One of the nicest gifts you can give — and one of the increasingly most bloody useless — is the deluxe notebook. As in the blank pages kind, not the miniature computer.
Concomitant with the expansion of notebook manufacture that sees every bookshop in the land stocking at least several thousand beautifully made, exquisitely decorated and heinously expensive bound beauties, people are forgetting how to write by hand. Handwriting! It's exhausting!Holden's right that deluxe notebooks are often useless. But handwriting deterioration is just part of the problem. They're also useless because they're usually over-decorated, cheaply-made gift-items, which aren't designed for really writing in. They're for giving, receiving, looking at, then putting away.
For example, the paper's often flimsy and rough. It bleeds ink. It's scratchy to write on. The binding's rarely made to lay the book flat - it cracks during long sessions. Then you add a ballpoint: more pressure's needed, cramping the arm. And the ink coagulates, blots and skips.
I don't know Holden, but I know she's a professional writer. Her mates might like to skip the deluxe, Tibetan monk-blessed notebooks with Klimt prints in gold leaf, and shout her some writerly tools: a well-made pen, some reliable ink, and a proper writing journal. The pen might be a Pelikan M215 with an EF nib. The notebook might be a Quo Vadis Habana. It depends on Holden's bent. The point is this: as I've argued for fountain pens, the right tools add to the craft.
Yes, we can write with computers, flimsy writing pads, or chalk on asphalt. And there's no need to be precious about it. But there's nothing wrong with appreciating fine tools - and being encouraged or stimulated by them. It's part of the job.