The Suspense of “Moleskine Mondays”

Present word count of WIP:  59,112

Whether you’re writing suspense, romance, fantasy, or science fiction, or simply in need of a handy sketchbook, nothing beats a Moleskine notebook for jotting down ideas and sketching on the go.

Where did these notebooks originate? According to Wikipedia, these kinds of notebooks were standard in 19th and 20th century Europe and used by such writers and artists as Oscar Wilde, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and Henri Matisse.

Today’s Moleskine notebook is designed to look like those used by the English novelist and travel writer, Bruce Chatwin. In fact, he gave the books their nickname in The Songlines. His original supplier, a stationery store owner in Paris, told him in 1986 that the last notebook manufacturer, a small family-owned establishment in Tours, France, had gone out of business. He said, “Le vrai Moleskine n’est plus” (“The real Moleskine is no more”). He quickly bought up the remaining stock.

So if they died out, how is it that we have them today? Apparently, the Italians came to the rescue in 1997 (long after I left Milan). Two years later, they started distributing beyond Italy in Europe and the U.S., eventually expanding into Asia.

Anyway, they eventually got bought out, appropriately enough, by a French investment fund, though the items continue to be designed in Italy. Today, Moleskine products range from notebooks to bags, computer cases, reading glasses, pens and pencils, booklights, and reading stands. They are available in more than 53 countries and usually found in bookshops.

So what do I mean by “Moleskine Mondays?”

Every Monday, I’m going to try and blog about things having to do with the business of writing. I chose “MOLESKINE” as an acronym to summarize those things:

1. Media – things like…

  • moleskin notebooks, PCs, iMacs, iPads, Typewriters, Netbooks, Laptops, pens, etc.

2. Organization – things like..

  • office layouts, outlining methods, filing methods, planners, etc.

3. Libraries – I love personal libraries, so this will include..

  • cool ideas for personal home libraries (with pictures) and how best to organize them.

4. E-readers – you guessed it…

  • reviews (pros and cons) about each kind of e-reader as well as news of developments in the digital age.

5. Software – this means…

  • reviews (pros and cons) about the different software writing programs available on the market and their prices.

6. Knowledge – this will cover…

  • the best resources for research information and/or training for writers, whether it’s a website, a book, or a writing conference.

7. IPad Apps – naturally, these posts…

  • will review the different apps a writer might find useful and why or why not they work.

8. Networking – I’ll discuss…

  • the various social networking possibilities online, as well as how best to build relationships with agents, publishers, bookstores, book clubs, online reviewers, schools, and libraries (I’ll be wanting a lot of input here since so many of you know so much more than I do).

9. Events – you know, ideas for all those writer events like…

  • book signings, book club appearances, book launches, school appearances, conference presentations, etc.

How cool is it that my favorite number happens to be 9 and there are exactly 9 letters in MOLESKINE? Believe me, I’m going to welcome a ton of input and shared experience each Monday. Though I’ll try to post in order by letter, you won’t know the exact topic until you read it. That’s where the suspense comes in. I’ve just covered Media with this post about Moleskine notebooks, so next Monday it will be something about Organization.

What do you think about “Moleskine Mondays?” Did I leave anything out about the business of writing and, if so, can it still fit somewhere in my acronym?

Originally posted 2012-06-25 16:40:44.

“Moleskine Mondays” – “E” is for E-reading

Present word count of WIP:  56,585 (Yes, I’ve cut and revised some)

I love my Kindle. I love my iPhone and iPad with iBooks and the Kindle app (as well as a few other e-reading apps like Stanza, DB Bookshelf, etc.) I have a brand new Nook all set to give away as the grand prize at my book launch next month (date still to be announced). So I’m definitely a fan of e-reading.

I’ve gained a lot ever since I began accruing digital books:

1) I’ve gained a LOT of books because it’s so easy and quick, not to mention cheaper.

2) I’ve gained space because I’ve been able to downsize my physical library (though I still feel a bit sad when I see the new roominess on the shelves downstairs…more about that in another post).

3) I do a lot more reading because I take my iPhone or Kindle everywhere and if I find myself waiting in line or something, I can pull out my book.

But what have I lost in the process of switching to e-reading?

Two things:

1) The physical delights of turning pages, smelling the paper, and the grounded feeling of knowing exactly how far into the book I am and how far I have yet to read. (I have been reminded of those delights lately since I’m having to borrow many books from the library to get through my “Thriller Thursdays” list.)

2) Privacy.

My whole family has access to my Kindle library since each of them has a different kind of device (though Allison can’t access hers for the next year and a half), but it’s not them I’m worried about.

It’s the e-readers themselves.

As pointed out in this article by Richard Lea in The Guardian, published July 5th, they’re spying on us. Really.

I don’t know about you, but somehow I’d prefer to be the only one doing the “reading.”

What do you think about your e-reader device gathering intel on your interests as you read? Are you going to think twice the next time you’re tempted to highlight a passage? Or is this one more freedom you’re willing to let slip through your fingers in exchange for market convenience?

Perhaps I should divert from NPR’s “Thriller” list this next week and, instead of reading James Patterson’s Kiss the Girls, pull a book from their Science Fiction/Fantasy list…

Say, George Orwell’s 1984. From the library, of course.

Originally posted 2012-07-16 14:12:40.