Tuesday Talk Back: You don’t like the notebook you started… Now what?

Notebooks

Question: What do you do with the journal or notebook that you started, but ended up not liking?

Before I started writing for Rhodia Drive, I used to do a lot of product reviews on my personal blog in search of the perfect pen, ink and journal. At that time, the perfect notebook for me was one that was first and foremost friendly to fountain pen inks. Other preferred features included being able to both open and lie flat, pages with rounded corners, and a rigid cover so that I could write with the book propped on my knee. I ended up testing many, many journals.

(Some people use the words journal and notebook interchangeably. I tend to use “journal” when describing a notebook whose pages are not removable.)

If I really didn’t like the book, I’d either give it away or recycle it. If I liked it, I’d obviously use it – but there were one or two that while I didn’t love them, I thought had a few redeeming qualities. These ended up hanging around on the shelf a lot longer than I’d intended.

Case in point – I just finished a book that I’d started in July of 2010. I didn’t love the book when I first bought it, mostly because it wasn’t fountain pen friendly and the pages had noticeable grain. Four years ago I decided to turn it into a mixed media art journal and had started drawing on the first few pages but once again, I quickly abandoned it.

I came upon the book once again this past April, when I decided that I either had to use it or get rid of it. Knowing that I’d created art in it, I didn’t really want to let it go and so I tried again. Five months later, it was filled with a combination of writing and sketches, all done in pencil and it felt good to have finally finished something that I’d started so long ago- even if it was just a simple journal.

So if I may ask, what do YOU do once you’ve started working in a journal or notebook, then decide you don’t like it?

(Once in a blue moon, if I’ve been in a journal for too long sometimes I get antsy and want to move on even if it is a journal that I do really like. In which case I’ll either finish the last pages with collage, sketches, poems, affirmations, intentions, prayers and/or overall positive words of encouragement.)

Fountain Pen Friends: Ever order ink samples?

Image courtesy of emraher on Instagram

Image courtesy of emraher on Instagram

One of the big draws to writing with a fountain pen is the ability to choose your ink. With literally hundreds of colors available from a wide variety of brands, chances are you will be able to find the exact shade of blue or violet that you’ve been searching for.

Aside from color, inks have additional properties that may be of interest to the user such as:

  • Viscosity. Some pens that have a tendency to write dry, might benefit from an ink that flows more freely and vise versa.
  • Saturation. Some inks contain much more pigment than others. This would likely be an aesthetic choice, as would be an ink’s ability to show shading.
  • Scent. Depending on the materials used to create the ink, some may emit a stronger scent than another. Some inks even add fragrance to their chemistry.
  • Waterproof. As fountain pen inks are water based and do not contain shellac, there are options for people wanting or needing their inks to be water-resistant on the page.

What is shading? Lapis on the Fountain Pen Network offers this explanation: “…shading is an easily observable increase in intensity and/or darkness in certain parts of the handwriting on paper. … The easiest place to see shading is basically on the downstrokes of your hand, where the nib usually gets more force down onto the paper. Then the line is usualy wider, slower and thus more ink gets posted onto the paper. Shading is best (not exclusively) done using a broad, especially flexy or, to a certain extent, springy nib.”

If you’d like to try some inks before you buy, check out the forums on the Fountain Pen Network to see who has what that they’d like to swap. Popular retailer that sell ink samples include Goulet Pens, Anderson Pens and isellpens.

Creative Prompt: Take a grounding walk in nature

Forest

What does it mean to be “grounded?”

The simplest way to describe it, is being fully present in your life as opposed to being distracted by past or future events. When we are “in our heads” and thinking about anything but the current moment, we lose the ability to operate from or with, our fullest mental capacities. You can think about this like the RAM on a computer. Whether it’s a computer or our brain, give it too many tasks to process at the same time and it will ultimately grow sluggish.

You don’t need to take a lengthy or expensive vacation to a remote island or mountain top to do this. One of the easiest ways to reconnect with your full creative self is just by taking a quiet walk in nature.

Try this: First find a quiet place to take a walk. If you have to get in the car or on a bus to get to such a place, do it – it will be worth it.

Next, turn off technology for at least an hour.

Then, start walking. Try to be fully aware of placing one foot in front of the other and not thinking about anything else. Breathe deeply. Notice the sights, sounds, and smells around you. If your to-do list pops into your head, gently place it to the back burner while you bring your awareness back to one foot in front of the other.

If you have the opportunity, try taking your shoes off and allowing your bare feet to touch the earth – if only for a moment.

Retailer Spotlight: Fountain Pen Hospital in New York City

Fountain Pen Hospital

Image by fountainpenhospital on Instagram

Look at all that Rhodia in the beautiful new showcases at the Fountain Pen Hospital, located at 10 Warren Street, New York, NY 10007. The Fountain Pen Hospital is a retailer of fine writing instruments, ink & stationery and has also been repairing pens since 1946- an era when the only types of pens being used were fountain pens!

Fountain Pen Hospital

Image by RW Sinclair on Flickr

FOUNTAIN PEN HOSPITAL was founded in 1946 by Phil Wiederlight and Al Wiederlight (the father and grandfather, respectively, of today’s proprietors – Terry and Steve Wiederlight). Terry and Steve have a combined 60 years experience in all phases of vintage and modern writing instruments. Joining them in January of 1997 as Director of Operations, was Ed Fingerman who brought an additional 20+ years experience in fine writing instruments to the firm. Ed is a former President of Pen Collectors of America, a regular contributor to The Pennant, and has contributed to Pen World and numerous vintage pen books. (from the Fountain Pen Hospital website. Be sure to check them out online as well as in person when visiting the city.) 

Rhodia Anniversary Video! Take a look into the Rhodia factory

manufacturing3_750

Rhodia is celebrating its 80th birthday! Take a look at the video below for a behind the scenes look at the Rhodia factory. See below the video for an English translation of the French.

Here is the newest Rhodia product, with its white color and metallic logo – offering a nod of recognition to the technology (cell phones) of today. For 80 years, the Rhodia brand has stood resilient- watching change after change in the way people communicate with one another, proving that nothing beats a great pad of paper. 

Geraldine Muller product manager: “The Rhodia pad is timeless. – which is the way Rhodia founders wanted it from the beginning.  The Rhodia logo and characteristics have remained the same. The only changes have been the introduction of the black cover in 2007 and now this year in white for its 80th birthday with a silver logo. It is a sort of wink to the digital with whom it gets along very well.”

40 people at the plant have produced 10 millions pads, and other than the color of the cover, the pads have not really changed since 1934 when two brothers from Lyon started with this simple orange pad with 80 sheets, and 80g paper, staple bound at top, To this day, it remains 100% made in France.

Patrick Sartre, plant manager: “We have both the people formed and ‘faithful’ to the company as well as the tools specialized for this product. With this winning combination there is no need to move away in order to stay abreast of the competition.”

Finally the 5000 tons of paper we use are guaranteed to protect the environment and the socio-conomic role of the forests.  Knowing that 11% of forests are harvested for paper, it is a very respectable accomplishment.

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About

Rhodia Drive is a blog about Rhodia notebooks and the people who use them. It’s a place where devotees of this “French orange notebook” contribute ideas, experiences and links on the latest tools, events and general notebook-related news.

Rhodia Drive attracts creative people passionate about their Rhodia. Designers and artists, writers and pen collectors, thinkers and free spirits—anyone who loves notebooks—come together on Rhodia Drive.