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Stationeryphilia

Updated on February 26, 2011
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Mmm, notebooks...

Many of you will have it, being as this is a place where writers convene/congregate/err...convalesce. Stationeryphilia. The love of stationery. I'm certain it has a proper name, but I haven't been able to find it. One of you will know it - you always know, for you are a wise collective. Stationeryphilia. The inability to walk past a stationery shop without stopping. Without stopping, going in, browsing for half an hour, and buying at least one new notebook, pack of sticky notes, pen or mechanical pencil; possibly even a basketful of goodies.

It is one of my lofty ambitions in life to finish a notebook. I have many notebooks, but very little will power. I am very good at making excuses to abandon a half-filled notebook and begin new ones. As a stationeryphile I find soemthing irresistible about that blank first page, crisp and white, like fresh fallen snow - that does seem like a lazy cliché, I know, but truly it's the best one I can make. Think of that moment when you open the curtains on the morning of the first snowfall of the year, and the world is hushed and still, and although you don't want to spoil the beauty, you also want nothing more than to run outside in your pyjamas and be the first to step on the velvet white coldness; you want to make a snow angel, if you're honest with your inner child. In my ideal world I would start a new notebook every day. I would fill that first page with wordy equivalents of glorious snow angels. To a stationeryphile the reality doesn't matter at all; it makes no difference that most new notebooks are left only half written, that only a very small percentage of the words scribed in them will be of any real value, that all new notebooks start to be considered old and a bit less attractive after the novelty of them has worn off. Every stationeryphile only knows the desire to possess that gorgeous notebook, and cares little for the consequences of breaching overdraft limits, or of filling the house with what their significant other might think of as clutter.

It's not only notebooks. Pens. Oh, pens. Pens that write smoothly, pens that scratch, pens that are very fine tipped, pens that are wide, pens that are colourful, pens that are only black. I am a pen lover whose preferences change with my moods. Other stationeryphiles can only write in blue, for example, or only with a non-scratchy pen, or only with a fine liner, or only with the cheapest supermarket brand of ballpoint. The pen itself becomes an extension of the writer, and for the stationeryphile it does not matter what brand the pen is, it only needs to feel right. We are not necessarily pen snobs. We do not have to have expensive pens (although, expensive pens are divine), we just have to feel comfortable with them. Our pens are like our slippers (not all stationeryphiles wear slippers) and when we find the perfect pen or pair of slippers we are very likely to stick with them for a long time. For certain, we will not be able to resist buying a nice looking new pen if we see one that takes our fancy, but if it does not surpass our old favourite in comfort and writability, it will quickly be abandoned.

Personally, my own stationeryphilia only really extends to notebooks and pens. I have been known to buy sticky notes, but there I am able to be rational. I know that I am an infrequent user of the sticky note, so I will only buy them if I do actually need them. Other stationeryphiles are not driven by need, only by desire. They are unable to apply rational thought to any action once they enter the stationery shop. Like magpies, finding themselves in a treasure chest, they can only fill their arms/beaks/feet with as much as they can carry and ignore completely those guilty feelings as they hand over cash that was intended for the milkman, or for the childrens' school lunches, or for the savings account for next year's holiday.

The outed stationeryphile may have an area of their house for stashing their hoard, such as a dedicated shelf for notebooks, a drawer for pens. Books and pens that are in current use may perhaps be kept in a pile by a favourite chair, or on a desk, so that they are always within reach. It will be obvious from this that many stationeryphiles have a degree of obsessive compulsive disorder, which may explain that desire to see that first clean page over and over again. They may possess a need to have their stationery neatly stacked or laid out, and possibly even inventoried.

