For Christmas one year, when I was 9 or 10, or maybe 11 or 12, my aunt and uncle gave me a packet of stationery. They always gave unique, interesting gifts, and I remember how that packet of heavy-weight ivory paper, embroidered on the edges with cornflower blue flowers, filled me with promise: empty paper, special paper. It had so much potential.
I wrote letters on that stationery: letters to my Grandma on St. Simon’s Island, letters home to my mom and dad from Girl Scout camp. I loved that stationery. My own smooth paper with envelopes to match. Each time I pulled it out and ran my hand across it, I delighted in its prettiness. Its existance, and that it belonged to me, both inspired and encouraged me to write. It gave me a reason to get out a pen and ink words on paper.
I still prefer to write in ink. My 1o minute writes would turn to blog posts much more quickly if I typed directly into the WordPress app on my desktop. But like vinyl records, I love the physical objects of paper and pen, my thoughts in ink, undeletable, scratched in my handwriting, on a page. Personal thoughts flow more easily with a pen in my hand.
I would love to have stationery again. I use cheap composition books for my free writes, which serve their purpose fine. I coudn’t afford expensive paper for writing practice; we’d go broke.
But when I want to send a card or a letter, I am always blocked by the paper I have to write on. I don’t want to write on an ugly piece of ordinary, bleached white printer paper. So I end up not sending notes, or if I do, the process makes me sad.
Sometimes we receive pretty notes from Brian’s grandma, handwritten in ink on stationery. They feel warm and alive, and her handwriting reminds me of her voice.
The special paper, decorated with her thoughts, fills me up.
For the month of April, I will publish a 10-minute free write each day. Minimal editing. No story. Just thoughts spilling onto the page. Trying to get back into the writing habit.