Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. – William Wordsworth
The Monocle Minute newsletter recently featured an interview with Luc Goidadin, creative director of Smythson, the “celebrated British retailer of stationery, diaries and leather goods.”
The topic at hand was a renewed embrace of pen and paper, specifically journals of all kinds. Instead of going out of business when everyone went digital, Smythson is seeing “an increase in the number of younger customers who are interested in tangible things that you can keep.”
Experience and Keepsake
People want to keep real records, to have a tactile experience with the written word. Goidadin said that “With notebooks – and the world of paper in particular – there is a sort of magic alchemy (my empasis) that happens when someone takes a handmade object and then starts putting notes in it. We have many customers, old and young, who send us photographs of the rows of notebooks and diaries that they have. They keep them as archives of their lives.”
According to Goidadin, diaries and journals have become keepsake gifts. “There’s something very special about giving a notebook or a diary to someone of any age. They’re gorgeous gifts that you know someone would use but many people buy them for themselves, especially at this time of year.”
I think this trend is going to grow, for the following reasons:
Emotional Connection and Reflection
Keepsake journals help us connect with emotions and experiences, and keep them from vanishing amid the digital clutter. People are seeking deliberate and meaningful ways to process their thoughts. Meditation is gaining in popularity with apps like Calm and Headspace. In the same vein, keepsake journals provide a dedicated space for introspection.
How we relate to events, food, books, and travel differ from person to person. We’re drawn to the idea of capturing that uniqueness by crafting our own narratives and personal stories. Paper journals can be customized with not only pen and ink but with photos, ticket stubs, and the odds and ends we collect along the way.
There’s something alluring about a beautiful journal with blank pages waiting to be filled in, especially if it has prompts to help us focus our thoughts. As we increasingly value the tangible and tactile experience of writing, a well made journal isn’t just a functional item but a beautiful display that says more about us than a coffee table book.
Bottom line, I think Mr. Goidadin must know what he’s talking about. At $285.00, Smythson’s 2024 leather-bound journal is already out of stock! (I prefer a Moleskine weekly planner, anyway. So there.)
Keepsake reading journal
At the much more reasonable price of $17.99, the Mystery Ahead book journal is also a keepsake. This unique oversized 250-page reading journal is designed to take you around the world, one mystery book at a time.
Inside you’ll find
- Introductions and fun facts about 7 world regions
- 250 pages with large, easy-to-read print
- 32 mini-reviews of the best mystery series from around the world
- 80+ pages with easy prompts to write your own reviews
- Annual reading log with space for 100 entries
- Quotes and reflections on the reading life
It’s the perfect keepsake reading companion. Get it for book club friends, grandparents, teachers, armchair travelers and anyone else who wants to keep a record—or an archive as Mr. Goidadin would say—of their reading life.
Many fiction authors, self included, write longhand first. The act of putting pen to paper creates a connection between thoughts and letters to form words that the rushing demand of typing does not.
Once I hit “Publish” on this post, I’ll start channeling Pearl S. Buck by putting pen to paper to scratch out the next Detective Emilia Cruz mystery.
In a mood of faith and hope my work goes on. A ream of fresh paper lies on my desk waiting for the next book. I am a writer and I take up my pen to write.- Pearl S. Buck