows a thread in the paper and spreads out.
What makes a quality notebook for the fountain pen user? A notebook with short fibers. You want the ink to lay on the page in sharp crisp lines.
The letters of each word splay out with small strands making them look “fuzzy”.
You can see in the above photo, taken from an Italian made notebook what feathering looks like. Despite the leather cover, gilded page edges, and thick paper, this notebook suffered from “feathering” due to the long fiber length in the paper itself. I still enjoyed the notebook, but not as much as others where the lines remain crisp and solid.
So where can you find a quality notebook?
Unfortunately they change often. For a very long time, as I said moleskin was extremely reliable. However, recently it would appear that they have wondered away from the quality product they used to make and are delivering a lower quality product at a premium price.
Surprisingly, some of the better values can be found in the store brand notebooks, such as the Barnes and Noble journals and I have been very impressed with Rhodia brand notebooks:
Exaclair also makes outstanding notebooks.
And while it is quite expensive, the best notebook I have found in recent years is the Zequence 360 Notebook.
While this is quite expensive ($38), it is a fantastic notebook that has the unusual ability to wrap around itself. The flexible cover and lay flat pages make this probably the best notebook I have used for a long time. What’s more it comes a high page count so it will last for a long time.
One final bonus. If you are looking for a cheap, almost throw away notebook, something for say writing the draft of a story, you might consider the Staples brand composition notebooks. I have been stunned as the quality of the paper for such an inexpensive notebook. They are smooth, polished, don’t bleed through and they hold the ink well in crisp sharp lines. I highly recommend these for drafts, and well, if you don’t care much about the look then they also make a great journal.
I hope that helps you find a notebook you love, and perhaps one of my recommendations will benefit you.
If you’re going to have a nice pen, you probably want nice paper to write on.
I have a new job. Well, at least it feels like a new job. Now I did not start a new company, but in many ways it feels like I did. You see, I finally convinced someone to take over my day to day programming duties at GameTruck. I rarely talk about GameTruck in this blog. Heck, with no clear vision for what to do with this blog I sort of wrote about anything I wanted, or that interested me.
However, I am starting to learn that many people come to this website for one of two reasons, because of GameTruck – they want to know more about me and the company. Or they come here because of baseball. This year I volunteered to become the president of Tempe South Little League. Baseball holds a special place in my heart.