I had meant to go for all these walks and park afternoons with the baby this past summer, lounging on a blanket with a bubble tea and a book and a sleeping baby (ha ha but for real) but the summer flew by and was filled with I don’t even know what. Pens and paper. Hosing off kids. Laundry. Here we are at the tail end of the fall—although it is stretching on for longer than I could’ve hoped for—and I’m milking it for all I can, even if I need the excuse of picking up a package from FedEx to get me out the door.


It’s been one of the most beautiful falls I can remember. Do I say that every year? I can’t remember. Maybe it’s because we’re emerging from this years-long pandemic. Are we emerging? I don’t know. Mask on, mask off, says Pat Morita.


These days I have been on the go a bit more than usual, the world emerging from covid or not. With the start of the school year, it’s been the renewal of in-person music lessons and activities and school drop off and pick up and trying to make the most of patio coffee dates before the weather turns and snows us in. My TN and Kaweco Liliput have been my companions, keeping me company and a warm secret in my bag as I speed walk to make pick up time.


My Traveler’s Notebook is the Hotel edition, one of the special editions released earlier this year. Sometimes people ask me for advice on which one to pick and I have no advice because at the end of the day it matters but it also doesn’t: the right one is the one that you use.


It took a while for me to finally break into it, but once I’d gotten over that mental hump of using something new and pristine with the possibility of scuffs and scratches, I have been loving it. A renewed love for the whole TN system and size and the feel of the leather and the way it weighs in your hand when it’s filled up. I have been (very much) letting go of the notion of having a notebook for this and a notebook for that, or maybe the notion of having to have a purpose for each notebook. For me, sometimes it can be a bit of a brain freeze or seizing up when I’m worried about whether or not I should be using a notebook for this or that. I certainly don’t want it to get out of hand (ho ho) but I’m just writing my thoughts in this notebook and letting that be all it’s for.


The pen has occasionally changed, but it’s mostly been my Copper Liliput, a pen that’s only looked better and better with age. In my journaling club, it turns out there is a surprising number of Liliput users. I had always thought of Liliput writers as a very niche group in an already niche fountain pen market, and yet it turns out we are sprouting everywhere.




In any case, I am going for walks with my Traveler’s Notebook and my Liliput (and also the baby) and sometimes I pick up a coffee and sometimes we admire the leaves and sometimes we dodge dodgy people and sometimes we find friendly felines and on we go. The baby is a pretty good stroller napper these days, with the motion and the ambient noise, even with the occasional siren.


There is nothing more peaceful than finding a few minutes in an otherwise hectic and chaotic day. It’s the season of life, wiser and older and more experience people tell me, when your kids are young. Things are gearing up at the store, as we stress out about the upcoming holiday season and wonder if we’re going to make it through another one. We made it out of the pandemic, and we breathe a sigh of relief at that, but the cost of making it through is being called in during these after-years.


And yet, these are my golden days, bright and filled, the shop busy (I hope), the blog post queue an endless scroll of half-baked ideas, the laundry in piles on the floor. And so the few minutes I have in the middle of the day, the city bustling around me, scribbling a little nonsense into my notebook, are glorious.


This feline does not look very friendly however they really were incredibly affectionate and purring. In fact I think the somewhat standoffish look was because I took a step away from the petting to get a photo.

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November 10, 2022 — Liz Chan


Donald Holman

Donald Holman said:

Such a warm and evokative piece. Thank you for sharing.

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