Guest blogger John Cullen teaches literature at Ferris State University and has a lot of dogs and horses. He’s been a fountain pen fiend for about thirty years; here are his thoughts on the Habana…
(Image via Writer’s Bloc.)
Well, generally I have gotten pretty cynical about journals over the years. I hate to think how much I have spent only to end up throwing journals away because they will not open flat on the table or the paper inside the journal is so bad it makes the writing experience feel like punishment. Add to that the fact I use a fountain pen and you can see why finding a good journal has been a trial.
Recently I got on a chat board where people discussed these issues in depth and many people recommended I get a Quo Vadis Habana notebook. In fact, people spoke in glowing terms about these journals. Yeah, right, I thought, but then I figured I would give one a try. What a pleasant surprise this journal has been!
The Habana is roughly 5 x 9 inches and comes with 80 pages of Clairefontaine lined paper. The cover looks and feels like leather, and the spacing on the white paper is generous. So from a cosmetic perspective, this is a great journal. There is even a stretchy band to keep the journal closed.
But how would it work when actually put to use?
Well, I inked up a fountain pen with a nice wet nib and went to work. The results: Excellent. I have to give this journal an A.
The paper is super smooth and the book opens flat on the table, and I mean seriously flat. You can darn near write on the binding. This is a very well put together journal. My pen flows across the page and I have not experienced any bleedthrough, so I could write on both sides of the paper if I so desired. I suppose with a more wet flowing pen there could be some bleedthrough, but generally this is good paper that stands up to ink well.
What negative could there be? Well, the price is $20.00. OK, that is not cheap. But unless you are ripping out pages or you are channeling the spirit of Charles Dickens, you should find the 80 pages lasts you a good while. Also, the writing experience is so pleasant, I think it is worth it. Besides, what is the point of saving five bucks and getting bad paper? It would be like saving a few hundred and not having power steering!
What I like most is that the journal really does open flat. Just turn the page and smooth down the binding and you are ready to write. The journal is put together nicely enough that I do not think it will break or crack if you use it this way.
Other objections? The paper is so smooth you might find your pen gliding across the page like a skater on a pond of frozen silicone spray! I guess someone could object to this and prefer a textured paper, but in my opinion this would be like objecting to fudge because it tasted too fudgey.
You know you want one, so go ahead and get one. Don’t wait for your next incarnation to pick one of these up. Treat yourself.
Email John at johncullen [AT] ferris [DOT] edu.