I’ve had a long love affair with pens, paper, and books in particular.
Ever since I can remember I have been surrounded by paper in many forms. My home is filled with books – many of which I have read a number of times and even more that I haven’t got around to reading yet. Nevertheless I will still buy new books because I plan to get to them all at some stage, and because I like to look at them, to touch them, to be enveloped by the quality of the paper, the sound of the pages as they turn in my hand, the image of the different fonts on the page, and yes, the smell and intense sensual experience of older books.
Associated with my love of paper is my adoration of pens and other writing implements. I have a vast collection of both. They go together like hugs and kisses.
I have been known to swoon over the texture, weight and colour of paper and to wax lyrical on the smoothness of a certain fountain pen as it flows across the page in my hand. But love is like that, it’s unique to the person experiencing it and from the first flush of adoration it creates a lasting impression on the heart.
I still own books from my childhood. A few of them are now fragile but they will never be discarded for newer versions of the same text. I don’t need to say all the reasons why this is the case, suffice it to say that nothing can replace the first love. That’s a truth as old as time. My books have aged with me, and when I go back to them – although their words haven’t changed – I learn different things each time I visit their pages. Like lovers we fit together more comfortably as time moves us down the road of life.
Each book I have has its own story of creation from imagination to physical manifestation in my hand, and all the books I have are part of my life story. They have helped to shaped me into who I am today, some of them have affected me before I have read a whole chapter inside the covers that I hold in my hand. The words inside each book, the words on the carefully selected paper, the cover and binding, all these things add up to the physical weight of the volume that I have made part of my life’s journey; yet the particular arrangement of words on each page has an intangible weight that has the immense power to alter my whole way of being in the world, for with the consumption of each word I am changed.
Love does that, it changes a person.
Paper, books, and writing by hand are powerful lovers who have been faithful to me since I first met them.
I must admit that I occasionally have a dalliance with a keyboard or two, but I always return to my first solid loves who ignore my fleeting interests in the electronic imposters that flit in and out of my life. Books are faithful, they will allow you to pick them up where you left them and continue the intimate journey without personal censure or even a glance of disappointment.
The combination of paper and ink to form a book has a sense of being more permanent and faithful than an electronic version of the same information. As an information junkie it may seem strange to hear me say that I feel I can trust the physicality of paper forms more readily than I do the electronic information, but I’m sure you know that you also would rather a physical hug and kiss than an emoticon in a text message – that’s what books give: always more than you’d imagined, and they don’t hold back or leave their message open to misinterpretation. Everything they have to say is there, in front of you. Always available.
Birthday cards, letters in a lovers’ handwriting, certificates, ticket stubs and many other pieces of printed material appear in our lives and become keys to memories that can transport us with the merest touch.
Paper has the power to elicit emotions.
Think of a message in a bottle, a note tied to a balloon, a post card, or any scrap of paper with word-shaped images of the soul on them, and you’ll begin to remember, to understand the depth my love affair with paper.
I feel emotional when connected to paper, and I’m not ashamed to admit that when surrounded by books that I am in a blissful state.
Yes, paper, I love you. Thank you for being a constant in my life from childhood to this time. I am excited because I know we have so much more to share and experience together. You always reveal more than I could ever anticipate – even from myself. Thank you for making yourself open and available to my thoughtful meanderings and questions. You have helped me to find myself, I wouldn’t be who I am today without you.
I truly adore and am always enamoured by you,