Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Stationery Stores

Does anyone else miss these?

Stationery stores are largely a part of the past. I went into a well known independent one in Calgary a week ago that has been in business over twenty-five years. I used to like to see what there was for hardbound and leather bound journals and other office paraphernalia. I used to have thoughts of writing in a nice journal with a fine pen or even having my own stationery on some nice paper. In the past I had entertained thoughts of being a writer or at least thoughts of writing. For various reasons I never got into the habit of writing for the sake of writing years ago. I also always wanted my handwriting to be a work of art. I am missing that particular gene.

Computers and the internet have changed so many things and not necessarily for the better. People lug tablets or laptops with them and write in coffee shops. In the past, and even now, I enjoyed taking my time in the aisles of stationery stores trying out numerous pens trying to decide on one. Usually I never did narrow it down and I would up buying a fistful of different pens. I went through stacks of writing pads for school and work. How many pens does one need in order to write something? All of them. 

I digress.

A couple of times through the years I even bought blank journals. Writing in something like that has a different feel, the experience is different. I never got very far writing in one. Maybe I never got very far as I felt I did not have anything to write about. Or maybe I was lacking the discipline to actually take the time to write something.  

Nowadays wandering through a stationery store is not the same. There used to be lots of pens from various manufacturers to mull over. Now the selection is much less. Less people buy writing paper or high end journals. Those have changed as well. Given time these places will disappear into the past. I recently unearthed a blank journal in my belongings and I make some notes for this blog in it from time to time. I went with the intention of buying some pens and trying some writing again. As for pens I only found three, a couple of fine point pens and a disposable fountain pen. Times change.


  1. Nice post, BW. Sad, isn't it? There aren't any stationary stores around here. Just have a Staples store. Used to have fine linen writing and note paper. I have a thin box of onionskin paper left and several blank journals. But I still write my checks out with a fountain or straight pen. Pretty soon everything will be done electronically, I guess. Penmanship isn't even taught in schools anymore. That's even sadder...

  2. Personally I don't miss them, but my handwriting is atrocious and I don't like writing or printing. I do like the feel of a quality piece of paper and I admire those who can write well.

  3. We do have one stationary store in the city that I've been to. I really wanted to find some nice thanks you notes but was disappointed in their inventory. Very few pens too. Just a lot of cutesy stuff...

  4. "Back in the day" long distance phone calls were expensive, so we wrote letters to aunts and cousins and grandparents. I always felt rich if I had a nice box of letter writing stationery to use. And even better was a good fountain pen with which to write. I have always enjoyed letter writing, but I think that activity has likely gone the way of the dinosauer. Sad really. Some of my most treasured things are letters written by my aunts to my mother and a couple of letters written by my grandmother.

  5. Vicki makes a powerful point. So do you! Everyone should write. We are the only animals on this planet that can do it.

  6. Wonderful post BW! There is something inherently special about the tactile feelings of fine papers and pens...not only the feel of them, but the smells as well.

    It is a shame that the art of the "hand" written word is being lost...

    As Vicki stated, I too have found great pleasure in letters that my father wrote to my mother when he was in Viet Nam, telling her to "Kiss the kids"...those treasures would not be able to be found with the creased and yellowed paper, in the original envelope...with the lipstick print on it that she put there after reading it.

    It is also amazing to go back and read ones own old journals...it's funny sometimes to see how far you have come...and scary to see you have come to the same fork...ahh but such is life.

    Again...GREAT POST!

    1. I never had horrible handwriting, just not great handwriting. I used (well, I still do) practice it so it got better. I like to see the progression. It will never be a work of art.

  7. This reminded me of Patrice Lewis and the annual writing event. Then just a couple of days later she posted this:

    And we have one local stationary story, Quill and Press. Mostly gifts and greeting cards now but they sure like to talk about the old days. I still have all my drafting tools and slide rule. I even have a drafting board and tee square. And ink drafting pens.