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Posts Tagged ‘pen and paper’

2B or not 2B

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

All my life I’ve had a love affair I rarely speak of. Some might call it a fetish. Something so lewd and risqué I keep it secret and try not to let anyone understand the depths of my fancy. But here it is. I have a surreptitious fixation with stationary. I love everything about it. Going into Office Works sends my heart racing, and going into a store like Pepe’s Paperie or Kikki K sees my palms sweat as they involuntarily dive into my bag for my wallet. Resistance is futile as I smell the crisp new pages and attempt to justify the purchase of yet another notebook. My world is being digitised at a rapid rate, I use my phone for basically everything, but I still find myself going back to the old pencil and paper for a few things, and I’m not entirely sure why. At first I thought it was just out of habit, but I think there’s more to it than that.

I have tried and tried to put my shopping list on my phone. The notes app looks great and is easy to use, it’s not the app’s fault. I just cannot walk around the shopping centre using my phone as a list. I keep almost dropping it, I can’t put it down in the basket for fear of getting chicken juice all over it, and it’s annoying to have to keep waking up the phone to check one little thing (especially seeing as I have a passcode). There’s also the issue of walking around the supermarket waving your smartphone about and looking like a total pillock. I’ll take the digital option in almost every circumstance, but his is one such instance that I simply cannot bare the digital version. I always go back to my chicken-scratch handwriting scribbled on an innocent piece of scrap paper that was yanked from it’s natural habitat because it was within reaching distance when I decided to start my list. Digitally I cannot recreate the satisfaction of striking through an item on my to-do list.

There’s something incredibly satisfying about writing smoothly with a pencil on a nice piece of faintly textured paper. Feeling the slight grittiness and tiny vibrations through the pencil, hearing the graphite softly graze the paper, there’s a definite romance in it. Cursive writing resembles a ballet. Handwritten notes are more personal, they have penmanship, they actually bring a part of the person onto the paper. One word written by many people will look different almost every time. A romantic letter written by hand is at least +15 to swoon. I type fast, friends are mortified by my “angry typing” as my hands look blurred as they hurriedly type away, almost in bullet time. I can’t write as fast as I can type, and most of the time this is a good thing as it saves time. But occasionally it’s nice to write with a nicely weighted pencil in my Moleskin as the speed of output gives me time to ponder what it is I’m writing. When it comes to poetry, or creative writing in general, I prefer to write it by hand. The pace gives me time to polish words on the fly and not over-analyse and kill the content. There’s a pace and a flow to it that I dig and cannot replicate in the digital world.

Is it nostalgia or habit that fuels my love for stationary? It could be just a throwback to the joy I felt at the start of a new school year, looking over all my new books, erasers, pencils, pens, post it notes, and highlighters. The love of a new start, a clean slate. Reminiscing the tenderness felt from a handwritten love letter. Or is it the data overload factor? Are we so swamped with the digital world, hundreds of emails, thousands of tweets, hours on FB every week, that we crave a break from screens? You still see people taking old fashioned notebooks in to meetings despite being CEO’s of major tech companies. A notebook in a meeting is quick and says “I’m listening, I’m not tweeting or checking FB, I’m right here and paying attention”. No matter how much we move on and the huge technological advances we face, pencil and paper still has a place in the world. For whatever reason. Why not embrace it and write someone a nice letter today. You’ll be amazed at how much your penmanship deteriorates when neglected… Above image is case in point…

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