The closet stationeryphile is not at all likely to have a specific area of the house designated for stationery, since to them, that would be the equivalent of admitting to their addiction. They would certainly not wish to display their weakness for paper and ink in such an overt way, if indeed they were even conscious of their addiction. The closet stationeryphile may not believe that they have a problem at all. Or they may be fully aware, and may choose to have a secret stash, or perhaps hide a new notebook between Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, or underneath a pile of Terry Pratchetts (Terry Pratchett books that is, not a pile of miniature bearded fantasy authors - although anything is possible). In my opinion, that closet stationeryphile cuts a sad figure, and I would wish for him or her to know that stationeryphilia is nothing to be ashamed of. As addictions go, it is rather a nice one, and if it's embraced it can be controlled more easily. Welcome your parchment and pen greed - and if you feel guilt, then just make a concerted effort to fill a notebook before you buy a new one. Imagine that - buying a notebook because you actually need one? Pure satisfaction.

I used to hide my obsession, but I found that that made it worse. These days I am open about my stationeryphilia, and I find that this helps me to curb it a little.

Not completely though. In my handbag-that-has-to-be-able-to-accommodate-enough-paper-products-to-give-me-a-severe-crick-in-the-neck, I have two storage.it books by MARKs.Inc., which I have refilled with chunky, soft covered, narrow lined notebooks from WHSmith. One of these is for writing hubs, and one is for writing my novel. I also have, in the bag, a Moleskine reporter's notebook, which I use for noting down ideas for hubs and submissions. And I have a new notebook in there that I bought not half an hour ago (*hangs head in shame, but then remembers that stationeryphilia is not at all shameful*). I bought it because it's pretty, and I do not yet know what I will use it for. In another bag I have a pile of notebooks and pens that I just bought for my mum - it's her birthday, and she is a stationeryphile. What more perfect opportunity for guilt free stationery purchasing could there be than a fellow stationeryphile's birthday? The ability to buy notebooks and pens without the responsibility of having to fill them before buying the next ones.

My mum's stationery affliction is worse than mine. But she buys less reading books than I do.

Ah, libraphilia - that's another story. I'll save that for another hub...

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    • Lady Wordsmith profile image
      Author

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Oh thank you barbergirl. It's so good to know that I am by no means the only person afflicted with this. Mmm, that fresh notebook... but no, no, I'm using a lovely notebook at the moment that has absolutely nothing wrong with it, I must finish it!

      Linda.

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 6 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      This was absolutely beyond genius... I guess I suffer from stationaryphilia as well... I never really thought about though so thanks for bringing it to my attention. And you are absolutley right.. there is nothing like a fresh notebook. I start them over just cause I like a new fresh notebook. However, if one page gets ripped out I can't handle it and immediately need another notebook. Oh yeah... and pens... got to love the pens too!

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image
      Author

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Is that a good thing or a bad thing Christine? Is it a neverending notebook that's like a treasured old friend, or a pest that won't go away?

      Thanks for dropping by :)

      Linda.

    • ChristineVianello profile image

      ChristineVianello 6 years ago from Philadelphia

      I have this one notebook that I have had since I can remember. It does seem like it's a neverending book!

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image
      Author

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Typos and spelling errors corrected. Apologies!

      Linda.

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image
      Author

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Paperazzi? Ah, like that. The Paperazzi. That will do nicely AH, ta!

      chs - I do already know about Sticky Notes, and I do use it on my computer. I like playing about with the fonts and colours - suits my stationeryphilia perfectly :) I know what you mean, I certainly can't buy whatever I fancy now either. But that's a good reason to use up all the stuff I've been collecting over the years. Maybe once I've finished those notebooks that've been waiting so patiently this whole economic situation will be fixed - that's very likely, actually, since I've probably got about ten years' worth of books to fill!

      Hello ltfawkes. That is precisely the reason I don't allow myself a credit card :D I would be lethal with one. Mind you, I'm still pretty bad at going into my overdraft. Thanks for popping by and commenting.

      Linda.

    • ltfawkes profile image

      ltfawkes 6 years ago from NE Ohio

      It's about time somebody coined a term for this. I can totally relate. If I walk into an office supply store carrying a credit card, I'm just ASKING for trouble.

      Fun hub, Lady W. Thanks.

      L.T.

    • chspublish profile image

      chspublish 6 years ago from Ireland

      I know what you mean about stopping and staring at he new notebooks and stationery. It's difficult to resist the crisp newness and possibilities posed there.

