How do I manage to do it time, after time, after time? Here I am again running rings round myself in order to try and catch up with everything that needs to be prepared for this week. Actually, I know why it's happened this time. I was involved last week in the appointment of a very senior academic position (which I would love to gossip about, but to do so would definitely be unprofessional) and I underestimated just how much time and energy it was going to take. So, here I am battling away to finish a lecture on the relationship between The Taming of the Shrew and The Taming of a Shrew and read David Nicholls' novel, One Day, both of which I need for meetings on Wednesday.
Fortunately, the Nicholls is hardly the most demanding of works, in fact I'm not certain how we are going to sustain an hour and a half's discussion on it. It's taking time, but not much brain power. And, every now and again it makes me smile in recognition of something that strikes a chord in me, like this.
[Emma] drinks pints of coffee and writes little observations and ideas for stories with her best fountain pen on the linen-white pages of expensive notebooks. Sometimes, when it is going badly, she wonders if what she believes to be a love of the written word is really just a fetish for stationery. The true writer, the born writer, will scribble words on scraps of litter, the back of a bus ticket, the wall of a cell. Emma is lost on anything less than 120gsm.
If there is such a thing as a fetish for stationery then I definitely share it. I love the feel of a clean sheet of paper that has still to be marked in anyway. I can get tingles up and down the back of my spine just remembering the thrill of having a new exercise book at school, a book that has, as yet, not even been sullied by so much as a ruled margin. Friends buy me notebooks as presents because they know I will go all gooey-eyed and drool my incoherent thanks as I imagine all the world shattering observations I will record in them. I don't, any longer, hanker after the 'best fountain pen' because I learned a long time ago that the surest way to defile a beautiful sheet of paper was to turn me loose anywhere near it with real ink. But it does have to be a very particular make of biro and always, always a fine nib and black ink.
And, do you know what? I reckon I'm not alone in the blogging world in sharing Emma's fetish. I suspect that there are a lot of closet stationery obsessives out there right now. Have the courage to come out and admit your addiction and we can form a blogging branch of stationery fetishers anonymous. Just as long as no one ever really tries to wean me away from my notebooks, pens and rulers that is. This is a fetish I'm actually happy to claim as my own.