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The Little Things

Submitted By: Michelle Tang

There are some stationery-obsessed people who are literally addicted to matching stationery–notebooks, pencil, pens. They just can’t help it. They walk into stores like Hilltops or Morning Glory, and their desire overcomes them. Their mind is overtaken with thoughts of matching stationery sets.

Here’s how you tell if you’re addicted. You love the fresh smell of new paper and it refreshes your mind. You love writing those small neat little lists. You forget the time whenever you look at aisles of notebooks and journals. You slightly get into a nervous wreck when you’re asked to share a pen or pencil. You always have a ever growing pile of half or unused notebooks, all meant for a different purpose you never carry out. And that first word in a clean notebook? Always frightening.

What is the reason for this little obsession of ours? Is it the smell or look of ‘clean?’ Is it that dark secret deep down that you’re a nerd?

I know these questions because I have asked them myself before. I happen to be one of those stationery-obsessed people. But for me, it is no longer something I am ashamed of; instead, it gives me two big and tempting promises. The first is that it unleashes your best creativity. That perfect pen and pristine notebook offers limitless possibilities. It is the instrument of what authors use to create their music. If your words are as beautiful as the creamy paper and ink you use, it’ll release the brilliant and bold ideas in your mind.

The next promise is the satisfying relief or organisation. I have felt the feeling of studying for a test. The first day I come home and make a study guide; full of different color coded things and bookmarked sections, each bookmark, of course, is designer. Of course I don’t know everything yet, but it is reassuring to know where it all is.

Now, of course, the need for stationery is decreasing very quickly. We are all on our phones now and even using virtual notes. But people use pretty looking business cards and neat little folders. After all, the thought of stationery is very satisfying. A notebook or journal helps you feel as if you are making your mark of the day literally, because you can actually feel what you are doing. Physically. It gives texture into the colorless lives of screens and electronic devices. When people see an inspirational quote on the internet, they print it out. They like the solid, concrete feeling of actual paper. Maybe I am making stationery seem far more grandiose than it is, and two seconds ago, I didn’t know what grandiose meant. I had to search it up on a lifeless screen.

But hey, I’ll write that definition down somewhere in my twenty-four dollar Moleskine notebook. Maybe I’ll need it someday.

About Timothy Lee

Timothy Lee is a senior at Monta Vista High School. He moved back to the States in 2012 after living in Beijing, China for two years, and currently lives in Cupertino, California. This cross-culture experience has enabled him to encounter a vast variety of environments in which part of his writings are based on. He is also currently an officer in HEARTS, a nonprofit organization, and a VP at Silicon Valley DECA. He also has a passion in web design, computer science, badminton, and writing.

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