The Myth of the Moleskin
The moment I swept my little black book out of my coat pocket, ready to inscribe the sacred pin number necessary to register for classes, my classmate glanced an admiring gaze. "Oh, you have a Moleskine! Me, too!” Instantly I felt part of a writer’s inner ring. Later, I went off exploring the Eugene Lang campus and could not help noticing the prevailing presence of the legendary notebook. The Moleskine: A must? An invasion? A plague? A cliché?
The Moleskine makes me think of Harry Potter’s self-writing book in *The Chamber of Secrets*. It begs the question: If you have a Moleskine, will you produce great writing? After all, this is part of the marketing scheme: Purchase the legendary notebook of Hemingway, Picasso, and Bruce Chatwin. The assumption is that the mere possession of such a mythical fetish object will inevitably lead to perfect sentences, brilliant metaphors, riveting plots twist, and compelling characters. No need for inspiration, perspiration, or special ink—this will be the book that writes itself!
The notebook’s retro look transports us back into the 1930s, when writers with round metal spectacles scribbled in Paris cafés. The Moleskine: a time machine! Well, its black cover is like a spread of caviar and its golden pages sparkle with promise like Champagne. Its price ($15, while a 5-Star notebook costs $2) makes me wonder, what is hidden under the cover?
Oh, dear reader, I must confess that I come to grand disappointment when all I discover under my Moleskine’s cover is a treasure of to-do and shopping lists and um … a convenient little pocket with all my receipts and my own thoughts on why I should not be using the notebook I am using. Like veganism, Amy Winehouse, the BlackBerry, or gourmet sea salt, the Moleskine is an example of what Roland Barthes would call a 21st century myth. Fellow Moleskine owners/artists/writers/consumers, I ask: Why do we embrace the Moleskine cliché if Beck has instructed us, “My whole generation’s mission is to kill the cliché”?