“You must know that if there are ruts,
you must jump your wheels out of them,
and if there is no language in which to reach
your audience, you must invent one.”
~ Austin Marsden Farrer, from Called to be Saints.
Pencil journals are for my flow of ideas, and the more pocketable, the better. The smallest Moleskine notebooks are very useful for this. I've been using their Boston themed journals, adding my own mementos to make these like scrapbooks.
My daily journals must be free of lines- completely blank. My mother taught me how to write before I learned in school; no guidelines or grids, thank you very much! My taste for fountain pens is thanks to my father. There are many good pens out there- such as Waterman, Dupont, Diplomat, and Cross, but for me there's nothing quite as smooth and solid as a Caran d'Ache.
Many good inks, too- such as Pelikan, Mont Blanc, Monteverde, Diamine, and- yes- Caran d'Ache.
Ballpoints are great for writing aboard jostling buses and trains, when I have to lean more into the notebooks. Waterman and Diplomat make nice ballpoints, but for many years Ballograf has been tops for me. The designer of these invented the push-button pen, and he also designed the pens used by astronauts in space. They are made in Sweden, and I bought the set in this photo in Norway. I use the .5 mechanical pencil for marginal notes.
As surely as I am my father's son, I love a good, dependable portable typewriter that can be taken anywhere. Nothing fits the bill quite like an Olympia. Durable and precise. I made the typecast pages above on a cursive-writing Olympia SM9. I do a lot of my writing on disc-bind paper, which snaps into Levenger binders. I've found this to be a great way to journal, and these items are easy to travel with. In the photo below, which I took in the Boston Public Library courtyard, you can see one of the Levenger binders decorated with a pencil motif!
A bit of the creative process: Here is the outline I wrote- at the Weston Priory- en route to the essay, "before us." The finished essay followed this sequence. The important thing was to write this down while I had the concept in mind.
The poem, "so they say" was sketched out in my graphite journal. I made many changes, based on how it sounded when I'd read it aloud. These pencil notebooks are ideal for designing my essays and collecting additional thoughts.