In the past, I've written about the relationship between notebooks and Bibles, and also about my hunt for tan notebooks to complement my tan Allan's ESV1. Don't be surprised if it's a topic I return to more in the future, because I find that many of us who are interested in quality Bibles also have a soft spot for companion notebooks. To me, there are two things that make for a good one: a harmonious color combination, and a nice proportion. If the notebook isn't the same size as the Bible, it should at least be close enough that carrying the two together is convenient.
As you can imagine, when it comes time to grab a Bible and head to church, I'm somewhat spoiled for choices. In worship, my preference is for a small, handy edition, something that's there when I need it, but doesn't get in the way when I have hymnals or an order of worship to juggle. I'm unlikely to use cross references or study notes during worship, so I don't care much about that. Size is the thing.
Recently, though, I've been doing a lot of volunteer work at church, which needs organizing, and so I've brought along something I don't ordinarily: my Filofax. If you came of age in the Blackberry era, you might not know what this is, so imagine a PDA made out of paper. Better yet, here's a picture:
Above: A vintage Filofax in tan calfskin and a Cambridge ESV Pitt Minion in brown goatskin.
One of my projects recently has been to determine how much use the brown goatskin Pitt Minion requires before the cover starts to feel really supple. This may sound like licking the lollypop to see how much effort is required to reach the candy core, but it made sense to me when I started, and I've gotten into the habit. One thing I never realized before was that the Pitt Minion and the personal size Filofax are pretty much a perfect fit.
Above: Uncanny proportions.
Such a little thing, but the difference it makes is great. Now that I've realized, it's hard to separate the two. The similarity in size makes carrying them a breeze, and whenever the need to jot down a note occurs, I'm ready. The neat thing about the Filofax, of course, is that its six-ring binder allows for the internal pages to be re-shuffled and re-configured at will. You can take all the notes you want, then refill with blank pages, archiving the written-on sheets in a separate binder. For obsolete technology, it's not too bad. Plus, if you crack it open in church to write something down, nobody suspects that you're playing video games or checking eBay auctions, which is the fear that keeps my iPhone tucked out of sight.
Above: When opened, the Filofax has a slightly bigger footprint.
There are some things I don't use the Filofax for anymore. My calendar is on the computer, synched automatically to my phone, so I've gone for the ultra-streamlined month-on-two-pages diary. Also gone are the handwritten address book pages, also computerized. This gives me more room for blank sheets and a variety of custom inserts. In the photo above, you can see a few. The book of Hebrews (along with the beginning of James) is tucked in there, part of a Filofax-sized NASB I picked up over a decade ago. I've also printed the ecumenical creeds, prefaced by a selection of benedictions. My most recent undertaking was to format the entire text of the Westminster Confession of Faith for output on pre-punched Filofax pages.
Above: Can't convince a publisher to include doctrinal standards in the back of a Bible? Outwit them by inserting the relevant text in your Filofax. Imagine their chagrin!
(By the way, if you see my Westminster Confession pages and are overwhelmed by the nerdy conviction that you, too, must have a six-hole punched copy, I've posted the file as a PDF
, already arranged in spreads. All you have to do is buy some Filofax pre-punched sheets
, print them front and back, and pull them apart.)
If you're wondering, a little use and abuse has done nothing but good for my Pitt Minion. I've noticed a couple of tiny flakes on the leather — one on the spine, visible in the first photo below, and one on the top front edge, visible in the second — but otherwise it could pass for new. I tell myself that the stiff boards under the goatskin have softened a little, but that might be wishful thinking. It still has no trouble standing upright on its cover, as you can see.
As trivial as it may seem, the whole Pitt Minion/Filofax discovery has me excited. I know I'm no Einstein, but I think I could give the guy who dropped his chocolate in the peanut butter a run for his money. Has anyone else hit upon such a happy coincidence? If so, I want to hear about it.