A few posts ago, I talked about my belief in the importance of having good tools. In writing, as in any other profession, using the right tools – the ones that work for each of us, that feel good to use in addition to being functional – is an important step toward greater productivity.
It is for that reason that I surfed over to Levenger last week and ordered a Soul Skin notebook cover. I’ve been a customer and fan of Levenger for many years, and I believe their True Writer is one of the best values going for fountain pens. So, I was expecting to be wowed by my Soul Skin. Even with those high initial expectations, I’m amazed and impressed.
If you’ve ordered from Levenger before, you’ll know the attention they put in making their packaging pretty, and this was no exception. The Soul Skin came in a beautiful little box, wrapped with a small piece of soft grey cloth. Aesthetically, the presentation was great, but I wanted to get working, so it didn’t stay in the box long.
The Soul Skin holds a Moleskine (or similar) notebook snugly, which is important for me because my notebooks tend to get battered around in my purse. The leather is strong but amazingly soft and supple. Seriously, I’ve seen suede that wasn’t this soft. In a clever bit of design, one leather-and-elastic pen loop is mounted to each cover. Slide in a pen, and it’ll hold the notebook closed. Although I got the Soul Skin with pen, I swapped it out for a True Writer fountain pen I already owned. I’ll use the ballpoint at home, I think.
As it happened, my Soul Skin arrived just in time to get a workout, in the form of a weekend camping trip. Over the course of 3 days, I wrote extensively in my notebook, which also weathered dust and dirt and (at one point) being kicked under the motorhome by a friend’s toddler. The dust wiped right off, and the notebook, pen, and Soul Skin remained good as new.
How’d the Soul Skin do for writing? Here too it exceeded my expectations. The leather felt wonderful in my hand – so much so that I found myself idly stroking it while working, a phenomenon which seems not uncommon. I find writing is a rather tactile experience sometimes, and the feel of the Soul Skin were amazing. So much so that most of the two remaining chapters of my first draft – which I’d been hashing around for days on the MacBook – got written over the weekend in my Moleskine.
Some – including one of my camping buddies – would call the Soul Skin a needless extravagance. I’m not one of those people. I like the way it feels, like the way it smells, love the way it protects my Moleskine from the bumps and scrapes of life. Is $100 for a leather notebook cover an extravagance? Maybe…but it’s already paid for itself with the work I did this weekend. And, really, one could blow as much money on a sushi dinner with friends, and have a lot less to show for it.
Would I buy another Soul Skin? Oh, yes. Would I recommend it to others? Absolutely, without reservation. If you’re a writer, or someone else whose work depends on carrying a notebook, you owe it to yourself to check out the Soul Skin.