Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Addicted to School Supplies

I'm a menace this time of year. It's nearly impossible for me to pass up twenty-five cent notebooks or massive multipacks of pens. I gaze at new three-ring binders and marvel and the latest models and colors as if they were Italian automobiles.

For all the technology I have access to, from speech to text software and digital mind maps I still desire the  tangible paper and ink. This is why traditional books won't vanish completely. Lot's of people who have money to spend still like tactile things.

Occasionally I wonder if this makes me less productive. This particular post is a stream of conscious, but some I've hand written on scrap paper, dictated and transcribed then edited and imported. That's a lot of steps...for what? This isn't meant to be lasting art. I never suspect a reader is thinking, "what was his motivation for that sentence structure."

Could it be I feel more productive when I'm surrounded by paper? There's evidence of my imprint all over my office. In messy notebooks and pristine journals, on sticky notes and envelopes and in crumpled balls in the wastebasket. All of it feels more satisfying there rather than a glowing desktop that I shut down each day. It's more satisfying for me to empty real trash filled with real bad writing than clicking a button on my virtual screen (also filled with poor writing). When I empty real trash, it's almost meditative. I reflect for a moment on those past struggles.

I think it's liberating to be able to throw things out. Which makes me now flash to my childhood and an episode of Yogi Bear and Friends when they are flying their ark over an island run by a guy who only uses things once and throws them away. Naturally he's the villain and pollution ensues. So it's not like I don't have a little twinge of guilt when I toss barely used pages away. But come on, it's motivating to me to have a stack of spiral notebooks or fancy composition books accessible that I can fill with different ideas, topics, stories, business plans, lists and what have you. They sit there at the corner of my desk imploring me to fill them, like a frosted glass in the freezer on a hot day begs for a cold drink.

It's damn hot where I am right now, and I suddenly want a cold drink ... and more notebooks.