Purveyor of fine fantasy adventures

Blank page syndrome?

Roma russo leather journalI love notebooks. Proper hard-backed ones, Moleskines, gorgeous Italian suede covered journals, even supermarket cheapies as long as they’re pretty. Blank ones, ruled ones, refillable ones, it doesn’t matter.

People know this, and buy me things like that one up there as presents. They’re gorgeous to look at and lovely to handle, and I imagine myself under a cherry tree on a sunny summer’s day, writing in them (with a fountain pen, naturally – I have eight or nine to choose from, including a Parker 51 that’s older than me), and what I write will be beautiful. It can’t be otherwise: on those pages, anything but sheer poetry would be an offence against nature.

And then, after I’ve oohed and aahed over them, I put them back in their fabulous presentation boxes and put them carefully on the shelf in my office and never open them again, except once in a while to admire the printed endpapers or stroke the butter-soft leather.

Why? Because they are so beautiful I can’t bear to sully their pages with something so crude and permanent as ink. I just can’t.

InTempo Rubrica GraphiaMy husband’s bought me several Cartesios, two Rossis, and the most unspeakably gorgeous InTempo, shipped all the way from Florence (click on that picture on the left, I dare you. Go on, click on it – you will not leave the site without spending money). He’s also responsible for a large part of my fountain pen collection.

And when I try to explain to him how much I love the journals he’s bought me, and that’s why I can’t bring myself to write in them, he doesn’t understand, and looks vaguely hurt, and I want to cry.

“But you’re a writer. Writers need notebooks, don’t they?”

“Yes, but–”

“But what? They’re just paper; they’re meant to be written in!”

“I know, but I can’t!”

“You’re a freak, do you know that?”

And I nod miserably, and go back into my office, take out my fountain pen, and don’t write in them again.



  1. Marta

    Oh my God, I understand you sooooo well… I am not a writer myself but I love notebooks and also have lots of empty beautiful ones at home that I do not dare to feel in with ink 🙂 That’s funny.

  2. prue batten

    I’m so far behind with my reading of favoured blogs (blame it on writing, researching etc) but I have to say i agree wholeheartedly with you. I love journals… Moleskine, any Italian made journal, Japanese journals, artist-made journals. But whilst I keep some blank, some I write lines of favourite poetry in, or whole poems, or paras from favourite authors. Occasionally I write ‘the best day i have ever had’ in one particular journal. This way i feel the journals are fulfilling something of their intended purpose, but some, like the book artist’s journals, are too beautiful to write in.

© 2024 Elspeth Cooper

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