I am becoming a paper and pen geek. There, I said it. And having said it, the road to recovery begins…. OK, maybe not. The issue here is that I like fountain pens, and becoming a fountain pen geek can easily lead to becoming a paper geek. Or a paper and notebook geek. Writing with a fountain pen is somehow fulfilling to me. It requires a tiny bit more effort, but that somehow makes me think harder about what I intend to write, which then leads to being careful about how I write it. And if I am going to put that much thought and effort into my writing then I expect it to look good on paper, which leads to a need for better paper.
I feel the need… the need for… a Rhodia Webnotebook! I made it over to Van Ness Pen Shop yesterday to pick up some ink, and while there I spied a Rhodia black and orange display in the front corner of the shop. They had a good selection of flip pads, wire-bound notebooks, and hard bound notebooks. Since I’m already a Moleskine owner, the Web Notebook looked familiar, so I picked one up. They come in two colors: black, or orange, so I looked at both and chose the brighter version. It has the elastic strap just like the Moleskine, a ribbon bookmark, and the creamiest, most-perfect paper I have ever written on! The paper is a nice off-white, lined with grey lines, and the cover feels sort of leather-like with a smaller pebbled feel. It also has a pocket inside the back cover (very Moleskine, again!), and comes in a smaller A5 and a larger A6 size, too. It also comes with either a dot grid, or blank pages.
The real joy of a Rhodia webbie, though, is in the writing. The paper is an absolute joy to write on. The paper finish is wonderful (at least for a paper geek!), and ink lays down nicely, with a smooth, even feel, and dries quickly. This is some of the most fountain pen friendly paper you can find. Even with the cheapest of fountain pens with the roughest of nibs, a smoothness is achieved that is just hard to believe. I started writing with a new pen, a Rotring Esprit Telescoping fountain pen (yup, I’m a geek!) that is compact with just enough heft. The ink lays down well with almost zero spidering. Being a guitar player, I’m thinking to myself “It feels like buttah!” (yeah, all my best guitars feel like butter). So I switched over to the cheap Yafa fountain pen with the nondescript steel medium-sized nib, and Wow! I then switched over to a nicer Waterman Phileas with a fine tip…Wow!
One or two complaints (because nothing in life is truly perfect): it’s a book. With blank paper in it. What do you do with the paper after you write on it? No way am I going to tear a page out of this book; that would look awful. Next issue: when you are writing in it, you are writing in a book… and it tries to close on you. The paper is awesome, and even though the book looks very nice it’s a bit of a pain to write in a book. The fix? Buy just the paper, which is possible. The paper is called Clairefontaine, which is available in several different sizes and formats: pads or loose. I’m planning to order some soon; I’ll try to post some info when I try it out.
Here’s a pic of the Webbie and the Rotring. It’s sort of like porn for paper and pen geeks!