School is starting soon, and for over a month now the stores have been stocked with school supplies. It seems everywhere you look, you see them. Even stores that don’t normally seem to sell this sort of stuff, are selling it right now. And it is driving me absolutely nuts.
You see, I have a penchant for these things. They call to me. They beg to me. They scream to me. Like a siren song. Tie me to the mast!
All those bright, vibrant colors. All those lovely folders, binders, and organizers. A million ways to sort your papers and then some. Oooo, I am already getting goose bumps!
Pens and pencils waiting to be written with. So many different kinds, so many colors, so many variations. Heck, I could write an entire column on how I feel about pens alone.
And the paper. Reams of it! Loose leaf, spiral notebooks, schedulers, note pads, post-its. Again in all sorts of colors, shapes and sizes. The scent of paper alone can start the launch sequence on my creative mode.
All that brand new stuff. So much potential! Just waiting to be tapped. It can drive one mad. Someone like me, that is. It’s kind of a double whammy for me. I am a writer and an artist, and the idea of filling up blank sheets of paper with cool stuff speaks to my innermost being.
And it doesn’t even have to be a sheet of paper to make me feel that way. It can be a blank wall, the side of a building, or an open piece of sidewalk. There is always a pull, a call, a request coming from these places to seek out their full potential. It’s difficult to ignore.
At work when I need office supplies for my desk, I’ll visit the office supply drawer in the back and I can never stop at the one or two items that I need. I am seduced by all the wonderful things in that drawer.
Brand new pens, automatic pencils, highlighters, and what’s this? A 24-pack of Limited Edition 80’s Glam Ultra Fine Sharpies!? OH. MY. GOODNESS. I grab it and quietly escort it back to my office to hide so I don’t have to share it with anybody. Don’t tell.
What was I doing again? Oh yeah. Writing this article. Heh.
When I was raising my family, it was great. Every year I could get my fix in. I could vicariously peruse and purchase all kinds of awesomeness because I had a really good excuse. It’s for the kids, really it is, honey.
And it was great, since every year there would be newer and cooler things presented in funky ways. No one in the family was ever more excited than I was when it came to back-to-school shopping.
I really hated to get to the end of the yearly list. Really, is that all you need? You’re sure? Come on. There’s got to be a reason to buy this 10-drawer rainbow-colored taboret, there’s just got to be. For many years I had this excuse, and then I found another way to get a second fix on the other side of the year.
Easter always seemed excessive to me, with all the baskets filled with candy, candy, candy. And they seemed to come from everywhere. Grandmas, grandpas, aunts, cousins. Way too much sugar. What a waste, I thought – so I began the tradition of giving baskets to my children filled with – you guessed it – office supplies.
It was a perfect fit. Sticky notes come in so many bright and fun colors, some with images and patterns, and of course markers and crayons make for a colorful addition. I would toss in a drawing pad and journal, some whimsical erasers, and some crazy Lego pens.
Almost always some sidewalk chalk, since we had a very large driveway and it was good for hours of artistic fun. Sketch around the dog, your brother, what have you, and then color it in, or hey, just color the dog. He likes the attention and doesn’t care what color he is.
The Easter basket idea was wonderful, because it was non-caloric (provided you didn’t eat the crayons), didn’t go bad eventually and the dog didn’t snarf up the contents because once again my son forgot to put the basket on a high shelf or just shut his bedroom door before leaving for school.
Poor kid, he almost never got to enjoy the contents of his Easter basket on any given year. I should have just made one up for the dog.
So now that my children are grown, I no longer have an excuse to go a little crazy at this time of year with school supplies. I do have a good friend that plays a little game with me, though.
We buy each other little gifts of cool sticky notes, silly pens and goofy erasers and exchange them each time we see each other, all year ‘round. It’s WONDERFUL.
Sometimes it takes so little to make me a happy woman.
Originally published August 30, 2013