Most of my writing these days is done via email or via notes to myself on Word or Notebook. Even my to-do lists are online, thanks to Gmail’s Tasks list option. On the rare occasion I do have to write something down, say when I’m dashing off a quick note to myself regarding a plot point or something I have to fix on a video, I have two containers of pens on my desk that I turn to. One’s a printed tin that came filled with Christmas cookies from one of the boys’ school fundraisers. The other one is a plastic multi-purpose holder that has a pen holder, along with several slots for post-it notes and stamps, etc. Both are overflowing with various pens, pencils, markers, highlighters, etc. Naturally enough, whenever I REALLY need a pen – like when I’m on the phone and have to write something down in a hurry – the pen decides to run out of ink.
I’ve gathered a few pens from the various conferences I’ve attended; Gizmo Guy also has a stash from the company he used to work for since they gave them out to their clients. They’re okay in a pinch, though the straight pens usually give uneven coverage. But when it comes to signing anything special or personal – my two contracts, for instance, or even yesterday, when I was writing up an envelope for Natasha who responded to yesterday’s post about my new Personal Protection bookmarks, I use a very special pen.
It’s part of a set Gizmo Guy gave me a few years back (I rarely use the pencil. The reason he bought me the set is the thing in the middle which can be inserted in the pencil and used as a stylus for PDAs – which I no longer use.) But that pen? I treasure it. I get into panics when I can’t find it. I love the feel of the brushed gold in my fingers, the squishiness of the grip that molds to my fingers while I’m writing. (What a fantastic invention) I love how the ink smoothly rolls from the ball at the tip when I’m writing, something cheap ball points never satisfactorily manage. There’s a weight to it too, so it feels like whatever I’m writing has substance, whether it does or not. When I hold it, I try to slow my writing down, make those perfect Os and Rs and Bs that I spent hours perfecting in grade school. My Ls take on an extra flourish.
I know my sons both learned cursive writing in school, but I don’t think they ever spent the time, the energy, that people of my generation (boy this really makes me feel old) writing lines and lines of each letter, filling pages and pages of a notebook specifically dedicated to penmanship. I remember having lessons even in grade 7 to improve our handwriting. I also remember moving from up near Ottawa in grade 2 and being surprised to discover that my new school expected us to write our letters differently than they did at my old school.
Now I’ll never give up my computer for writing my manuscripts. I can type almost 100 words a minute, there’s no way I can write as fast as I can type. And my brain often outstrips my fingers even when they’re typing. But still, there’s nothing quite like receiving a note someone’s taken the time to write out by hand. It’s an unspoken “You’re important enough to me to take the time to stop for a moment and write it instead of firing off an email.”
Even better is when it’s on special paper. This stationery set was sent to me by a friend who lives in England. The case is done in a creamy peach satin with lovely ribbon pansies that I’m wondering may have been hand-stitched as someone’s craft. But the paper inside? Heavily embossed violets and pansies on smooth thick paper that screams class. The whole thing sings “this note is special”. I guard them like gold, choosing to use one on only very special occasions. Because try as I might, I cannot find anything around here as beautiful. Usually the only notepaper I can find is the mass produced packages at Staples. I guess I’m old fashioned, but I love that personal touch, especially when it’s on such gorgeous paper.
What about you? Do you hand-write notes anymore? Do you have a stash of special stationery? Or use a particular pen for important documents? Or is it a lost art?