FIELD NOTES: Stationary for Those Who Aren’t

Pictured: Field Notes’ 36th Limited Edition, “Dime Novel”

If this blog has a theme, it would probably have something to do with transience—hence the words “wayfaring” and “pilgrim” in the header—perhaps in the spirit of the hobo culture of the 1930s and 40s, when working people went wherever and did whatever they had to do to make ends meet. We may not be in the Great Depression now, but the same tenacity back then has been passed down to many of us now. No matter what our vocation, we strive to do our best because we care about what we do. 

The folks at Field Notes reinforce that ideal with quality notebooks and accessories such as pens, pencils, and leather notebook covers (all made in the USA). They make a quality product because they care about what they do. So it’s no surprise to find that they have a generous selection of notebooks marketed with the working person in mind. At their page you can find great notebooks, which generally come in 3-packs, such as their Original Kraft memo books , Utility, which comes in graph or ledger and a flip-out ruler to boot, as well as a host of other cool editions. Their design team is top notch, creating notebooks that salute the pragmatism of yesteryear while contributing stylish subtleties like embossed letters (especially in their newest edition, Dime Novel) and a ruler printed on the inside back cover. They make notation a pleasure for hard-working people in the field.

Which brings me to the meat of this post. Having a pocket notebook was at one time a common necessity—not just a small part of a subculture today. Not only for writers or artists, pocket notebooks were largely utilitarian, used for practical purposes by people in job sectors such as agriculture, transportation, and trade jobs. My late grandad would often carry in his shirt pocket a small composition notebook to check off each stop on his water softener route, write out a lumber material list, or jot down tasks to be completed. I worked on drill rigs for drillers who would keep their own shift logs in addition to the ones they were required to keep in the rig clipboard. 

As for myself, I keep a notebook to sketch, make quick notes, log how many cords of firewood I’ve cut (see what I did there?), or scribble out a poem once in a while. For me, the folks at Field Notes have tapped into an unpretentious mixture of blue collar durability found on the job site and literary creativity found in a corner booth at the local coffeehouse. A real win.

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