February 22, 2006

A little creative writing...

I just had to go to the supply office on my floor for a new notebook. It reminded me of my second post that I ever wrote on my own blog. I actually worked pretty hard on it, working it out on paper first, and everything.

In light of my not having a digital camera (yet) to record my crafty projects (namely, scrapbooks and cards)...I thought I would share my post here.

This is from August 13, 2005

I Love Office Supplies

I started a blog yesterday, so I thought it would be appropriate to have a notebook to jot some thoughts down in. That way, I can hopefully have some semblance of order as I write my daily…or, let’s be honest, if I am lucky, bi-weekly…musings.

I knew the exact notebook I wanted for this task; a National Brand, Narrow Ruled, Single Subject notebook with 80 sheets. Not just any sheets… “Eye Eases” sheets. The sheets are a soft creamy-yellow color with pale green lines; the cover is sturdy tan cardboard. The notebook is a small and artistic 8¼ x 7” and it fits perfectly into the tote bag that I take to work with me. Opening the notebook to its first crisp, cool page is like standing at the beginning of great story and having no idea where it will go. Eighty smooth, buttery invites to possibility. I really love this notebook.

Of course, the only way to get this notebook…if you live my life…is to hope that the office supply lady doesn’t remember that you already have four of these when you enter her office and ask to have another. Thankfully, she was nowhere to be seen when I happened upon the office supply space she calls home. While I was standing there pilfering the perfect notebook, I was overtaken by a feeling of pure joy racing through my veins. Not just the joy of obtaining my 5th perfect notebook, but the joy that comes from standing in a room where the pens are lined up neatly in rows, the erasers are void of any marks and the reams of paper are still tightly arranged in impenetrable blocks. I drank in the fresh scent of ink and paper and let out a huge sigh. The kind of sigh that comes from knowing you have traveled through many twisting paths to get to where you are now, and now you feel safe.

This love for paper products and writing implements is not a new one for me. School supply shopping was my first real taste of ecstasy. Heading out to the local K-Mart to get multi-colored folders while begging for a Trapper-keeper (that I never got because they are too expensive) seemed a right of passage to every coming grade. And yet, my insanity goes back even further to when I got my very first box of crayons. I actually mourned every single crayon in the box of 64 as I ended its perfection with one single swipe of color. It wasn’t until I was in college that I discovered that I could have two boxes of crayons, one for using and one for keeping perfect.

All of this reminds me of Emma Mae’s monologue, “McDonalds”, in Jane Martin's collection “Talking With”. Emma Mae, who is homeless, starts out saying “If I had one wish in my life, why I’d like to live in McDonalds”. She continues to talk about everything from how nice the kids are who work there to seeing a man healed by a Big Mac. But she also takes time in her monologue to let us in on her secret. She loves McDonalds because of the plastic. Because no matter what happens, no matter how long the McDonalds has been there or how many shifts of nice kids have come and gone, the plastic trays are always perfect; unscratched and unfaded; the same brilliant color as when they first were made.

So, does the joy I get from standing in room full of crisp, new office supplies, the excitement I feel just thinking of my favorite notebook and the need I have for crayons to be lined up and unmarred, really define me as a person who only wants perfection out of life? If given the option, would I keep another life on the side, perfect and unused? I’d like to think no. I have learned enough to understand the boredom of perfection and that the scars we gain from life can only embellish the brilliant colors we were born with.

So I am going to continue to sweep large arcs of color with my crayons and I’m going to fill up my notebook. And even if I break a tip, or bend a page along the way, I am going to celebrate the beauty and the individuality that those marks define in me. Besides, if I need to, I can always stop in to visit the office supply lady and get notebook #6.


Farm Wife said...

How did you know? Every August, after they put away the pool toys and Fourth of July decorations, they set up the school supplies. I can stand among them for hours. Baby Girl needed nothing but a back pack this year and I nearly cried. I wanted crayons,fat pencils, saftey scissors, note books, folders, a jar of paste, big pink erasers, and a sparkly box to house it all in. Her Kindergarten teacher has already sent home a supply list for next year. Can I hold off until August to buy them? I doubt it. Can I buy two of everything so we can keep some at home? Definietly!
You captured it all perfectly. It reminded me of the line in You've Got Mail when Tom Hanks writes about sending her a bunch of freshly sharpend pencils.

Cate said...

Thank you Girl. I realized long ago that I was happier with a clean, soft colored legal pad with college rule lines than most girls were with diamonds. Glad to know I'm not alone!

madretz said...

Splendidly written!

In a past life, I held the key to the office supply room. I loved being in charge of it, ordering staples, pens, legal pads, copy paper, manila folders. Even though that job was over 15 years ago, I still have interoffice envelopes stashed away in my private collection.

And describing your coveted notebook as "Eighty smooth, buttery invites to possibility". That, to a paper fiend, is pure, delicious, poetry.

phinner said...

How eloquently written!!! Makes me want to run right down to the local office supply store and see, smell, touch, and more importantly BUY, so I have more to add to my collection.

You also made me recall *my* favorite box of 64 crayon memory!

Thanks for your words!

Girl said...

Thank you, all for your kind words. I really appreciate it. I have never in my life fancied myself a writer, but I have always been a creative person. I have been having a lot of fun writing my 'Day-in-the-life" stories on my blog every Tuesday. Some day I may go back and edit them and then maybe I will send them out. Who knows.

But sharing this one with you was really fun.


zann said...

I'm a little late - but I really enjoyed it too. Not only was it well written but it introduced me to another piece of literature that I may well have never heard of without reading it (the Jane Martin collection).

I too am an office supplie lover. I actually have clipping from OfficeMax sales papers paperclipped together as a little "wish list" on my desk. I can never resist a box of fresh colored pencils even though I rarely use them their shapness just inspires me to employ them. And you never get that same "new" sharpness again no matter how much you sharpen them. I use to work at OM once upon a time and it was like Christmas everytime I got to stock the shelves. So much fun to organize them onto little racks and smell that "fresh" smell as you go.

Very good choice of subject. Something many of us can easily relate to.