I am a stationery junkie. Last time I had a rare night all to myself, I went to Office Depot to look at stuff and stayed so late that the poor salespeople had to follow me around the store and ask me politely to leave so that they could go home.
Last night I attended the final course of my graduate program. Today I bought notebooks, pencils and pens to celebrate. Whenever the going got difficult, the thought of my fingers around the cool smooth surface of a world class pencil kept me going.
Here is the list of my all-time favorite writer’s tools. I do much of my creative planning in longhand. These analog objects make me so happy that the very thought of them were a bright light at the end of many late nights of work.
Writer Renee Thompson turned me onto these, the Cadillac of pencils. We’re talking smooth body, elegant flow, and (get this) a square ferule. I hear that John Steinbeck used this brand of pencil when he wrote his novels. Palominos are made in a special factory in Stockton, probably by sleek and magical elves. It is the silver fox of pencils. Worth every penny.
Since the tragic day that Schaeffer stopped making refillable fountain pens, I have been reduced to disposables. For you lefties, the ink of a Varsity flows nearly as quickly as your brain, and dries before your hand can pass over the writing and smear it. These pens are so beautiful to use that it makes me sad when I get to the end of the ink. It feels like a shame to throw them out. We’ve been through so much together.
Okay, these pens were made by the gods of stationery heaven in order to reward hardworking writers of good virtue. They have to be. The brown and blue especially are rich and smart with the black ink-infused colors making your writing festive and serious at the same time. A pure writing delight.
Nothing takes ink like a recycled paper. These notebooks are cheap, generous with the lines per page, and their covers are hardy. I used them to do the plot work and character backgrounds of THE ARROW urban fantasy trilogy. You know I like you when I give you a Greenroom notebook for a random present for no reason.
You can call Moleskine overpriced if you want to. You could also eat dry toast with no butter and always say no to birthday cake. But why would you? Moleskine paper is thick but not too thick, rich but plain. Few notebooks have such a generous and perfectly-spaced lineage per page. Besides that, your Moleskine doesn’t care if you curse in your journal at the end of a hard day. It has a pocket for your ticket. Whatever ticket. Moleskine is just happy to hold it for you. That’s the kind of notebook Moleskine is.
This final entry in the list of my favorite writer’s tools of all time is the Sasquatch Unicorn of stationery, too wonderful to be believed. I have only found them in one place, the Hornet Bookstore at Sacramento State University. If you make a pilgrimage there to find one, please do not startle it. Approach it with some chill, like you don’t realize it is the most amazing thing you have ever seen. The paper is thick, copious, cheap, and totally unruled. This is a notebook living totally outside of all rules devised by nature or humanity in any space or time, and it wants your ideas. All of your ideas.
What are YOUR favorite pens, pencils, notebooks and papers? Please share in the comments. I must know.
Check out THE ARROW, an urban fantasy trilogy written with Palominos and Uniballs on a Greenroom Recycled.