Good old pen and paper

Jules visits us again to talk about fountain pens and real stamps.

Jules is a friend and colleague; she volunteers her time and energy to run FirstSigns with me, and it’s great to have her perspectives on writing and communication here at kilobox communiqué.

Like most of you, I would imagine, I spend the majority of my days (and nights!) typing away on a keyboard of some kind. If I’m not on my computer then I’m bashing away at my Eee PC or my latest gadget – my iPod touch. I take breaks of course, during which I click away at my phone sending texts, the length of which could often give a short novel a run for its money. I love writing, and whether its emails, twitters, articles, replies, blog posts or random texts, that’s what I spend most of my days doing.

But, and it’s a big but for me, what I really love is a nice pen and a lovely notepad (the paper variety)! Now that I’ve even converted my to-do lists into online interactive masterpieces, I’m missing the good old pen and paper more than ever. I used to love writing and receiving letters, but I’m ashamed to say that when I received a lovely handwritten letter from a friend a couple of months ago, I replied via Facebook :( Never again – I have vowed to ‘write’ more – all proper like with a real pen!

The reality of course is that my handwriting’s atrocious and my spelling’s not a lot better, so a typed and printed letter from me would probably be preferred by most people. So that’s what I did with the poor girl who was on the end of my Facebook reply – I’ve printed a personal letter, signed my own name and an additional short message in pen, and sent it with her Xmas card in a handwritten envelope. I know it will make her smile, and that makes me happy too.

I’ve also made an effort this year with my Xmas cards. Last year I printed all the addresses and postage online and stuck the huge stickers on each envelope. This year I wrote them all by hand and used real stamps – you know, the kind you can tear off and ‘save’ for when Blue Peter starts collecting them again. I thoroughly enjoyed using my smooth black pen, and sticking a little festive stamp on each envelope. It was with a sense of pride that I posted them.

I love this time of year because the post is so exciting. Out with the bills and in with a variety of little envelopes with an exciting festive treat inside. Admittedly, the majority of cards we receive in my house are from distant relatives of my husband, most of whom I’ve never met, but it doesn’t really matter – it makes me feel ‘popular’ to have a few cards, even if most of them aren’t really for me.

When it comes to personal writing, online blogging has replaced journals and diaries for many people, and in some ways that’s something I miss too. I still have the diaries I wrote as a child and teenager, and it’s amazing looking back at them now – seeing how my writing changed depending on how I was feeling, and all the little notes squeezed along the edges of each page, and doodles in the corners. Those kind of journals are the sort to end up in museums in a hundred years time – but no-one’s going to bother about my rants over at Blogger!

Anyway, my point is that it takes a lot of effort to write something by hand – and when someone makes that special effort, whether it’s for themselves or someone else, it makes the communication so much more meaningful. I meet children these days who type better than they can write, who know how to send a text but have never heard of a fountain pen – and I can’t help feeling there’s something wrong with that.


About the author

Jules runs the largest eraser emporium in the world (AFAIK) and you can find out more at – follow @Julesxv or @OriginalErasers on Twitter.

Jules also runs FirstSigns with me, and is a keen writer with an eye for detail like an electron microscope.

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Careers are funny, twisty things. Mine wouldn't be in any recognisable shape without the encouragement and direct support from several amazing people. Read the story of my life.