At last!

How strange - in a nice way - it is to be here.

When I started being active on the Internet in 1994, and joined various fountain pen groups, I was amazed at the networking power. I would explain to people who had no idea what the Internet was exactly (this was almost 15 years ago..... ouch) that it was doing fascinating things for fountain pen lovers: all of a sudden, people with a fountain pen or two, sometimes found in their granddad's drawer, would go online, find other people with fountain pens, ask technical questions, and get 'the bug'. All of a sudden, a couple of guys started manufacturing ink sacs again (those latex bladders had disappeared from production many years ago), Sheaffer brought a few colors of ink into production after discontinuing them in the 80s, and new ink brands appeared, not to speak of the gazillions of pen stores that opened online. The "community" that had been confined to a few in-real-life pen shows now exploded and became available to all and sundry over the Internet. Having written exclusively with fountain pens since high school myself, I thoroughly enjoyed those forums. But what I really was interested in was inks and notebooks. Those didn't have their own forums... yet.

I have had less time to spend online over the past few years, and little I had was spent on reading professional stuff and a bit on other interests (cycling). But as I started trying to organize my dissertation project better (I am doing a PhD in sociology of education), I stumbled upon the Levenger "free shipping on Circa products" and as I researched my purchased I ended up here. (I also found a few other cool sites which you all know, like Notebookism.) I could hardly believe that I had found so many similar souls at once!!! Where had you all been hiding? How long have you been here without me knowing!!!

When I was a little kid and went to the mall with my mom, she just dropped me at the stationery and office supplies store. No need for day care for me. She would usually give me $3 to spend, and I would spend an anxious hour weighting the various notebook options. Which would be the best investment for my money? Clairefontaine was out of the question at the time. When my mom came back after a while, I would have to make a decision, and usually got one those cute Pigma stapled notebooks, which had pretty good paper. I filled them with quotes I took here and there and instructions to DIY various things. Eventually, I acquired a Stypen fountain pen, black plastic with flowers and a pink clip I think. To this date, it has been one of the sweetest writers I've had, I am very disappointed to have lost the pen (I think the clip was broken). My love of cheapies and steel nibs bloomed during my teenage and continues today, fed by multiple Pelikan Future pens (and a few M400 and Esterbrooks, I admit). I am more concerned with function than form, and my esthetics are actually pragmatics. Whenever I travel to France, I spend hours and hours in stationery stores, looking for the perfect notebook to write on. It's pretty much always the same thing, but I never get bored. I am originally from Montreal but now live in Vancouver, BC, and I'm a little disappointed with the "paper scene" here. There are a few fancy notebooks around, but it doesn't seem like people use them to write. Cheap but functional fountain pens are nearly impossible to find.

The Circa/Rolla system has changed my outlook on the notetaking life. I no longer crave other notebooks. I am quickly enlarging my Circa/Rolla gear inventory, and plan to integrate nearly everything (except perhaps my personal journal... but only because I feel locked in my previous arrangement...) in to the System. Is this Notebook Nirvana?

Good meeting you all, I'll be lurking in a corner, but remain ready to pounce. :D

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I really enjoyed your post. It sounds like you know a lot about notebooks and fountain pens. I too love all things stationery, but I do feel as though I have found MY system with the Circa. I hope so as I've made a pretty hearty investment.

Tell me how you use your Circa? Do you use the Levenger paper? What size do you use? Also, could you share your favorite links on notebooks and fountain pens? I'm pretty new to this site too, and it is already becoming a bit of an obsession, (but a happy one).

I'm now thinking of investing in a fountain pen, but I'm not sure where to start. I don't have much to spend (since Circa :)) but I am saving up.


Regarding the Circa system,

Regarding the Circa system, so far I have a leather foldover that I use with various calendars in the front, then projects and next actions lists, then a section for my doctoral dissertation reference material (which is where I include various notes, including on the literature), a section for fieldwork-relevant material (I do ethnographic research) and then the last section is my research diary. I found the 3/4 rings too small for my needs so I'm waiting for new, bigger rings (from both Levenger and a Rolla-source). Some pages are temporarily archived in a manila folder but will go into archive notebook(s) when the new rings come. I plan on making my own covers for those with various postcards and other materials. I also have a desk punch (and a travel punch is on the way).

I also bought the starter kits in the three sizes (not a bad deal at $26). In the compact-size notebook I note books and articles to look up, so I can take just that to the library. The letter-size contains full field notes. The junior-size one is currently used for a big event I'm planning and after that event I'll find a different purpose for it I'm sure. :)

I have bought some Levenger paper, which I use mostly for my journal, and print calendars etc. on 20lb A4 paper cut in two (for the junior size). I wish I could find 24lb A4 but it's rare around here. I do have 24lb letter paper for the fieldnotes though. I also punch 3X5 cards and insert them here and there. I'm a happy camper over all. :)

I'm sorry I don't have many links to share anymore, since I've been away from "the scene" for a while!!

Regarding the fountain pens, I'd strongly recommend getting an inexpensive but good quality fountain pen first. You won't be disappointed. I have enjoyed every single Pelikan pen I have owned, but the cheaper ones have a special place in my heart. I find the Future and Pelikano to be really the best beginner pens out there. I bought mine in Europe and sometimes in Canada, but you can find them for about $20 at SwisherPens. I have no connection with the shop, except having been an occasional, happy client.