Stationary – Erm, I mean Stationery problem
Hi, My name is Erin and I have a stationery problem. In the next seven months I will struggle with it more than I do the other five months of the year. If you too have this problem you know what I mean. The new journals are out.
The problem is … I can’t keep a journal. Really, I can’t. I have tried for years, for tens of years. But still, they come out in the stores and are pretty and crisp and new and …. so full of potential that they are almost seductive. I have often bought them and brought them home and filled them with my bad hand writing for a month or two until I get sick of looking at my chicken scrawl and crossed out words that I can’t spell correctly on the first try. I flip through to the next blank page pausing to read previous entries where what I wanted to say didn’t come out the way I wanted to say it. And I end up feel disappointed in myself and quit using them.
I am not a writer. I don’t know how I have managed to keep this blog going this long. I honestly don’t know why you read it. The blogs I read each morning are lovely and articulate and full of beautiful pictures and I can’t replicate any of that. I had never owned a camera until T bought me one when I was 28 and taking pictures of things isn’t second nature to me yet. Even when I see… well, yesterday Toddler girl was playing in a bucket full of rain and the sun was at the right angle to just coat the edges of her silhouette with gold and I was shocked by how beautiful she looked in that moment. I sat there in awe of how wonderful the afternoon was and didn’t even consider that I should go in the house and get the (or any) camera.
And this morning I am writing about it and had to stop to look up how to spell “silhouette.” That sort of thing really breaks your concentration. No matter what anyone says, if you don’t know how to spell a word then looking it up in a dictionary is HARD. There are 224 words in the apple dictionary that start with “sil” plus if you guess wrong and start by looking for “sill” you are totally screwed.
Add to the frustration that anytime I reach for the top row of letters my brace hits the option key, the apple key, the space bar or the mouse pad and entries these days take twice as normal. At least on a computer it will spot the obvious mistakes and help you correct them and you can easily take out whole sections that sound wrong.
BUT: It isn’t the same as shopping for a new journal, as turning the pages, as looking at the blank page waiting to be filled up, of choosing which pen to use. It just isn’t as tactile or at least it isn’t tactile in the same way. I can’t just throw my laptop in my purse to jot down things as I notice them. I have an iPod, but I can’t type on that worth beans and it will be a long time before all the renos are done and paid for and we can afford to upgrade*. ($700 to fix the back gate and replace the rotten 4 feet of fence in the front yard)
I have thought about my love of stationery in terms of budget and I can’t say it is just a shopping thrill. I am a big fan of Gail Vaz Oxlade and I think I am a mindful shopper. I don’t have wardrobes full of clothes. In fact I have three uniforms for work out of the house and my stay at home mom uniform consists entirely three pairs of jeans in various states of warn out and a selection of umm… maybe a dozen t-shirts. I don’t spend money on clothes for myself very often. Poor toddler girl gets 75% of her clothing at the local second hand shop. Mostly, she grows out before they wear out. My point is: I am not one of those hobby shoppers. Lately, I have been spending some money getting those two bikes fixed up but that is self limiting. Once they are fixed up, I won’t have to do it again.
Shopping for bike parts doesn’t cheer me the way that shopping for stationery does. And art supplies! Even stuff that I would never use… I love window shopping in art stores. I really think it is all that potential creativity hidden inside the materials waiting for the right person to let it out.
But I am not a writer or an artist and I would never be able to let those beautiful things live up to their potential. So I will limit myself to window shopping and keep spilling my guts on my blog. And I will try to take some pictures so that Toddler girl has something to look back on.
(Insert iPad lust here)