Sign me up for SAA - Stationery Addicts Anonymous

Ever since I first started learning how to write as a kid, I’ve been addicted to stationery. For those who think I’m talking about staying still, stationery is the correct way to spell the term used to describe writing materials such as paper/pens/pencils. I can thank both my late grandmother on my father’s side, and my late grandfather on my mother’s side for this addiction.

My grandmother, Bessie Winterberg, was an author. I grew up reading her books and writing on paper while she typed away, played board games with my brother, or while simply watching wheel of fortune and the price is right on TV. Unlike my brother, I was never much for games, or imaginative pretend activities. I have always preferred practical skills and logical reasoning for doing something. My brother would pretend to be the general of an army of G.I. Joe action figures cough dolls cough, while I drew pictures and practiced writing sentences. While I didn’t learn much in the way of writing properly from my grandmother, she did foster a love for writing my thoughts down.

My grandfather, Lee Schenck, started working in the General Motors offices after retiring from the Army. He served in World War II and achieved a fairly high rank, I think he was a Sergent Major (but don’t quote me on that). He always had a fountain pen and ballpoint pen with stacks of notepads laying around. He was always reading and writing. I was in heaven every time we visited him because I had an endless supply of things to write with. He lived in Florida, and instead of playing around in the nice weather outside, I was inside writing away.

The things I would write down were very likely meaningless at the time. I was more or less just practicing penmanship. The funny thing is my handwriting still isn’t great regardless of how much practice I’ve put into improving it over the years.

I kind of collect pens. I try new pens out until I find one I really like, and then I use that pen till I get sick of it and want to try a new one. I have several fountain pens, ballpoint pens, gel pens, felt tip pens, etc.. sooo many pens. Then there’s pencils. While my pencil collection is much smaller, I’ve tried around 10 different “premium” mechanical pencils in the last couple years. And finally, notebooks. I have tried somewhere around 15 different types of notebooks on my quest to find the perfect one for me. Blank pages didn’t provide enough structure, my handwriting isn’t neat enough. Lined pages are too rigid, and annoying, especially wide ruled.. why on earth that exists escapes me. Grid paper is ok, but it also depends on how dark the lines are. If it’s a traditional graph paper that’s way too much, it has to be faint, and barely visible. DOT paper, now we’re talking! It gives just the right amount of structure but with a graceful freedom to venture out off the line.

In recent years I’ve turned to journaling as a way to keep track of my thoughts, and blogging to publish those thoughts out to the world. I don’t write down feelings or what most would think about when someone brings up a journal. I write more or less lists of ideas and tasks so I don’t forget something.

I’ve stumbled across a system called bullet journaling. The original form of this is what actually peaked my interest, not the creative version which has become popular with lifestyle influencers the past couple years. I’ve been playing around with it, and think a minimalist version of the bullet journal fits well with how I document my day. I’ll talk about this more after I have my first bullet journal set up, but it’s really a great system, and I highly recommend everyone check it out for themselves.

Needless to say, I’m a stationery nerd. Which is hilariously ironic considering I’m a software engineer. You would think that as someone who loves typing, I would hate handwriting. But I find they complement each other. Some things lend better to being typed, while others are better handwritten. My schedule is way better controlled by a software calendar, but my notes are better handwritten (unless it’s notes about specific code, then I use Evernote).

Anyone else addicted to stationery? Where my pen peeps at?

Jeremy

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