My guest today on Stationery Love is Yasmin Selena Butt.
Stationery is another form of Tartware
God, I love stationery! You are reading a post by a woman who has kept a page-a-day diary for twenty odd years. I have a high shelf exclusively devoted to housing them. Many a happy hour has been spent in Paperchases across the land, perusing notebooks, hand-made paper, fancy pens and all manner of accoutrements. I’ve even framed wrapping paper on my wall if I’ve loved it enough. Great stationery is like art to me, to be celebrated and revered. TK Maxx with its one-off notebooks, and artisan boutiques for lovers of all things paper, are positively dangerous to this here’s starving artist bank balance.
Stationery like Tartware ( defn: make-up, perfume & face/bodycare to the uninitiated) has been a source of comfort and artistic succour for many years. It all has deliberate purpose, I bought the gold and silver gel ink pens for the personalisation and signing of my debut novel, Gunshot Glitter, well over a year before the paperbacks were printed. I knew exactly how I was going to do it. Beautiful pens and decorative sellotape can make a reader’s experience really special. There’s a lot to be said for presentation.
Each room in the Castle has bespoke, decorated jars filled with pens and pencils. I used to buy spiced aubergines from a shop in Acton called Mockbar. I swear I was addicted to them! Then, to my dismay, the store closed down. I’ve been in many an Eastern European store seeking them but had no joy; but, I held onto the gorgeous, curvaceous jars they came in, to paint, varnish and beautify them. I entered them in a recycling competition with Liberty department store and was thrilled when they won a prize. That was a good day. I’ve gifted them to friends too; the etched ones make excellent tealight holders. They’re spontaneous creations, never premeditated.
Many moons ago, I worked in Marketing and sourced promotions for my clients. One of my supplier contacts, a lovely girl called Katie, who loved reading Jill Mansell, discovered I was writing a novel and posted me a pen she’d come across because she thought it embodied me. And she got it right. I love bejewelled things and I love red.
In fact I’m typing this post in a siren-red summer dress with newly painted red nails in my local library; feeling a bit over-dressed, but why not? I don’t believe in saving things for a ‘special’ day, dressing up, cheers you up. But one thing I do believe, is that the right notebook for the right task – be it collating novel ideas, logging your wishes, sketching out the skeleton and crew of a story, sings out at you when you find it. It becomes part of the peripheral identity of the novel, it’s meant to be. All my ‘active’ ones reside in an orderly pile under my bed, all unique and easily identifiable.
I used a Jack Vettriano A4 spiralbound for the creative side of Gunshot Glitter, but a more compact book for the business side. The Vettriano is utterly battered now!
I have a stockpile of unused notebooks in different hues, weights and sizes, and I firmly believe they will all, in good time, inform me of their purpose. It might be years, but it will happen.
A friend I was shopping with saw me staring at it intently in Paperchase, trying to justify the price to myself. It was decorated in hearts and damask flock paper and strongly reminded me of the decor I’d envisaged in my imaginary burlesque club, Gunshot Glitter. The notebook was the last one on the shelf and this was the first time I’d ever seen it. ‘Bonus Christmas present?’ he suggested, putting it in his basket. I swear it made my day! My friends have now taken to gifting me notebooks, which is really sweet, I didn’t realise my passion for them had become so obvious until they started doing that.
I’ve recently got into buying rubbers and sharpeners too, when I visit museums, swish homes and art galleries. I love the fact they’re not only useful to me as a writer (I have a couple in every room) but that they’re also stamped with the name of the attraction, thus appealing to my sentimental streak.
Stationery is an extension of my fingers and thoughts, without it all the ideas, visuals and dialogue would be lost like tears in rain, to steal the words of Roy from ‘Bladerunner’, but it’s true. I always travel with a notebook and pencil, and on the odd occasion I’ve been caught out, have resorted to using the back of receipts and the ‘note’ function on my mobile. But it’s not the same. There’s something magical and organic that happens when my fingers meld ink on paper, and if you can pen it in something beautiful, to me that’s the icing on the cake.
Thank you for sharing with us Yasmin! Mouth watering 🙂
I love Yasmin’s creatively decorated jars, beats my old mugs and plant pots hands down!
Read the opening chapter of crime novel, Gunshot Glitter HERE
Buy GUNSHOT GLITTER in Limited Edition paperback priced at £9.99 from GunshotGlitter2012@yahoo.co.uk
Gunshot Glitter on Goodreads
Follow Yasmin on Twitter @Yasminselena
Find out more about her here: http://yasminselenabutt.wordpress.com/