O’l Fashion or a Classic?


by Suzanne Reisler Litwin

I LOVE when the texture is thick and soft. I love when the weight is heavy. I especially love the old or new smell. Evenly lined is perfect. I love all types and colours. Sometimes the edges are laser cut and sometimes the edges are smooth. It really doesn’t matter to me. Because…

I love, love, really LOVE paper! I know you must be wondering if I’ve lost my mind at this point. I haven’t at all. This isn’t a new love. I’ve been in love with paper since I was 12.

My love for paper started when I went to sleep-away camp. As campers, we would write weekly letters to our friends and family. Each girl in the bunk came to camp with amazing beautiful stationary. I had Betsy Clarke and Strawberry Cheesecake designed stationary. Every day after lunch we had quiet time, also known as a rest period.  It was during this time my bunkmates and I would trade stationary and write letters. By the end of the summer, I had collected at least 20 different types of stationary to go home with. These new stationary pieces went into my stationary collection box.

Stationary trading went on for all the years I went to summer camp. I also started writing in a diary when I was about 14 years old.  I would select “unique” diaries to write in. Each book represented my mood and life at the time.  Now, I prefer to call my diaries, personal journals.

Recently, my journals all have the same qualities. They need to have nicely weighted lined paper. Thick enough paper so the ink won’t show through. The pages must not be too long or I won’t be able to complete one page daily. The book needs to be well bonded so it will stand the test of time. The covers need to be interesting and artistically represent my life. The journals need to have enough pages to last me 4 to 6 months, no less, or I won’t feel invested in the book. I’m more particular about my paper products now.  I guess with age, I’ve become more particular in general.

Did I mention that I love the weight, smell and feel of paper? I have a direct connection to it as I write on it every day.

Sadly, I’ve noticed that paper/card stores are slowly closing everywhere. My favourite neighbourhood paper store in New York City recently closed. This store used to have 5 different locations scattered throughout the city. Now, only one exists in Greenwich Village. In Montreal, one of my favourite paper/card stores is Artz & Kardz. I must go there at least 3 times a month, if not more.  They sell gorgeous gifts and paper products which I love.

Have you noticed that newspapers and magazines are shrinking in size too?  Are we really saving trees when paper advertising via the mail has increased? Are we really saving trees when internet shopping and shipping has increased the usage of packaging? I wonder?


My questions are … How are we supposed to get the NEWS OUT?  It needs to be in your face.  Like in the Good O’l Fashion Days, when the news was hollered out on the corners of streets and newspapers were sold for a nickel.  Can we assume the delivery of the news will reach all people when it’s digital?  Can we assume that everyone owns a cell phone or a computer?  Personally, I need to have the news, in paper, in my life, in my face, in print!!!!!

My paper love affair came to an abrupt halt the other day. I was making an appointment in a Doctor’s office. I pulled out my bright red agenda book (which also has gorgeous paper to write on), when a friend announced, “Sue! Are you still using an agenda book? Why don’t you just put your appointments in your cell? Sue, you’re ancient!”

I stared at her! I felt everyone in the waiting room was looking at me. I questioned, “I’m what? Old Fashion?”

Was she suggesting I give up my love of paper and live in a digital world? I can’t! I won’t! I’m not ready! Forgetaboutit!

After my face went flush, I came up with a better response to her announcement.  I said, “I don’t want to be bound to a battery and dependent on electricity. I’m a visual person. I need to SEE my life on paper. I need to use my pen. I need to make a connection with my pen on paper. I need to love, my paper!”

Then, I asked her a “battery” of questions: “What happens when your cell phone is out of battery? How will you know your schedule then? What happens if you lose your phone? What happens if you break your phone? How can you be so invested in your cell phone? What happens when you are travelling and you can’t find a way to charge your phone or you don’t have the charging connector and everything, absolutely everything you need is in your phone?

She didn’t seem concerned.

I suppose as cell phones become less phones and more personal handheld computers, the transfer will be complete.  Maybe then, my agenda and I will be ready to be sent out to pasture. I will then be completely “Old Fashion”. Is it such a bad thing, to be Old Fashion? Can we tweak or tweet this name and just call me a Classic?  As in a Classic Book?

I love, love, really love paper still. I suppose using it connects my thoughts. My brain has a thought; my hand holds the pen and applies the idea on to paper. The paper keeps the thought, no batteries required. Repeat, repeat, ENDLESSLY REPEAT!!!!!

I’d be lying if I didn’t realize the art of paper is dying. I’m just not ready to be two dimensional; I’d rather be a tthree-dimensionalClassic!


Suzanne Reisler Litwin is an instructor at Concordia University in The Centre for Continuing Education.  She is a writing instructor at The Cummings Centre. She writes a weekly column in The Suburban Newspaper and at the West Island Blog. Suzanne is a freelance contributor to The Suburban Newspaper, West Island Blog, Wise Women Canada, The Metropolitain, and Women on the Fence. She is the author of the children’s book, The Black Velvet Jacket. Visit suzannereislerlitwin.com to read more of her published articles, books, and poetry.


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