Korean Stationery from Brooklyn, New York

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As an exclusive user of virtual calendars, contact lists, and notes, I have come back to the fold of paper-based agendas. How did this happen?

Two years ago, I went to Indigo Bookstore here in Montréal in search of a proper, physical agenda — paper ones that you can actually write with a pen. A sales associate showed me their current collection which was a measly three or four hard cover books that did not meet my size and content specifications. Since then, I have relied entirely on my Google Calendar, Google Tasks, Google Contacts, and Apple Notes. I used to have both a paper agenda and my virtual organization platforms that I would access with my laptop. But once I got a smartphone, I transitioned entirely to the virtual agenda. I thought to myself, “How on earth did I live without a smartphone?!”

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A few years later, I am back at carrying around a pen and paper notebook. This is quite a recent phenomenon. Two months ago, my friend took a quick trip to New York City and came back with gifts of beautiful necklaces from Fanaberie as well as these notebooks from the same neighbourhood in Brooklyn. At first I was not sure what I wanted to do with the notebooks since I had transitioned all my scribbling and organizing into virtual form — I am a great lover and user of Google and Apple products.

This comes from someone who originally spent all my life happily enslaved to a writing or drawing utensil and its physical canvas, whether it was a sketch book, paper, painting canvas, or even wood. I drew/painted/embellished/designed in the physical form (and to a lesser extent, using digital programs). However, I dropped all these tools once I left art school and began working full-time. Now that I am back in school with an area of focus far from anything creative or visual, I feel the itch to pick up the pen again and just scribble something on a physical surface.

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So here I am back to writing notes on my gifted stationery which happens to be imported straight from South Korea. The cute imagery on the books remind me of my childhood when my grandmother would send us the most adorable Korean gifts, which were usually pens, drawing tools, notebooks, and agendas. The east Asian culture just loves cutesy stuff, an aesthetic that I was never particularly drawn to even as a child. Nowadays I do not mind carrying my cute, “adult” stationery in my bag. (Hello Kitty they are not!) I am still using my Google and Apple products for calendar and contact organizing purposes, but these paper books have come in handy for me to jot down fleeting thoughts and to-do lists.

These notebooks may not be the hip Moleskine notebooks loved by artists and writers, but I love them just the same.

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