Songs That Take You Places #3.
It’s a breezy, melancholic evening and I’m floating above Mumbai.
It’s a breezy, melancholic evening and I’m floating above Mumbai.
The first Field Notes I used was the Coastal Edition. It was on that same day that I tried the Signature Edition, too. So that should tell you something about my experience with Field Notes. I have been following the brand for a while, but I do not intend to collect all (or even some) of their limited edition notebooks.
So my thoughts on this notebook are in the context of pocket notebooks in general rather than another Field Notes edition. Unlike the Coastal and Expedition editions (which I bought for the beautiful cover and the unique paper, respectively), this notebook was purchased for its functionality. And unlike the other two editions, this is a part of their regular line-up.
You see, I have this habit of carrying a notebook with me. All the time. Everywhere. My daily notebook is an A5 Nanami Seven Seas Writer. It is a fantastic notebook but it won’t fit in my jeans’ pocket (at least not in the pockets of the jeans I have). I carry the Writer in a Lihit Lab case. I carry the case in a backpack. Hence, I always go out with a backpack. Yes.
Why don’t I carry a smaller notebook in my pocket? A6?
It’s.. too restrictive. Don’t let this mislead you into thinking that it restricts my exceptional artistic endeavours. I just find it uncomfortable to write in such a small format. I guess my ‘fairly large hands‘ make it harder.
An A6 notebook is OK for quick notes and small lists but sometimes you just feel like writing something or doing something not-so-exceptionally artistic. It gets annoying.
Enter Field Notes Signature. This is based on the Dime Novel which was extremely popular among the Field Nuts, so, Field Notes decided to make it a part of their regular series.
This notebook fits my pocket but awkwardly peeks out sometimes. I can live with that.
You get to pick between lined or blank pages, and while I usually go for lined pages, I decided it’s time to get used to blank pages – more artistic freedom. But I also feel that somehow this format/size works better with blank pages. I cannot explain it. So far I haven’t cursed at the.. blankness of the page, so I guess it’s going fine.
The Signature Edition uses heavier paper (Strathmore Premium Wove, 70#T), which means you can now use more than just ballpoints and pencils – even fountain pens!
Heavier pages and a durable cover means you won’t really need a cover for this notebook and that makes things even more comfortable. Field Notes in general is known to make good quality products and this is no exception. This 72 page notebook should easily survive the depths of your pockets at least for a few weeks. Except when you wash your trousers with the notebook in the pockets. The Expedition Edition could survive that. Yay?
This notebook will be seeing a good amount of use and I’m glad that it isn’t a special/limited edition so I don’t have to hoard every single notebook ever made (and that’s left).
That’s some weight off my shoulders (ha!), thanks to Field Notes.
Congratulations. You’re at the top of Mt. Everest and luckily it’s a clear day. Slow down, look around.
Some people are exceptionally good at being inconspicuous. They know how to go about their day without drawing attention to themselves. They wake up, down their morning coffee, shower, and head to their workplace – all at the designated times. At the workplace, they quietly, and efficiently, go about the job. When they run into troubles, they don’t scream, be flustered, or throw a fit. They quietly go about finding a solution and then they move on along. And when you meet them at the end of the day, you see them smile a small smile – but perhaps not talk much, if at all – and you wouldn’t know anything else about how their day had been. A big salary hike at work? A small smile, and a tiny word of greeting. A tiresome day of drudgery? A small smile, and a tiny word of greeting. Each of their days is pretty much identical to the rest. Except their weekends, which have their own pattern.
Before I come across as trying to call their life boring, let me clarify, I am not. If you think about it, their lives aren’t boring – just uneventful. There’s a deep sense of comfort there. The opposite kind of person – the one-who-throws-a-fit-if-he-has—a-rough-day-at-work kind of person – too can draw a sense of comfort from our uneventful guy. Assume for a moment, you’re the latter kind of person. Every situation is an extreme one for you, and a bad day at work is nearly the end of the world. That familiar small smile at the end of such a day is no longer just that, it’s a warm blanket of reassurance that all’s well, and that tomorrow would be another day. Of course, when you’ve had an amazing day and you’re feeling on top of the world, you’ll certainly overlook that small smile, though it would be there for you.
If the person with the uneventful life had been an ink instead, he would’ve been Waterman Serenity Blue. We could call it ‘writing fluid’ but that would be a tad too grandiose for this one, so we’ll call it an ink.
