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Flipping Pages

Last week I spent more than $150 buying calendars for 2010. I bought one for my desk, my house, my purse, my parents and several friends. I bought them as serious gifts, as jokes, as reminders of our impending doom, and mid-binge, I realized jut how important and personal a calendar is.

At my job, we have a calendar function. When you add something to your schedule on any given day, you can make it public or private. Most of my appointments are public (which should tell you something about the riveting life I lead). In fact, months ago, for November 9, I wrote “turn 24, eat cake” and forgot to make it invisible to my colleagues.

I tend to put everything on my personal calendar. Birthdays (my own and others), errands, grocery lists, subway poetry. Library due dates (riveting, I say!).

My life is my Moleskine.

Which is why, when faced with the prospect of junking my 2009 datebook, I couldn’t. Couldn’t do it to 2008 either. In fact, I have a shoebox full of old event planners from my first year of college till now. I never look back through them, but it comforts me to think that if I were to turn to April 14, 2006, I could see that I had coffee with a friend who I’ve since grown away from, or on January 1, 2004, a first date that turned into a relationship. In some way, these calendars are like an unformed memoir. They’re an unedited record of the way I spend my time, which almost makes them more valuable in reconstructing the past than the greeting cards and movie stubs I ordinarily keep.

Having a crisp new calendar feels like a luxury. My first step is to fill out the first page with my name and address. In the Reward if Found section, I write “karmic retribution.” Then I add my friends’ birthdays and anniversaries. Because I’m 24, sitting on an island in the middle of the Marriagiatic Sea, I put five upcoming weddings in my book too.

I am very particular about how I treat my calendar in the early stages of our relationship. I use the same-colored pen for every appointment, the same style of annotation and try to write as daintily as my grandmother did.

It is truly a shame that neat writing does not prevent messy living.

The color, style and artistic interpretation of a calendar is also very important. For years, I bought wall calendars of my favorite artists — Alphonse Mucha and Erte — and a black Moleskine to carry with me. This year, I chose a calendar with art from Maxfield Parrish, known for his children’s book illustrations. It was this picture, Solitude, that did it for me:

Solitude (1931) by Maxfield Parrish

Something about living in New York, without air or ether or sunlight or silence, made this seem truly calming. I thought it might be nice to think of the art on my calendar as a form of fantasy along with the emptiness inside.

So really, $150 is a small price to pay for a blank page.

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