Falling In Love With Field Notes

by Randy Murray on July 17, 2012

I’m late to the game, but I am head over heels about Field Notes memo books.

I’ve been using the Levenger Shirt Pocket Briefcase and 3×5 note cards for many, many years. It’s a wonderful way to capture ideas or to make a note and hand it to someone else. Whenever I wear a sports jacket (any time the weather is cool enough or I’m on business) you’ll find it in my inside left coat pocket.

I do not, however, like to carry it in my pants pocket. It’s too big, and I’m too persnickety to even think about it being bent and mangled in my back pocket. That’s just me. My buddy Patrick Rhone carries his in his back pocket, stuffed with his essentials, and it works great for him (our friendship was kindled, many years ago, over our common love for the Shirt Pocket Briefcase and all things Levenger).

That’s where the Field Note memo book comes in. It’s small, thin, and beautifully made, but it’s just paper. I can stuff one in my pocket and pull it out later, bent, creased, even sweat-stained, and I only love it more. It’s perfect for jotting down notes, making observations, and keeping things.

And it reminds me of my grandfather.

My Grampa Murray was a farmer. He died when I was eight years old, but I have very clear memories of my time with him. He wore denim bib overalls, carried a simple stainless steel pocket watch with a braided leather strap, and always had a pocket knife and a simple notepad and pen. The Field Note book is exactly the kind of thing that I can imagine him pulling out of his pocket to make a note about the corn crop or how the cows were feeding. It’s a surprising tangible connection to someone long gone.

Even without that connection I believe that you’ll find them beautifully printed and constructed and a valuable thing to carry with you. When it’s full and all of the items you’ve completed or transferred elsewhere I suspect that you, like me, will not throw them away. You’ll bundle them together and store them with pride on a shelf. In this electronic digital world notebooks like these are tangible ties to our own past, our activities, our lives.

I’m smitten. Field Note memo books are a highly affordable luxury item that’s highly practical at the same time.

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