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When I started keeping a journal, I used the cheapest exercise books I could find, 50c Newspower ones. I was fourteen, and the pages are now yellowed and brittle. I was allergic to aesthetics or quality then, function was all. I was also much poorer than I am now.

Today, my first Moleskine notebook arrived from Book Depository. At $16, it’s a lot less than you can buy it for in Australia. It truly is a beautiful notebook, properly bound and using acid-free paper. Will it inspire better words? Maybe; but I find it hard to write anything in my journal these days. Perhaps it is the fault of blogging. Perhaps I have lost the spiritual discipline of writing just for myself. (There are other factors.)

Two things struck me about my Moleskine notebook.

Firstly, it has an ISBN. I wonder what limits there are on ISBNs if a blank notebook can have one?

Secondly, it offers a conundrum to its owner with its front page saying ‘In case of loss please return to… As a reward: $…’

How much are our unique, private writings worth to us? I would say: they are priceless; they are worthless. There is nothing more wonderful and horrible for me than reading back over old journals. Sometimes I surprise myself; often I disappoint myself.

Perhaps one should write in it: ‘$1 (or $10?) for every page which is filled in’.  Perhaps one should write a great price in it, and then write to live up to it.

Whatever I decide (and I shall probably leave it blank) I have at least decided my private writings are worth more than a 50c exercise book.