Jason Gurley

By day, I'm a user experience designer; by evenings/weekends, I write novels from my home in Scappoose, Ore. My newest is Awake in the World, published February 2019 by Roaring Brook Press; my previous novel, Eleanor, was published by Crown in 2016 and has since been translated into German, Portuguese, and Turkish. I’m currently working on a new project.

Life among the notebooks

After a few months spent plundering stationery stores, it's possible I've arrived at my preferred choice of notebook. 


These are all made by the Japanese paper company Life Stationery. (Check out this behind-the-scenes look at their work.) There's a lot to love about them—the covers are beautiful, in an ornate, old-fashioned kind of way; the little spirals are quaint; the simple binding means all these books lay nicely flat when writing in them—but mostly it's the paper. The paper is exquisite. "It's so smooth," Squish said, the first time she touched them. "It's like plastic." 


I've carried one of the spirals around in my pocket for the last month; I've used one of the A5-sized Noble Notes for a journal; I'm using the Vermilion notebook for a novel-writing journal; I've got one of the notepads on my desk for daily note-jotting, especially during conference calls and such. These are just all so good that I find myself wanting to use only them, despite having a whole shelf full of other journals and notebooks waiting for me to try them out.

I've caught myself buying these any time I spot them, which is less frequently than I'd like. So I buy them in great heaping piles, usually, stockpiling them because I know they're not always easy to come by. Though you can find them at my favorite stationery shop in Portland, Little Otsu, or at Kinokuniya in Beaverton, or now and then at Schoolhouse Electric & Supply, they're more often sold out, with future shipments always something of a question mark. If you don't happen to live near any shops that carry these magical books, you can find them on JetPens, too, and usually in more whimsical sizes. (Amazon has a few of their products, though they're a bit harder to locate. Here are their various Noble Notes.) 


The paper may be a dream for fountain pens and other complex inks, but these books are just as wonderful for pencils. Highly recommend them. It's nice to find a tool you love well enough to make it a staple. It feels like I have.  

Writing, or not writing

Beets, for the stew