For World Stationery Day, we asked one of our wonderful readers to tell us what stationery means to her…
When I walk into a stationery shop I feel safe. It’s a weird feeling to describe but being surrounded by notebooks, pens, paper, postcards (photo albums and other weird stuff they sell these days) is a bit like a security blanket for me. I guess it’s because anyone can buy stationery – it doesn’t matter what size you are, what colour your skin is or even how tall you are. Stationery is a wonderful equalizer – whether you’re buying some sort of occasion card, or looking for a new ‘all the time’ pen.
Ever since I was little I associate stationery with new beginnings and ‘getting ready’ obviously in the back to school rush. I loved getting new sets of stuff, files, folders, pencil-cases the lot! And as I’ve got older, I’ve developed a fondness for certain brands (Uniball Signo being my favourite) because I like the way ink flows when I write. I know! I’ve had the same fountain pen for about 14 years. Although, I do often think that one day I’ll treat myself to a rather lovely Mont Blanc (one day :p)
I cheated on this bad-boy for a while with gel-ink pens through GCSEs and A Levels and my BA but then for both my Masters I found my way back to my fountain pen. I’ve made the switch from blue ink to black ink and now I’ve started experimenting with coloured ink (WOO!) – There’s an old Nescafé jar filled with all my ink cartridges. And notebooks filled with my slanty writing that occurs as a result of this wonderful pen. And it’s still going strong – although finding multipacks of ink cartridges aren’t as easy as it used to be.
Ok so I have all these pens, and felt-tips, crayons and sharpie (I love a good sharpie), what do I do with them all?
Well, everything! When I study – I usually carry a small pencil case with bits from the stationery box (highlighter, pencil, rubber, felt-tip, fountain pen, and ruler) just because you never know when you might have a spare 30 mins to do a bit of reading. Annnnd I write a lot of letters (I’ve also received lots too!)
I lived abroad for a good 18 months and went travelling after that, and while email is a great way to stay in touch, I learnt that my closest friends loved receiving letters and postcards.
So that’s what I started to do. I would visit a new city/country and buy a whole bunch of postcards or cards and send them off. I have a few friends who have postcards from every country I’ve visited in the last 9 years (it’s a fair amount). I guess that I’d like to think that one day, when we’re all dead that the these postcards will be preserved and someone in the way off future will read them and get an idea of what life was like.
And writing letters is a dying art, buying the writing paper – something you know the other person will like and then filling it with information. I like to write long letters or at least ones I know will require sitting down and a glass of wine and/or tea at the other end.
I guess when you live somewhere without electricity/TV/internet these things become really important. It’s something that I try and keep going in my relationship – I make sure that my boyfriend and I write notes or cards to each other, either just because or on special occasions. Because I’m not overly good with the emotional stuff – and WhatsApp is only good for so much – that when I write with my favourite pen it’s like all of that just flows out of me.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m a bit of a stationery fiend. But you know what? I’m ok with that. My hobby makes other people happy, it provides with a small amount of creative relief and most of all? Anyone can do it!
So find your most favourite pen (that really swish biro, that really nice gel ink that makes your writing really neat) and write a note to someone that you love, and tell them why you love them. Honestly, it’s the cheapest way to make someone happy 🙂
Natasha Chowdory is a librarian at a big tech company in Reading. It means that she gets to talk about Star Wars and YA books at work and come home and watch the latest episode of Arrow/Flash/Legends/The Magicians.
She loves travelling, going on adventures, trying new exercises and generally going out of her comfort zone. You can find her on Twitter as @LibraryTasha and on Instagram as @natashaschowdory where she often posts pictures of food, exercise and the newest additions to her postcard collection.