On Keeping Field Notes

Unless a gentleperson works as either something not unlike an ornithologist or as a reporter for, say, Field & Stream, the phrase “field notes” references quick note-taking when away from tablet/computer/home. Thus, when on public transportation, taking a trip to the local supermarche’, or, especially, travelling, the use of a good field notebook is often required.

The brainstorm, the random thought, the tableau that insists on being sketched, the overheard story, the book idea that strikes like lightning–all of these find a cozy home in the field notebook. This writer recommends finding a notebook that fits your coat or shirt pocket and making it part of your daily carry.

Your humble narrator uses the Elan brand of 5.5″x3.5″ graphed field book (see photo above).  The company produces dotted-paged and lined books, also. These fine folks from Moultonborough, New Hampshire, produce a book that fits into his travel wallet easily (about the size of a passport, actually), and they sell through exclusive purveyors nationwide and on the site of Master Bezos. For under a sawbuck in the coin of the realm, an ink slinger can get five such notebooks for use in the field.

Graph paper works best for this writer. It allows for the shakiest of hand, i.e. self, to draw straight lines if one is making a sketch or attempting to plan a route. The graph paper boxes also keep writing from the vagaries of size that can often occur when jotting hasty notes, thus insuring ease of reading later in the study or office, hours after the moment has passed, and this writer no longer has to become a character from a spy film and think, “In what code was this written?” In short, the graph paper makes this writer’s notes neater.

The set of five notebooks shown here comes in khaki (2), black, orange, and yellow. Two staples make the binding; this writer prefers staples in a field notebook since those pages may need to be removed. Stapling makes this easier. In addition, the paper in these notebooks hold the ink from the Preppy Platinum pen with the medium nib.

Carry on.




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