My First Moleskine
As a long-term keeper of journals, over 30 years now, I’m amazed that I’ve just ordered my first Moleskine. Oh, I’d heard about them and read about them, and in my head, I pronounced it in two syllables: mole-skin or mole-skine.
Then at the journal conference, I saw and examined several of them (Thanks guys!) and felt the heft and richness. And acid free!
Although I spend much of my time now journaling in computer programs, my introduction to journals and diaries was on paper. When I’m tired, stressed, or ill, I love to speak one of my favorite phrases: “This day is over” and retire to my bed with a beautiful journal and a favorite pen.
“So how do you pronounce “Moleskine?” I asked my friends.
Four syllables? Mole-a-skeen-a?
I was instantly catapulted back to age seven, eight, ten, swinging on the garden gate as my father staked tomato plants. He was telling me about one of his favorite novels: Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, and how it changed his life at a young age.
It’s a well-known phenomenon that people who read widely but don’t hear words pronounced to them conjure up logical but incorrect pronunciations.
As he read about the character, Cosette, in Les Miserables, in his mind, he pronounced her name with two syllables. Then he encountered Hugo’s phrase, “He loved all three syllables of her name.” I remember his faraway sea-blue eyes focusing on the horizon.
Three syllables, how could that be? Then her name must be pronounced with three syllables. So what he assumed to be true all along was not true.
“And a door opened to me to a wider world,” he said. What else had he imagined or assumed to be true that was not?
So he began to think differently and study French and history and literature and philosophy and science and mathematics and everything else he could get his hands on. And he’d always wanted to visit those “faraway places with the strange-sounding names,” (and he did, eventually).
Thanks, Daddy, for reminding me of the richness of your legacy to me. I can never repay you, but I can follow in your footsteps and read and study and write and at least learn to pronounce “Moleskine” with four syllables.