The mind is like a parachute. If it doesn't open, you're meat.

moleskin vs. blog

05 Jun 2005

The web has a lot going for it as a pubication/communication medium, but to jot down thoughts like most bloggers do I much prefer the more traditional moleskin diary. Call me old-fashioned , or a hopeless romantic, but it doesn't change the fact that I don't have to be shackled to the laptop or desperately look for a plug to recharge the PDA batteries every once in a while. A lot of things speak for the moleskin:

  • I's tougher than any laptop or PDA. It's cover may bleach in the sun, but there's no plastic that can melt and no screen that can be scratched. You can also see what you write even if the sun is scorching your brain directly overhead.
  • It's in a universally accepted format (this is an arguable point, as you would need to know at least three languages to understand what's in mine, but then again the same goes for this site).
  • You can always use it to keep score when you play Mexican.
  • You can fill it with clippings, dry flowers between it's pages and make silly paper animals from the same pages to impress small children.
  • It's completely biodegradable (although at least one tree and a cow died for it to be made, so I won't go for the enviromentally friendly argument)
  • You see the evolution in your thoughts (if not in your writing). All those crossed phrases, the arrows that rearrange the order of the words, thrice corrected spelling errors, agitated handwriting, all are indicative of mental and emotional state, something that cannot be transfered to a text file.
  • It is there when you need it. Somehow, the moleskin does not obey Murphy's laws. The PDA will run out of batteries just when you [think you] hit the writer's sweetspot, linux will crash when you're saving (windows is the default implementation of Murphy's Laws - you expect it to crash so you don't use it).
  • Writing is so much better than typing. This is a personal criterion, but what the hell, it's my site. I do miss writing. It seems we rarely write these days.

There is a comparable list of advantages in using the web or it's technologies. I spent a season using a wiki as my notebook, but the above mentioned points made me switch back (that and a gift of a brand new, leather-clad moleskin - thanks love).

Let me make it clear: I think that the main difference between my little black moleskin and a blog is the difference between privacy and the desire for publicity. Desire for the illusion that millions of people will read what you write.

For me it's actually awe at the possibility that millions of people will read what you write mixed with fear that nobody will like it (to oversimplify using two-bit psychology-speak). Which leads to self-censorship and editing.

The actual number of people who read your writings is closer to the number of people you share your thoughts with anyway: your friends plus or minus three.

Well, personally I don't have any desire for anyone to read what's in my moleskin. Not unless I choose it myself or I'm not longer living. And I guess the desire to escape even self-imposed censorship is what draws me to the moleskin.

So, this site is the distilled, pruned, categorized and sanitized version of a little black notebook. Laugh all you like, the truth is worse.

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