One of the requirements of the writing course I am doing is to keep a journal. I started with an ordinary Moleskine notebook but this soon proved inadequate for my particular purposes. I needed something much bigger because I wanted space to stick pictures and news paper cuttings, as well as write my own literary thoughts. I looked in all the shops but nothing grabbed me. You know how it is when you have a vague notion of the kind of thing you want, you begin all hopeful that it is out there to be got for a few quid, then slowly come to realise that no one with power over the means of production thinks quite like you do? I tried everywhere I could think, then some places I wouldn't have thought of, before giving up all hope and going back to the Moleskine. After all, I told myself, this was the pad of choice for Hemingway and Chatwin so I must be being an awfully fussy cow. But it didn't do and I actually struggled to write anything of any use, it just didn't feel right. I begun to be irritated with the very notion of keeping a journal and rather disgruntled at being made to do so. Then one day I was having one of those 'big cleans.' The kind of clean that involves moving all the furniture around and takes at least a day.
And I found this under the couch.
It was covered in dust, I don't have those kinds of cleans very often, and looked like the kind of thing that Harry Potter would find the answer to a magical conundrum in. I was puzzled for a moment and wondered about fairies and the like until remembering that I had bought it for my husband well over a year before. He had expressed an interest in keeping a diary and I had stumbled upon it in a stationery shop in Edinburgh's elegant George Street and thought it just the thing to inspire him further. I put this inscription in it for him and presented it to him one day.
But fortunately for me my marvellously poignant and generous words hadn't been enough to inspire him to mark the pages, so now I asked him if I could use it. Very generously he said of course I could, and it has done me well for nearly a year. But now it is almost full up.
So needing a new one I asked him if he would go back to that shop (he has an office in Edinburgh) and get me another. But they don't sell them anymore and the hunt began again. And, unsurprisingly, we could find nothing like it anywhere.
This morning, in a panic because I have only two blank pages left, and a pile of news paper cuttings, not to mention a guddle of thoughts a buzz in my mind, I checked the internet. I tend to internet shop only as a last resort for such things because I enjoy the mooching, touching and discovering that goes with shop shopping. I tried eBay, Amazon, and all the stationery shops I could think of, but nothing. Then I thought to merely type 'leather bound journal' into google and pah-dah, I found a site called papernation and they had the exact same one. It should arrive mid-week. Thank goodness! I won't have to bottle up my thoughts for too long, and you know what that's like.