It’s bad enough trying to pass a book shop or a book stall at a market when you’re trying to avoid buying more books, without the added pressure of avoiding stationery. I love book shops. I love the smell and the feel and the look of books. They don’t even have to be new, to be honest. If I see a market stall selling second hand books I’m straight in there. I got a bargain at the market in Chesterfield town centre during the switch-on of the Christmas lights. When everyone else was looking the other way, I noticed an immaculate copy of a biography of Matt Smith just sitting there, looking at me. It was a hardback with a clean and complete cover, and it was fifty pence. Fifty pence! It didn’t stay sitting on the market stall for long, I can tell you that much!
My children learnt many, many years ago, that when we are out and about and a book shop looms into view, I will be lost to them entirely unless they take drastic action. Hence, I can guarantee that when I’m a few feet away from Waterstones or WH Smith or any other book shop in the area, my arm will be firmly grabbed and I will be steered well away, with the words, ‘Oh no you don’t, Mother!’ ringing in my ears.
The trouble is, it’s not just books I need to avoid. It’s stationery, too. I love it. Scrapbooks, journals, diaries, post-its, planners, and note books. Note books…Oh, I’m drifting away again. My sister once bought me an absolutely beautiful Nemesis Now note book. It had a slate cover with a fairy sitting on a crescent moon on the front and a gorgeous red rose on the back. There was even a matching pen. It’s the best present she’s ever bought me, and to be fair to her, she’s bought me some lovely things over the years. I still have it, because it’s far too precious to write in! You can see it in the bottom centre of the photograph.
Recently I discovered Paperchase. I know, I know, it’s been around forever and just about everybody seems to have heard of it but me. I was in Beverley, having met up with my pals Julie and Alex, and I was wandering down the street on my way to meet my husband to go home, when out of the corner of my eye, I glimpsed it…
Obviously, I was lost. It’s hard enough in Beverley, which in one small area has the most fantastic second hand book shop, an Oxfam book shop, two discount book shops, a WH Smith book shop and now Paperchase. And that’s just in the tiny area I was in. Goodness knows what else I’d discover if I ventured further afield. I’d been in all the other shops, but never Paperchase, but the display in the window was too much to resist, so in I went.
Oh my! Have you been in there? Have you seen the gorgeous hand-stitched journals? The magnetic closing diaries? The beautiful scrapbooks? I stood there, stroking the covers and sighing, and then I thought I must be getting some very odd looks. But when I looked round, everyone else seemed to be stroking covers and sighing, too. The assistants just smiled and nodded, as if we were fully expected to behave in such a fashion and I began to wonder if the air was drugged. But no – the simple truth is, a lot of people have Obsessive Stationery Purchasing Disorder. My fellow Write Romantics have it, too. They totally understand that, when I wander into a stationery store, I may as well have stepped into the wardrobe and found Narnia, because I sure won’t be coming out of there any time soon. Julie actually bought me a lovely hand-stitched note book with a typewriter on the front (bottom left of the picture) when I found out There Must Be An Angel was going to published. She also got me some lovely coloured gel pens. I love writing with them.
My next purchase will be a Paperchase scrapbook so that I can keep all my Write Romantic news and clips in there. We’ve featured in Romance Matters (the Romantic Novelists Association magazine) and Writing Magazine so far. I definitely want to keep all those cuttings and hopefully add to them.
I foresee a steady stream of stationery purchases ahead over the coming years. It’s inevitable when you have this disorder. I’m not sure if there’s any cure. But you know what? Even if there is, I think this is one condition I’d rather like to keep.
Have a great day xx