Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Some more Compact thoughts: Journals

I read an interesting message on the Yahoo Compact message board yesterday. The question was posed whether school supplies were the sort of thing people could buy new as an exception, and I replied that I was trying to figure out what to do about this matter myself, as I've started journaling regularly again, and I'm going to be running out of pages in my current journal way before the end of the year. I might have an extra in the drawer, but I can't recall, and if I am on my last journal, then what?

I'm pretty picky about my journals. Since the early 90s it's been the 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" 5-subject spiral-bound college-ruled notebook from CVS, and no other will do. One of the Compact-ers replied that he had loads of old school notebooks he'd only partially filled and would be happy to clean out of them what he wanted to keep and send them on to someone in need of notebooks. I think he meant the teacher, not me, which is fine, but it got me thinking. I thought, well, that's really thoughtful and nice of him. And, I thought, it makes me incredibly sad.

Writing in someone else's half-used, who-knows-what-sized, been-heaven-knows-where notebook for my journal? Good gravy. It's just too depressing to even consider. I want to live more responsibly, do my part to put the brakes on consumption in our country, but getting all the thoughts out of my head every morning is part of what makes it possible, and I don't know if I can really think into just any old notebook. I'm pretty attached to the size and shape and heft of the ones I use. We're talking over a decade of one kind of journal, a huge box of them up in the attic, all the same size and shape. I did use up all my school notebooks when I first finished college so as not to let them go to waste, but I don't know if I can compromise on this front. I might need to sneak them in under the banner of art supplies, but really, who's sneaking? This agreement is between me and me. Well, me and The Professor. I'll have to talk to him about what he thinks.

One sad thing is that CVS stopped making them with plain paper covers a while ago and the last few have had a plastic cover, which for my purposes is completely unnecessary. These babies aren't getting lots of wear as they rarely leave the house. Perhaps it's time to find a new journal supplier at least. My dream: recycled paper and then all the other things listed above, with the 5-subject separators optional.

The Professor will be posting some more Compact thoughts later today, I hope.


  1. there's some good stuff in "the compact" but imho it's both way too vague and way too extreme all at once. anything that makes buying a notebook a moral dilemma is way too much work for me!!!! :) i'll just do my normal routine of not buying much stuff, period.

  2. I do think a journal you want to write in is important. I'm so impressed by your doing the Compact -- while I'm getting much better at buying secondhand or reusing, I couldn't commit to buying nothing new. Keep us posted.


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