I carry my Moleskine Pocket Sketchbook with me every day, and by the time I am done filling the notebook and move on to the next, I have usually stuffed it full with clippings, curled pages, photos and other detritus of life. The binding is swollen from all that extra bulk, and the book is usually starting to come loose at the binding. I needed a way to keep my notebooks in better shape for the 6 to 8 months that they travel with me, as I fill them up. I have tried various covers and ways to protect the binding and the book itself, but so far nothing has been a perfect fix for my problem.
I have experimented with making my own covers, but this new cover from Gfeller is the best solution that I have found. I will tell you up front that they are not cheap. I debated buying mine for several years because of the price, but I finally decided to spend the $75 and buy one, and I am very happy with the slip cover. I admit, I was somewhat surprised at how thick my Moleskine became when I put the case on, it adds a certain bulk that wasn’t apparent from the photos that I looked at online before buying. The English kip leather that they use for these cases is very durable and though each layer is very thin, by the time you add up the outer casing, and the inner lining, that adds 4 layers of leather to the thickness of the notebook when closed. My Moleskines are usually quite stuffed already, and so they can get very chunky.
The construction of the cover is very detailed, I searched in vain to find where the stitching begins or ends, there are no sharp edges or rough places, it has been carefully made, and very well designed. The inner flaps extend beyond the outer edges so that there is no bump to write over, and the slot cut into the leather so that the elastic strap can still be functional is perfect.
The leather was very pale and almost cream colored when I first received it, but over the past few weeks I have noticed it turning steadily darker to a middle caramel color right now, and according to Gfeller, it will continue to darken with more exposure to UV light, which certainly won’t be a problem in Florida! I also expect the soft leather to conform to the edges of the Moleskine, and take on a distinct character.
I like objects that wear well, and take on a unique patina with use, much like how a good pair of leather boots become comfortable and well worn with use, I expect to have this cover for many many years. Who knows what adventures it will be a companion on? A Moleskine wrapped in leather like this seems like just the thing that Indiana Jones would carry with him on his journeys. Its rugged and functional -which are the attributes that I respect most in the things that I enjoy owning. EJH
The Kaweco Brass Sport Pen, is the first of the sport line of pens that Kaweco makes, that I have been interested in. As a rule I don’t consider plastic or resin a durable enough material for a pen that I would keep bouncing around in my pocket for years and years. Brass on the other hand is a nearly perfect material, it is durable, and takes a patina over time. It is dense and heavy which helps with a pen this small. It is nearly perfect for what I wanted, which was a pen that I could put in my pocket every day and not have to think about. When I need a pen, it will be ready for me.
I have carried a wide variety of pens over the years, but the one area where they all seem to fall short is durability. They are either made of flimsy materials, or they are long and prone to get bent or otherwise messed up due to rough treatment. I am very happy with this pen, it seems to meet all of my requirements well.
I have had this pen for about a month now, and have used it several times a day, it has never failed to start up and though I will often pause with the pen uncapped for several minutes at a stretch, it has yet to dry up on me while I was pondering. I chose the EF nib with some hesitation as I have read that some of the finer Kaweco nibs have misaligned tines, but I have examined this one very closely and it is cut very straight and clean. I am not convinced that it is a true EF, I would consider it more of an F, but I am not worried about it, I am happy with the line weight.
I also bought the small bronze clip that is supposed to clip on the body of the pen, but it doesn’t seem to want to stay; it slides off very easily, so I just leave it at home. The only thing that I see as a potential issue is that this pen has a plastic insert inside the cap, this seems to be meant to quiet the sound of the threads as you screw it on, but I worry that over time those plastic threads may be pulled out by the brass ones on the body of the pen, only time will tell…
Our modern western culture has lost its connection to the past, the rapid development of technology, and the global conflict during the world wars has drawn a bright line between 'before' and 'now'. Since time immemorial, individuals and cultures felt a direct connection -or a line of succession, to history and historical personalities.
