Nope, you can’t have everything (and that means everyone)

The question of electricity (and where it comes from) has been much on the minds of South Africans lately.

Ongoing entrenched problems at the nation’s power utility mean we suffer from “loadshedding” – rotational power cuts, aimed at preventing the national grid from collapse. (There’s a good explainer here).

The latest round of these power cuts happened at around the same time as sustained international news coverage of COP26 and the climate crisis.
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The simple joys of stationery

Last weekend, I bought a little notebook.

A6, black, 192 pages, cream paper, quadrille.

I was killing an hour while waiting for a teen school event to finish, and felt I could retire to a coffee shop and spend the time dreaming up topics for future blog posts. (Obligatory Covid-19 disclaimer: the coffee shop observes all protocols, I wore my mask, I sanitised my hands.)

So I wandered into a stationery shop and purchased the aforesaid notebook, after hovering over lined versions. Something about quadrille just seemed right for a grey Saturday morning.

notebook and pen

The notebook, the pen, the coffee.

When I had finished the coffee, and put my mask back on, I stowed the notebook in my handbag.

Dear reader, this will shock you: Only at that point did I notice that I already had a notebook, with matching pen. Kept in my bag for the very purpose of opportunistic note-taking.

My name is Renee and I am a stationery addict.

New possibilities

I buy a ruinously expensive Moleskine planner every year because I like the feel of the paper.

I use only a particular range of Bic pen, in a particular shade of purple. It also comes in pink and blue, which can be used for highlighting different aspects of lists. (I am addicted to those too).

I have piles of unused and half-used notebooks. All of them, one day, will be useful, I just know it.

As addictions go, this one is relatively harmless. No one else if affected if I mindlessly buy yet another notebook.

But it is interesting to try to understand the source of it. What is it about the clean crisp pages of a new notebook that is so entrancing?

For me, its about hope, about a sense of new possibilities. And an anchor to reality: pen and paper tie us to the generations of people who have used them to navigate the world. In a world of online nastiness and IRL fear and uncertainty, there’s something consoling about the solidity of a new notebook.

I give you stationery, a simple pleasure in a complicated world.

Contact me if you would like to chat about how I can help with all your organisational or communication needs (coaching, editing, writing, social media).

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash