Hunting around for not-so-blank journals made me realize that notebooks are changing, too. For years writers as well as school kids have depended on the ruled white pages of composition books and spiral-bound notebooks to contain their scribbles; I've used hundreds, possibly thousands of them myself. Finding new and creative versions of these old standbys delighted me, mainly because I didn't expect to see notebooks change -- but they have, and in wonderfully imaginative ways:
This composition-size spiral-bound notebook has an antique look to it, but the real surprise is between the covers:
Instead of the usual white ruled pages, this notebook has pages printed with four different colors and artistic designs. What it doesn't have is a single line, so you have plenty of room to write, sketch, mount photos or images and otherwise fill the pages however you like. From Papaya Art; I got mine for $10.76 at my local art store.
You don't have to shop at an art store to find interesting notebooks; I found these two at Target for under $10.00:
The inside pages of the notebook with the flower cover have light gray dots instead of the usual lines (handy for anyone who wants to work out maps or other types of drawings on a gridded surface) while the Poetry/Art/History composition book offers a more elegant spin on ruled pages:
One trick I'm learning is to look for unusual notebooks in places other than the office supply shops and aisles. I found this notebook with colored, printed and plain white pages at an art supply store; it's sold as an art journal kit but would work great as a notebook. While gathering school supplies for my kid, I noticed Crayola had put out various sizes of what looked to be a pretty standard spiral-bound notebook. Which it is, until you write on a page with the pen provided by Crayola, and bring out the psychedelic colors embedded in every inch of the paper.
If you don't find the notebooks you want to use, you can begin making your own. Collect interesting papers until you have a nice stack, punch holes in them and place them in folder with grommets or a slim binder, and you've got your own notebook. If you'd like to spiral bind them, you can have that done at most printing service outlets; Office Depot also has a number of spiral binding machines you can purchase and use at home to put together your own notebooks; I even found a video over on YouTube that demonstrates how one of the them works.
Tomorrow I'll wrap up my quest with one final look at some of the other not-so-blank books I've found and the giveaway I promised, so stop in if you get a chance. (Those of you who are addicted to notebooks might also like to visit Nifty's Notebook Stories blog to see what other writers all over ther planet are using.)