The extremely rapid acceleration of knowledge during the 100 years between 1880 and 1980 caused this break. Humanity went from the infancy of technology, that was Steam and the Telegraph, to an insanity that was global computer communication, Television, Space Travel, and Nuclear War. Punctuating that century like great drum beats were the intensely destructive World Wars, which ripped apart the societies of Europe and shook the foundations of western culture to its core. While Europe was reeling from those double shocks, a country that was barely into its adolescence was pushing forward with youthful strength and vigor.
Our culture changed while no one was looking, events were too large to be understood at the time, and even now: some 30 years from the close of that century the dust is still settling, and it isn't yet apparent just how much has really changed. Like a rubber-band that has been stretched too fast and too far, western culture has broken and the link between the ancient world and current has irrevocably snapped.
We lose more than we realize by divorcing our current ideals and motives from the words of the past. Instead of maintaining the anchor to those writers of wisdom that stretch back into dim mists of time, we choose to throw off that link as if it were a chain to useless ideas. Far from useless those ideas and ideals have been a stabilizing connection to a store of built-up concepts and philosophy that shaped the world, built up brick by brick by mortals into a foundation of wisdom and reserve.
Before the century of destruction and change, it was not uncommon for any reasonably educated person to have read Marcus Aurelius, Cicero, Solomon, Plato, Socrates and have an understanding that history was a continuum. That civilization was a line that stretched back into time, and that they were still walking on that same road of thought as had their philosophical ancestors stretching back to the beginnings of what would eventually become western culture.
This isn't unique to western culture, other societies and cultures get their identities from their own founders and traditions, these links have also suffered from the rapid advances and the pressure to be more 'American' or just modern 'Consumer'. I think of a song called 'Amerika' by the German band Rammstein. It depicts people from all over the world and from every culture eating pizza from a delivery box and watching the moon landings on a TV, all while wearing american t-shirts and sneakers. Are we destined to all become mindless consumers and destroyers?
We have lost our connection to a common past and have jumped the divide and abandoned historical ideas as dusty, old, and not relevant to the modern world, while we are driven to distraction by small screens and short text messages. We have forgotten who we are, and why we are here.
It's time to realize that we are just little pups who have run away from mother into the wild woods and are unprepared and so very young.
Minerva or Athena (Depictions of Wisdom) were said to have a small pet Owl, also symbolizing wisdom. Owls can see in the night, they have large unblinking eyes and seem to stare into your soul. They are also quiet and grave looking, which makes them a perfect symbol for wisdom. I propose that we desire to be small owls, not yet ready to fly from the nest, but eager to be wise. Wisdom is its own reward, and can be equally bestowed on kings and servants alike. Be an owl and not a serpent, for both are intelligent, but the owl is wise, yet the serpent is cunning. The aged owl devours the cunning snake.
"The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk." -Hegel
Life is always full of things to do, places to go, and people to avoid. I never seem to have a moment to stop and to think, to pause and to reflect on the passage of time. I am constantly finding myself transported forward in time, as the days and weeks slip from my fingers while I am not looking. Someone wise once said: “Life is yours to waste”.
How much more time will go by before I next realize how much I have missed? When my life is over, and my breath is nearly gone; will I then understand the whole story? Will I look back upon my past -my life that I chose to live one small insignificant decision at a time, and understand that I did something meaningful? Did I raise good kids who became wise adults? Help my fellow man? Live my life well? Did I have a goal and a purpose? As the small grains of sand that are moments slip through my fingers; I wonder if they will add up to anything of value, or merely fall onto the dust pile of the ages?
A year ago, I lost my brother in a car crash, he was younger than I, and I have had the thought many times since: as my memories of him fade, and time crawls by that life and memory and time are temporary; that the powerful play goes on, and that I may contribute a verse.
Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
Answer. That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
― Walt Whitman – Leaves Of Grass
I know that no matter what happens, I too will one day die as well…
I don’t fear death, I am indifferent to life and death, I was not consulted at the beginning of life, and I won’t be at the end, so I don’t feel particularly attached to either state, but I do not want to live so that I have regrets when it comes time to die. In all estimations of average lifespan, I have about half of my life left, so I wish to life like Marcus Aurelius.
“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.”
― Marcus Aurelius