Sunday, January 17, 2016

Hobonichis -- Joy from Japan!

[Above, blue cover of a Hobonichi "Techo Cousin" daily planner from the Hobonichi website.].

I am so pleased to have been introduced to the Hobonichi notebooks! I call them notebooks, though they are really daily "planners," books with dates for scheduling one's work and activities in them.  They are made in Japan.

I'm loving the paper, a thin paper that allows for many pages in a small thickness of space.  It is called "Tomoe River" paper, and it is divine as a writing surface!  I especially love how "crinkly" it gets after one has written on it.  I love the physical feel of writing by hand, as opposed to on the computer, so the Hobonichi gives that pleasure.

As of today, I have 4 Hobonichis that I write in daily -- none of these as a "planner," though, for scheduling my activities!  Instead, as a writer, I have started a daily practice of writing different things in each one as a way to "jump-start" my writing for the day.

I have the larger size -- what is called an "A5," or the English "Techo Cousin."  I also have two "A6" or original Hobonichi size books, and then I have one the company calls its "Weeks," a smaller, trimmer size.

The notebook/planners lay wonderfully flat.  They are sewn-bound, which I also like.  They come with a rather basic, cardstock type of cover, so many fans purchase vinyl or leather covers to slip the books into and help them be a bit more supported and substantial.  Some customers also purchase a "cover-on-cover," which is a clear or decorated plastic cover that "protects" the vinyl covers (if one really thinks vinyl needs protecting!).

The vinyl covers from Hobonichi come in different colors and give you 2 pen loops (as shown above).  Inside of the covers are several pockets for other stationery supplies and two ribbon bookmarks.  One ribbon has a leatherette triangle on the bottom, the other a rectangle.   

Each morning so far this year, I have begun my writing practice in my Hobonichis by writing 4 different kinds of notes, one or two types for each book.  The spacing on each page allows you to be creative in that you have just that limited space to fill each day.  When you feel you don't have enough room, that is a clue that you have stumbled on a subject you may want to write more about -- and that can go in your regular writing journal (I have a new one of these as well, not a Hobonichi, that I'll write a blog post about at a later time).

If you have a hard time starting writing each day, a difficult time looking at a blank screen in front of you, or a blank page, then you might consider trying planner books as a way to freewrite and get started.  There is limited space; sometimes a column, e.g., or a box; the page is not completely blank -- there are dates, sometimes times, etc. already printed in it -- and if you enjoy the physical attributes of that planner -- the paper, decorations, etc. -- it just might help you jump start your writing for the day.

I started with purchasing the planners first -- purchasing them out of curiosity about the paper, etc. that was so highly reviewed by customers.  Then, I found uses for them for writing rather than planning.  This was a case of the notebook suggesting its own use to me rather than the other way around!  This inspires creativity in a way I had not encountered before, and so far, I like it!

Good luck with your writing and creative process!  If you find yourself writing or drawing in a Hobonichi rather than using it for "planning" (dreaded word, that -- ha!), know that you are not alone!

[My Hobonichis currently in use!  Photo by me.]

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Robert Frost: Reading & Interpreting the Works

A new, recast edition of my Frost book comes out this month.  I'm not crazy about the cover (I like more color), but it is part of a publisher's series with this design.

The book is suitable for students or others interested in an introductory bio/critical look at the American poet.

Priced for libraries, though, so check it out there, perhaps!