Most of the editors I know these days do the vast majority of their work electronically. But as I was looking through the Sunday advertising inserts — it’s back-to-school time and the ads were full of supplies — I realized that many editors I know have a fondness bordering on obsession for notebooks, pens, clips, sticky notes, index cards and the like.
Instead of awaiting fashion catalogs in the mail, we get giddy when the latest Levenger catalog arrives (no, I don’t get paid for mentioning it). We stroll the aisles of the big-box stores looking not at clothes or TVs, but at rows of writing implements and blank pages to use them on. We still send paper cards and mail letters on real stationery from time to time.
I could speculate that because so much work now is on-screen, the permanence and physicality of pen and paper has a stronger pull.
But I’m betting that those of us who love office supplies and paper now were children who loved going back school, because it meant we got pristine notebooks and brand-new pens, fresh boxes of crayons and unsharpened pencils, and unsullied binders and bags to organize them all in.
And I’m betting at least some of us are picking up a few things from the back-to-school section this month — you can never have too many notebooks.