      Used to be like that until the economics dicated a halt. Now I do it on a computer with 'Sticky Notes' - a compuer accessory. Maybe I shouldn't tell you, but then maybe you already know. Ah well, another nice place to put a few lines and notes about something or other. Thanks for the hub.

    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 6 years ago from Australia

      I've got short hands, you can borrow them. Now you've gone and started a whole society of stationary lovers and i much prefer ones that move about a tiny bit, ok a lot then.

      Well i'm sticking with my crumpled up tatty old book and keeping well clear of the highbrow Parerazzi. Your new societies name.

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image
      Author

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Susan, thanks for reminding me - shorthand has been on my list of things to learn for a long time, but I still haven't managed to start. I'll put it back near the top of the list. I don't know why I want to learn it, but maybe it will come in handy. Thanks for loving my hub :)

      Darski, I don't see much awesome stationery myself anymore, and there is only really one shop in my town that is good enough - I spend a lot of time in there! I could buy lots online, but I prefer to see my paper before I buy it. Thanks Darski :)

      Linda.

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 6 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      I haven't seen anything awesome in the way of stationary, my daughter love sweet unique stationry, with ties ribbon bows and art.....great hub, I love this rate you way up love & peace darski

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      While in High School I took shorthand and ever since then I always have a shorthand (steno) pad around. Not that I use it for shorthand but I find these pads are great to jot things down, for grocery lists, to do lists and such. I suppose shorthand is not as popular as it used to be because now it takes me maybe browsing through 3 stores to find one. I can look at pens forever. I understand exactly how you feel and loved this Hub!

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image
      Author

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Ohhhhhhh Twilight, that sounds like a heavenly job to have. I have a thing for vellum too, and airmail paper. I was practically salivating, reading your description of the different kinds of paper there. Wonderful.

      Zoe, I write everything, apart from blogs, by hand first (and apart from replies to comments, of course, that would be ridiculous). I can't write anything straight onto my laptop - it just doesn't feel comfortable to me. Probably I am responsible for about 12% of the world's deforestation, but I don't think there's much I can do about it. If I stop buying paper I might actually die of despair.

    • ZozieM profile image

      ZozieM 6 years ago from London, UK

      My favourite notepad, bought from that stationary porn shop, Paperchase, is an A4 spiral bound yellow number in which I am inscribing my novel page after delightful handwritten page. First draft by hand, second draft done by typing up onto my gorgeous pink laptop. I don't currently have a dedicated Hub/blog notepad, as I tend to write them straight onto the laptop - but I can now feel a familiar urge to nip out to WHSmiths and stock up... ... ...

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Linda, many years ago, I left school half way through my education, and took a job in a paper warehouse. Spicers: purveyors of stationery to the gentry, the world, and more specifically to Perth, West Australia.

      I was like a pig in straw, whatever makes pigs happy. They were continually throwing out damaged boxes of writing paper, note paper, vellum, quality bank, deckle edged writing paper, airmail quality paper so thin it took a minute to float to the floor when dropped, in boxes that one opened and there would be a satin ribbon with a neat little knot... I was in paper heaven. And of course there was always a staff discount for exceptional weights and qualities,

      Paper in those days came in reams (480 sheets) and quires (24 sheets).

      I accumulated boxes and cases full of the stuff. When I left Australia I brought some with me; sometimes I still find remnants of an obsession.

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image
      Author

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Huh? Nooooooo. I don't want to be cured, I love my affliction! :D I will never be cured, and when I am old and live alone with only my cats for company, my children will visit me but will be unable to sit down for a cup of tea and a biscuit because every surface will be covered with empty notebooks.

    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 6 years ago from Australia

      How about nuttyaphilia, that sits nicely. I've got one note book and, sit down as you may feint, i sometimes write between the old lines of something i've finished with. Linda! Linda! wake up it's only a book to scribble piffle down in. I'll pay for rehab, but no writing when you get there, unless it's on a toilet roll, when the guards aren't looking.

      There there, you'll be cured soon.