Change isn’t frequent for this ink. A few years ago, it had a huge change that ended up being more sobering – it had its name changed from Florida Blue to Serenity Blue. Yes, from the sunny, sizzling, fun Florida, to the warm, unruffled, tranquil Serenity. The character of the ink itself remains exactly the same as before. The externalities of the name, or the packaging, do not touch the soul of the inconspicuous person, or of this ink. They still smile that same small smile.
Fountain pens are moody, temperamental instruments. In that sense, they’re a bit like humans – they get along better with some inks than others, they prefer certain weather conditions more than others, they outright refuse to work at times, they demand a level of hygiene…the list is long. I hate to say this, but there are some people about who you wonder if they’ve any friends at all. They probably do, perhaps very few, but they have friends. Similarly, there are fountain pens that work alright only when teamed with a particular ink, and pretty much refuse to work well with any other.
The inconspicuous people, however, are very easy to get along with. Since they manage to mould themselves to the other person, they get along alright with all sorts of people and manage to make things work, though no sparks fly. Similarly, certain inks cooperate with even the most difficult pen. Yes, that’s Waterman Serenity Blue. The pen that behaved temperamentally – skipping strokes, refusing to flow at times – with most fancy inks? Pair it up with Waterman Serenity Blue. There won’t be anything that’ll make you shriek with delight, but you’ll smile a small smile at how the pen does what it was supposed to do – lay down a line of ink without much fuss.
Serenity Blue plays absolutely nice with every pen. After all, it has a pedigree to live up to. Its lineage can be traced back right to the inception of its ilk. Pair it up with instruments of its time, and you’ve a happy pairing. Pair it up with a newfangled brand of fountain pen with a never-seen-before edgy style, and you still have a happy pairing.
There’s a heartening sense of ease when you decide to put one of your pens in the care of Waterman Serenity Blue. The pen in question could be a precious one from a big-brand house, or it could be one that’s older than your grandfather, or perhaps one in an exotic material, perhaps it just is something that’s rather pesky to clean? All of them would be wonderfully served by Waterman Serenity Blue. Even if your instrument is a humble faithful – your Pen Friday, if you will – that doesn’t fall into any of the above categories, you’ll still do good to give it some Serenity.
You know, all of us have these fancy restaurants as our favourites, these exotic dishes that we love to claim as the ones we love – but every now and then, you crave to just sit back in those decade old pyjamas and shirt, and just devour some simple food cooked right at home. Comfort food, they call it. Similarly, pens have comfort inks too. Sure Serenity Blue isn’t the only comfort ink that there is, but it sure is one of the comfiest.
Now, I’m not claiming that Waterman Serenity Blue is the best ink that’s out there – it’s blue, but not the bluest (that perhaps goes to the baddest of the bad boys of the ink world), it flows well but it isn’t the wettest ink that there is. I could go on.
Every now and then, amid the various online and offline congregations of fountain pen enthusiasts, a question about the best ink for a hypothetical scenario where you could own only one ink for the rest of your life, pops up. My answer to that, unhesitatingly, is Waterman Serenity Blue. If there was a time when I had to remain faithfully wedded to only one ink, and if I had to use that for all sorts of correspondence – business, personal, romantic, grocery lists, whatever – this one would fit the bill the best for me. I wouldn’t worry about it being inappropriate in any of the situations. Of course, one may argue that the soft royal blue colour wouldn’t adequately convey the passion in a romance, but then there are other ways, not involving writing, to make up for that deficiency.
A common response to my choice of ‘only ink’ that I hear is – ‘But what about water resistance?’ Waterman Serenity Blue is extremely susceptible to water. For most parts that’s a good thing. Life has its own ways of throwing down little accidents at you, and if you were brave enough to carry Mr. Bad Boy of blue inks in your pocket and he decides to add some colour to them, you may well let him live on the said pockets for as long as the pants survive. Serenity Blue, on the other hand, plays nice. A little nudge with water, and it knows that it isn’t wanted there.
What about when it rains over your notes? Quite possible. Honestly, I’d happily let a few of my words wash away while I’m busy enjoying the raindrops. Also, has anyone ever wondered why I chose to home in on an arid city?
This takes me to a sunny day in Morocco, walking around the busy market with a backpack.