I AM FILLED WITH GRIEF.
Well, perhaps that’s an overstatement.
I am experiencing a modicum of grief.
Hmm. Maybe that’s dancing around it. The words are a little cold.
I’m bummed because I killed another one.
Well, at least that reads like my words. Words that flowed from my own pen.
Are these words good?
Hard to know.
But let’s look at where we are and what has transpired to inspire this muddled meditation on a minimal manifestation.
You know what’s dead?
Another Moleskine notebook.
It was a gift from my long-suffering wife (she’s married to yours truly after all), along with the rather nice pen with which I’m scribbling these words into a newer, lesser notebook.
And lemme tell ya, this is not the same.
The paper is scratchy. The cover is flimsy. The density is unconvincing. The way it feels beneath the pen and even the sound it makes when you handle the pages....
One of these things is not like the other.
One of these things is not "luxury."
If you are unfamiliar with the Moleskine notebook, if you missed one of my long ago rants about the joy of longhand lex on pulp-derived paper product, well…
Let’s just say you’ve seen this notebook.
There’s always somebody somewhere, in a Starbucks or at the conference table, who possesses this marketing marvel.
And yes, the Moleskine is indeed a marketing marvel.
It’s an expensive notebook that is sold on the backs of the Lost Generation.
Some of the marketing hints that these are the same notebooks used in 1920s Paris cafés by struggling American writers with names like Fitzgerald and Hemingway as they scribbled notes for the nascent gems that would become their greatest works before finally dying of alcohol-induced arterial sclerosis or a self-induced gunshot.
(Romanticizing the Lost Generation is a dangerous thing. They led mythologized lives that never worked out well on the other side of the myth.)
In reality, the fabled Moleskine is a “luxury notebook” that has little to do with the Lost Generation. The company was founded in 1997 in Italy by Francesco Franceschi, and there’s been some consumer debate about “deception,” with this luxury Italian product being produced in China.
I have not substantiated the China part. Whatever.
Despite the lies, the words bad, and any other drivel that might ensue, the notebook is an honest product.
And I still lament the loss just a little when I come to the end of a Moleskine.
At the end of this last one, I was writing on behalf of a client. She’s a nice woman in New Hampshire, a doctor of audiology much beloved by her patients and staff.
The last lines on the last page of the notebook are:
The art of listening.
The way you hear it.
I didn’t even write those things. Honey did. I transcribed as she spoke them. (I do think “the art of listening” has a certain genius to it. It probably won’t make it into the marketing, but it deserves to be somewhere.)
But that’s it. The end of the notebook.
This morning, in the grayish dark of the pre-dawn Mountain West, I sat down to write about words.
And I realized I feel bad because I can’t do so on that foolscap friend that kept me going lo these many months.
A tiny grief, perhaps, as I scribble away in this new, lesser livre, bad metaphors and lousy alliterations and all.
I miss my old notebook.
But I love that my wife gave it to me.
And more important, I love my wife and she still puts up with me, so there’s that and everything is relative.
Words good. Notebook dead. Life endures.
Win a notebook!
Yes, you can have your very own copy of a brand new, not-a-Moleskine notebook. Just reply to this email and answer the question: Were these words good, bad, or middling, and why?
Just one sentence. The respondent with the best answer wins a brand spanking new notebook for the pleasure of writing like the Lost Generation in Paris cafés minus the Moleskine, the café and the challenges of Paris.
The best runners up will be published in a forthcoming Words Good, so be creative and pull no punches! Make me laugh! (Better yet, make Honey laugh.)
Enter before midnight on Friday, October 1, 2021.
Your Lean, Mean Creative Director in Park City
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Blaine Parker is prone to ranting about any and all things related to brand. In many ways, he is a professional curmudgeon. While there is no known vaccine for this, the condition is also not contagious. Unless you choose it to be so.