Prentiss Riddle: Time

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Notebooks as tools for mental gridlock

How to Make a Complete Map of Every Thought You Think is an e-book on using your Moleskine to freeze your brain in its tracks.

If you do the things described in this book, you will be IMMOBILIZED for the duration of your commitment. The immobilization will come on gradually, but steadily. In the end, you will be incapable of going somewhere without your cache of notes, and will always want a pen and paper w/ you. ... You will NEVER BE WITHOUT RECORD, and you will ALWAYS RECORD. ...
For all of this immobility, this freezing, for all of these negative effects, why on Earth would anyone want to do this?
Because of the INCREDIBLE CLARITY that comes with it. It may feel like, doing this, that for the first time in your life, you REALLY have a CLEAR IDEA of what kinds of thoughts are going through your head. You'll really understand your ideas. And you'll also see connections that you were never consciously aware of before. You'll see a structure and a pattern in your life. You're goals and psychology will become clearer to you. You'll be clearer too about what you do NOT understand.

(Did you catch the subtle reference to known unknowns and unknown unknowns?)

It goes on like this for 131 pages. I can't figure out whether this is strictly a tinfoil helmet or the guy is onto an interesting cognitive science experiment. Or a cheap alternative to analysis or acid. Or at least a nonfiction version of NaNoWriMo.

In other notebook-obsessive news, there is now a group blog for Moleskine users: Moleskinerie.

time 2004.02.01 link


Funny... I have been really into Moleskine notebooks... and now very happy that there are cheap knockoffs -
The idea of clearly understanding my own brain's geography - how alluring! Dilute dilute ok! Use for baby bath shower clean kitchen brain, ok! All-One!

badgerbag [lizzard cxe bookmaniac punkto net] • 2004.02.04
Cheap Moleskine knockoffs? Where? I'm all ears -- I like the notebooks but don't need to pay a 100% markup for the endorsement of Proust and Chatwin...

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2004.02.04
"Betterline",, but I can't find the notebooks there. They are just like moleskines, but with colored edges to the pages and without the handy pocket. It is possible to construct one's own cardboard pocket... these notebooks are $4.50 each so Chatwin and Proust fell by the wayside. They're still the right size, same binding maybe slightly less soft-feeling, and the elastic strap is on there.

badgerbag [lizzard cxe bookmaniac punkto net] • 2004.02.04
I just caught the "dilute dilute ok baby bath kitchen brain" reference. Very apt!

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2004.02.04
Hi Prentiss
I saw your comment on Chandra's site and went to look at your site - great and interesting things. As for your surname, I can only describe it as singular...

Anyway, I had been involved in a discussion here yesterday about notebooks v. electronic user interfaces (the thread is 'Why Cory wins')

I have just put a link to your site on mine. Take a look if you get a moment


andrew riddles [ariddles cxe hotmail punkto com] • 2004.02.09
The gods are angry about my post above. For the first time in a year and a half of carrying Moleskines, I've lost my latest notebook. Help!

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2004.02.09
I use my Moleskine to do most of the things I used to do with the $600 PDA that I accidentally dropped in the toilet, namely: write down contact information and directions, and the occasional brain fart. The handy elastic band allows me to stick business cards and scraps of newspaper in it, too. Let's see your PocketPC do that!

Colin [iggy cxe hairyeyeball punkto net] • 2004.02.19
I agree about the ergonomic superiority of a paper notebook. But having just misplaced a Moleskine, I'm painfully aware that (replacement cost aside) the data recoverability of a PDA is a feature not to be dismissed.

(You did religiously sync your PocketPC to your desktop before baptizing it, didn't you?)

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2004.02.19
a new site for artists, writers and anyone with imagination has just begun. Has moleskine notebooks and wIll have more items to help with moments of creative oblivion. Come visit. Help evolve this site.

susan • 2004.05.22
You can find the color edge journal you are refering to under journal in the betteroffice web site

julie [reinhart] • 2005.05.03
About the so-called Moleskine knockoffs with colour edges (3rd post from top), these notebooks are available in Hong Kong for many, many (30+) years.

Moleskine knocked off Summit and Challenge (John Dickinson) notebooks, which in turn were knockoffs of the ubiquitous Chinese-made "student record books" since at least 100 years ago.

The red-and-black notebooks (also made in China and on sale everywhere where Chinese live) has spawned the British imitation called the "Black 'n Red Notebooks". The red-and-black colours were traditional Chinese bookkeeping office colours; in Europe, the house colours were burgundy. There are no genuine red-black books, as that which are made in China are all genuine. Here's a view:

I grant you that Moleskine, Silvine, Challenge, Summit, etc. all do a creditable marketing job, especially Moleskine as they hold out first original rights over their products - when everyone east of the Suez knew Modo e Modo are johnny-come-latelys.

If you should like the "colour-edge" notebooks, you should contact me for the manufacturer.

I know what I speak: I am in this printing and publishing business.

Robert [bellaireco cxe yahoo punkto com] • 2006.01.11
Robert, very interesting!

Gentle readers, I wonder whether anyone has a line on Chinese brands of high-quality notebooks sold outside China? I've never seen any in the US, but then Chinese stores in Texas tend to be fairly basic and concentrate on groceries. In Houston there are a couple of Chinese bookstores which I should check out next time I'm there.

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2006.01.11
More time >