I’ve met a few with this affliction. Those who step into office supply shops and suddenly flush with an excitement most reserve for the bedroom. Those who actually care very very much about which pen the write with, those who can debate lined over grid paper. Those who can quite happily drop $20 on a pack of pens from Japan because no one can quite make the ink flow smoothly like the Japanese.
I’ve shared these urges with the general public and am usually faced with a mix of disbelief and suggestions I see someone. But we all have our things that others find odd, like stamp collecting or being a Skunk enthusiast.
What brought this on was a visit to a local art supply shop. I didn’t need anything in particular but I went in anyway.
I caught myself with my hand on a Moleskine gridded reporters notebook. I didn’t actually need it, the first draft of this post is written in something almost exactly like it with three quarters of its pages free.
In this wide world there are many things that can corrupt the brain. There are people who snort stuff, drink stuff and take stuff. Then there are those who get their highs from new pens and paper.
Why do I have these raging notebook urges? What was wrong with my brain? Something that a few shared and the rest thought was insane.
I have always been this way. At age 4 mum only had to provide me with a packet of pencils and a new colouring book and I would sit there and fill the lot in. At 7 while my little brother got matchbox cars, I was quite happy with a set of unicorn shaped erasers. At 12 I made my own tiny envelopes and letter heads to send tiny letters to my tiny friends. And at 23 I’m reaching for a blank notebook I can barely afford and have no great need for.
I think I, and those like me see something that others see in things like children, race cars and Ikea. We have experienced it, the magic of a design so comfortable on the paper it was created on, it may as well have always been that way. Or a piece so perfectly written that even your messy handwriting can’t detract from it and may even enhance it’s charm.
Its about potential. All those empty sheets of paper, all those unused pens full of virginal ink, all that potential to create something great.
We’ve felt the joy of those materials, those humble little pens, help us create something we feel is great. And that is a great joy, one that urges us into art stores, lifts our hands and compels us to reach for things we don’t need and can barely afford but in which we see so much potential.