Stationery In Real Life: Making Do



Pittsburgh from the overlook

I attend a work-related conference every year, so to make things easy (well…easier) I have a packing list at the ready in Evernote. No need to rewrite the thing from scratch every year. I just make a few edits, print it out, then pack and check off each item as it goes into my suitcase. The week before the conference was a doozy, with very little breathing room. Every day I had “Pack for conference” on my to-do list but didn’t find time to get to it until zero hour. Packing under pressure is not my favorite thing.

Despite the list, mistakes were made.

I discovered the first mistake minutes after arriving. As I unpacked, I rummaged through my suitcase desperately searching for the third pair of shorts I was sure I’d packed. Despite the fact that “Shorts” was dutifully checked off on my packing list, I quickly realized that somehow I’d left that third pair at home. (Note to my future self: Do not check off an item until ALL of said item are actually IN THE SUITCASE.) Oh, well…I’ll make do, I told myself. No other choice, really. (It was a HOT week so shorts were not the best thing to forget. But whatever.)

That same evening, as I walked around downtown Pittsburgh, enjoying the energy of the city, time with a friend, and the prospect of a week away from my normal routine and responsibilities, my brain happily relaxed. For a moment. Then it remembered the notebook I wanted to bring for all of my conference-related note-taking. The perfect notebook. The one that is neither too thick nor too thin. The one that handles fountain pen ink like a dream. I used a Nock Co. A 5 DotDash notebook at last year’s conference and it quickly became my go-to conference notebook. One problem, that notebook was home in a desk drawer, and that desk was 396 miles from Pittsburgh.


The Desk Which Was Not In Pittsburgh


The Notebook Which Was Not In Pittsburgh

I confessed all of this to my friend (who is well aware of my deeply rooted stationery quirks) then ducked into a nearby CVS to find something suitable for note taking, but their notebook offerings were picked over and just plain sad. With an obscene number of notebooks on hand at home, I couldn’t bring myself to buy a drugstore brand wide-ruled spiral notebook.

I had plenty of paper with me—a Tomoe River pad for letter writing, my Hobonichi, a Seven Seas Nanami Paper journal for my morning pages, a couple of in-progress Field Notes for work and personal to-do lists, a Levenger Circa notebook holding all of my master lists and a few blank pages—but none of that made sense for use during the conference. (“Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.”)

Then it hit me, I’d tossed a couple of Log+Jotter pocket notebooks into my writing kit, for no real reason—just a last minute whim. They might work!!


Suddenly the pit of forgotten stationery that had lodged in my stomach eased and I knew everything would be okay. I could make do.

As it turned out, everything worked out perfectly. I had a great week, and almost filled a 40-page Log+Jotter notebook with notes from a week’s worth of meetings and conference sessions. I had a whole pocket notebook to spare!


A happy ending. I love those.


One thought on “Stationery In Real Life: Making Do

  1. Pingback: Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – September 8, 2019 | Fountain Pen Quest

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