You probably know someone who’s a movie freak, or a football freak, or a clothes freak or a Japanese food freak. A freak is someone who’s interested in something passionately and loves it to a great degree. As for me, I’m a stationery freak. I just love stationery and am so happy every time I go into a stationery shop.
Notebooks, coloured pencils, erasers, pencils and pens of all types, Post-it notes, highlighters, markers, envelopes of all shapes and sizes, exercise books – I own and love them all. If my friends or parents want to buy me a birthday or a Christmas present, they know exactly what to get me. Stationery! I’m the easiest person in the world to buy something for.
I’m not the only stationery fan in the world. There are thousands of others like me. Stationery shops last year reported a rise in sales. Stores that do not usually sell stationery items are adding sections for writing supplies, and online stationery sales are up from last year.
Why do we like stationery? What is its appeal? It seems to me that there are two main reasons. The first is that a stationery item like a notebook or a pencil unlocks your creativity. Who has not picked up a pen and a piece of paper and doodled during a boring meeting or lesson?
The right pen and the right type of paper encourage us to put our ideas down in words or drawings. We can jot down the beginning of a story or a thought that we don’t want to forget. I am always hunting for the perfect notebook. It feels great to open a notebook and find a drawing or ideas we’ve jotted down in the past.
On the other hand, typing sentences on your phone is not as creative as writing in a notebook. Writers and novelists carry a notebook around with them all the time. So do I.
The second reason for using stationery such as files, address books and notebooks, and coloured plastic wallets is that they help us to be organised. Imagine the joy of holding a loose-leaf file filled with sheets of paper and cardboard dividers. Writing an appointment down in a notebook is also much more fun than typing it into your smartphone. Try it, and you will see.
We no longer rely on stationery like we used to. Once upon a time paper and ink were essential tools of everyday life. Now it is all text messaging and emails. But let’s be honest. Which would you rather receive? An e-birthday card or one delivered in an envelope to you personally?
The use of stationery in the workplace and for general communication has almost vanished today. We are told to have a paperless work environment. But this is as far as it goes. I want to write things down in my own handwriting with a pen or a pencil and erase my mistakes with a rubber in the shape of a frog.
Today, we spend a lot of time online – sending messages on various devices and apps. But we must not forget how refreshing it is to write something in our own handwriting in a beautiful notebook or journal. Or how satisfying it is to buy colourful gel pens or a new cool pencil case.
Being a stationery freak does not mean you are old-fashioned. It means you appreciate nice things that help you organise and create. It means you are an individual and not a sheep that follows the herd.
Stationery is cool! Now, what’s the name of that Japanese store that sells wonderful notebooks and gel pens? You know which one I’m talking about. Just look at all the young people crowding around the pens section and the notebook shelves as they focus on choosing the perfect stationery. Apart from serving its purpose of writing, stationery brings us a sense of pleasure that cannot be replaced by an electronic device. Technology cannot and will never wipe out stationery or fans like me.