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Saturday, 07 November 2015 03:38

A Writer's Confession - My Love Affair With Paper

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Some of my journals and notebooks Some of my journals and notebooks

I’m a stationery addict and I’ve gone three weeks without buying a notebook.

Yes, I confess, I love paper in all its forms. I can’t go into an office shop without picking up some new notebook or pad. And at back-to-school time when all the new stationery comes out in shops I’m in absolute heaven!

This love carries over to my travelling as well. Whenever I visit a new place I scour the gift shops for quirky journals and notebooks to bring home. Like souvenirs, each is a reminder of the time and place I bought it – the people I was with, the good times we had – even though I might not write in it until years later.

My only guilt in this obsession is that I love trees as much as paper. For this reason wherever possible I seek out stationery made from recyled materials. And as luck would have it, those wonderful creations with handmade paper, some even made from scraps of cloth, are among the loveliest to write in.

Each type of paper has different qualities and works best with a particular pen I find. A fine-tipped or ball point pen tends to scratch and tear handmade paper. But I love how the ink from a roller ball gel pen soaks into those same felty leaves. Almost like painting the words on the page instead of writing them.

When freewriting, where speed is a factor, nothing beats a gel pen. Though the ink tends to smudge, it glides on so fast and effortlessly my hand never tires.

In my journals with real paper pages I love how a good felt-tipped pen creates such clean neat lettering. (Something we Virgos always find satisfying.) But I don’t like paper with a glossy sheen as it tends to repel the ink, whatever type of pen you use.

As much as I enjoy typing (a sensation akin to playing piano), nothing beats the feel of writing by hand. And perhaps, as Natalie Goldberg says in Writing Down the Bones, we access different parts of ourselves when we write by hand than when using a keyboard.

As obsessions go, I don’t feel too guilty about my love affair with paper. After all, a craftsman should always love their tools.

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