• A Fleeting Ripple

some thoughts on paper: maruman mnemosyne notebook

The shade has finally reached the front porch, saving it from the rays of the blistering sun. In the meantime, the sun had started flooding the back porch, where the shade has sheltered you away during the hottest hours. Now it’s the time to do the daily great migration, following the shade like wildebeest following the rains. The scattered books, notebooks, pens and computers have to be carried across the great plains of the house and settled into their respective distances from the most comfortable chair.

The phrase “getting thoughts on paper” stands at the heart of my love for stationery. That’s what I use them for; whether it’s writing, drawing or scribbling circles in a particularly boring meeting. But I seem to forget about a key component of the process: the paper itself. I pick my pens and ink with care, whereas I expect the paper to behave, show off the characteristics of the ink nicely. Unfortunately, I’m also willing to pay much less -compared to what I’m willing to pay for inks and pens- since I go through it quickly. In this search for good paper in a lower price range, I came across Maruman and Oxford.

I tend to prefer Oxford simply because a local stationery store carries it and I can pick up some on my way home. It also shows sheen, shading and shimmer amazingly. Maruman Mnemosyne serves a slightly different purpose in my notebook rotation since it is much more chic in its appearance, I like taking it to meetings and project discussions with teachers. Most of our classes are project-based -they do not necessitate separate notebooks like lecture-based classes do. Therefore, I tend to use this one notebook as a catch-all place for all meeting notes, project discussions and relevant ideas for everything relating to work or school. Carrying only one fountain pen and notebook made my life significantly easier as I still have to carry prints, drawing rolls and a case of pencils to school. It is also a bit of a flex to show up with elegant stationery, even if the only people I’m flexing to is myself and that one teacher that told me I have a nice notebook. Even though I never saw that teacher a second time…

The styling of this notebook is quite minimalistic. The sleek black covers and the gold branding are unobtrusive. By branding, I mean the code of the notebook and “Mnemosyne,” there is no “Maruman” branding to be seen. After all that sleek styling, the first bright yellow page is a welcome surprise. It is again only branded as “Mnemosyne” with a link to Maruman’s website. I find it odd that there’s no Maruman branding, but Mnemosyne is much cooler anyway because Mnemosyne is a titan from Greek mythology that governs memory. I like that it’s a play on the memory and writing.

The binding of this notebook received my biggest prejudice. I thought double ring binding was impossible to enjoy because they always get destroyed within days. Rings break, bend or get stuck on other things in my backpack. Imagine my surprise when the only thing on this notebook are scratches on the cover that hasn’t bent once and only one slightly bent pair of rings. I am impressed by how sturdy this little notebook turned out to be after spending 4 months in various bags and getting thrown around. My other concern with this binding was that my hand would be uncomfortable while writing on both sides of the paper. It is not impossible to feel it, but I found that these rings are not as pronounced and irritating as most others are.

I had avoided notebooks with a title and date header at the top before because I used to think it was a waste of time. Extra three lines of text that I can cram into a notebook felt more important than the date I’ve written it on. If date and title were needed, I could write it. This time, it seemed extremely useful with the specific use case scenario. I can flip back to dates and see all of the chronologically ordered notes at a glance to find what I’m looking for. Dot grid also worked perfectly; giving enough structure for writing tidy lines while still being flexible enough for rough, scaled diagrams. On top of this, all the pages are perforated. Perforated pages are criminally underrepresented in the notebook industry.

I left the paper quality to last because it was the most underwhelming thing about this notebook. It doesn’t bleed through and has little enough show-through that you can use the back of the page without any concern. It doesn’t show sheen. It mostly doesn’t feather too, but it does react to the oil from your hands and feathers at the bottom of the page. Compared to the styling and attention to detail this notebook clearly received, I expected the paper to be somewhat fancier.

In the end, it all comes down to one question: would I buy it again? The answer is: definitely. The paper is good enough to keep me satisfied on a day-to-day basis, where I don’t mind not seeing all the fancy properties of my inks. It has enough pages to last a while and you can use both sides of the paper. For the price, the styling is impeccable. This time, judging the book by its cover has paid off immensely.

Thank you for reading!