Saturday, December 22, 2012

Book Darts

I'm sure it will come as no surprise to anyone who reads this blog regularly but I am a pen and paper type of person. E-readers certainly have their place in society but it's not in my hands. I love the feel of a book well made, or an old book that has survived the decades. I love the weight of a book as it rests in my hands. I'm partial to fountain pens and well bound journals. I love the scritch-scratch of a nib across rough paper. And a couple years ago I discovered one of my favorite new book tools: the book dart.

 Stephen King's On Writing with about a dozen book darts to mark quotes.

Book darts are tiny strips of metal that fold over with a point on one end. Just that simple. They are used to mark a quote, an interesting point, or a unique fact in a book. I bought my first set about 10 years ago and quickly ran out. I bought more and ran out of those. I find a lot of interesting quotes and facts. So a couple years ago I decided that I would write down those points and reuse the darts. I bought a commonplace book (a book for keeping miscellaneous facts, quotes, bits of trivia...) and hand write all things I find into that journal so I can re-pull the darts. Each time I read a book I mark lines and quotes I like, then when the book is finished, I copy the quotes and pull the dart. I have the information I want but don't need to buy a lifetime supply of darts.

I own eight sets of darts now so I went out to find something to store them in. Something portable that I could carry with me constantly and have available when I read. I found this wonderful beat-up antique box in one of the antique stores in town. The Y&S company still makes licorice but they now make it under the trade name Twizzlers. I love the well-used look of the box. The same way I love the feeling of hand copying my quotes and facts into a beautiful wood covered journal. And to make all that seem more archaic and romantic, I use the fountain pens for a lot of my copying. I feel a bit like a Luddite but that's not the reason for it. I just love working with the books and the darts and the pens. There's something tactile about it. It makes me feel a bit like a scholar.

 A jumbled pile of book darts, ready for use. 

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