I first corresponded with Armand Frasco, the founder of Moleskinerie.com, just after my Web site went live. I wrote about Moleskines in my book, and later linked my site to his Web site and then he linked to mine. I revisit Moleskinerie often and love it. It's so well done, as well as being a gathering place for Moleskine obsessed users. A few weeks ago there was a wonderful piece in The New York Times Magazine about him and his site.
I asked Armand some questions:
BDB: Can it be that your Moleskinerie site only a year old? In the NYT mag article, the writer (Rob Walker) said you started your blog last year.
AF: Yes, Moleskinerie.com went live on January 12, 2004.
BDB: Are you surprised at all by the attention to your blog?
AF: Yes, the attention constantly amuses me. I never dreamt of being in the New York Times Magazine, etc. With the attention came the expected rise of e-mails and other requests and running the blog has become an almost full-time occupation. Moleskine is a good product that I patronize, am satisfied with and happy to share the good news.
BDB: When did you discover Moleskines?
AF: I bought my first Moleskine about four years ago at a mall in suburban Chicago. I've used different journals before that and still do.
BDB: What do you love about Moleskines?
AF: I love Moleskine notebooks for their sturdy construction and unobtrusive, minimalist look. The paper is excellent for my own use, which is mostly writing and some drawings. As Louis Henri Sullivan said, "Form follows function". That is Moleskine.
BDB: Tell me more about your blog. What was the intention, when you began it?
AF: Honestly, Moleskinerie was started on a whim, on a bright but boring winter day. I searched for Moleskine users online and found hundreds. With a basically underutilized TypePad blogging account I opened Moleskinerie with the intention of connecting with other users from all over the globe.
BDB: What's your intention now? The same?
AF: Since then, Moleskinerie has evolved to become the premier gathering place for Moleskine enthusiasts worldwide. My basic intention of bringing people together remains with the added sense of responsibility for providing a forum of expression for our readers' amazingly diverse creative use of the notebook and the site's continuity.
BDB: Do you write?
AF: Yes I do, for Moleskinerie, of course and for other print publications and online sites. My major interest though is photo
documentaries which I do for organizations and families. I also struggle to keep a personal journal updated.
BDB: What are you reading right now?
AF: I received a copy of Drawing from Life by Jennifer New for my birthday (July 16). This very interesting book gave me a deeper understanding of why people keep journals. A snip: "Like old Shaker chairs grown smooth from supporting so many bodies, or a handmade quilt faded from decades of laundering and human contact, journals are utilitarian objects transformed by repeated and fond use. They hold life in them, which is why we cannot let them go. And yet they are
ubiquitous to the point of invisibility."
BDB: You're now seen as a sort of expert on Moleskines. How does that make you feel?
AF: To paraphrase the Dalai Lama, "I am a simple Moleskine user, nothing more, nothing less."
BDB: Anything else?
AF: Thank you Barbara for giving me this chance to share my thoughts with your many readers. Memories make us what we are and what we will become. Journals and diaries help keep those memories within ready reach (no batteries required) so get out, get a life and write about it!