A Companion for Life
Whether you know it or not, you are a writer. Every living, seeing, hearing, feeling, breathing person is a writer. YOUR brain is capable of an incredible alchemy. It can distill insane volumes of raw sensory input into singular events called “experience.” It can instantaneously code that experience into written or spoken symbols called “language” and transmit it to other receiving minds! It works like magic. I write “I ate chicken cacciatore at Donna’s last night” and you suddenly see chicken cacciatore in your head. You see the tablecloth. You smell the marinara. You hear the din and clink of restaurant patrons around you. I was there, now you are there. I put it in your head. Did I manage this through some trick or spell? Some hypnosis? No, I used something more powerful: the written word. I put words on the page, which project entire worlds behind your eyes. It is this unique ability to transcribe our rich, swirling sensory experience into words that elevates our species. Everyone has this ability. You might think your words and experiences are insignificant but you would be mistaken. Everyone has something interesting to share. The most mundane experience is novel to new eyes. Your words become part of the reader’s live experience, which he will share using his own words, and so on down the line. It is easily taken for granted, but it is an incredible power. All you have to do is put pencil to paper.
Such a sacred, primal craft demands tools deserving of the act — tools equally as elemental, as enduring. Enter this quintessential Craft & Caro item. A single slice of plush, naked leather, folded over a small stack of pure white paper. A little untouched landscape awaiting the creator’s hand. The notebook is a sensory experience in itself — gorgeous leather, soft to the touch, richly tanned, with that pure, earthy scent. The pliable material happily conforms to your grip, your pocket, your bag or briefcase. No hard edges, no stiff spine, no cardboard or pleather veneer to tear or crease. In fact the notebook improves as it journeys with you. The leather distresses gracefully, absorbing the same moments and impacts that you do, so you weather together. The lines on your weary brow, the dust under your fingernails, the myriad scuffs on your notebook beside you all become fine layers of detail in the experience you share in the pages. Take notes. Make lists. Sketch the birds, sketch the mountain face. Draw maps. Chronicle your hike, your traverse of the high pass, your ride on the commuter rail. Write a poem for the pretty girl in the seat across from you. This is her stop. Do you fold it up and give it to her? Keep a journal. Capture the suspense, the romance, the heartbreak.
And there is no end. You keep on living. So does the notebook, because its pages are replaceable. Instead of binding, a pair of aluminum screws function like rivets to hold the pages in place. More to say? A few quick turns and you can pop in a brand new pad. Mail the full one, laden with your dreams and your grocery lists, home in an envelope marked “CONFIDENTIAL.” Swiftly now — the boat to New Delhi is boarding. There is more ahead.Of course you’ll need something just as suited to adventure to write it all down. Craft & Caro furnished this field reporter with a clever little piece of nostalgia for the purpose: the bullet pencil. Apparently, late-nineteenth century British soldiers in Africa started jamming used pencil nubs into spent rifle cartridges to write. (What a deliciously practical repurposing of two used up commodities!) It caught on. Get-rich-quick scavengers collected shells from the battlefields and shipped them back to England as souvenirs. They were replicated, then re-designed a little, so the pencil could be flipped around and stored inside the shell for safe travel. Princess Mary included these second-generation bullet pencils in care packages for her soldiers in the trenches during World War I. From here the trick made it back to the States and bam! The bullet pencil flourished in a post-war wonderland of commercial mass production. Mid-century car dealerships and industrial fertilizer companies gave them out as promotional keepsakes. They fell out of style eventually, as petro-plastics became ever more popular and the cheap disposable pen replaced the pencil. Hope you’re taking notes.
The timeless utility of this bullet pencil is inherent. A pencil nub is jammed into a metal cap resembling the actual bullet that’s at the tip of a round. The cap is threaded on both sides, so it can be screwed onto the cartridge facing either way — with the pencil encased inside the protective metal jacket or facing out, ready to scribble. Closed, it’s simply a bullet a few inches in length, easily pocketable, mess-free and non-threatening to other important equipment in the area. Pull it out, flip it around and now you have a pleasingly weighty, solid, full-sized writing utensil. Perfect for adventure. It will take the beating alongside your notebook and live to tell about it.
The question is not are you going to write, or even what are you going to write, but when are you going to start? Your world is filled with juicy details. Your head is percolating with ideas. You pulled out of the station a long time ago. Don’t let another mile slip by. Even as you’re reading this, you probably have something to say…