Despite what the calendar says, September evokes, for me, more thoughts about starting anew than January. Every notebook full of fresh pages and each pen with its perfect point offer the chance to learn, to read, to write, to think, to organize, to record, to plan, to dream.
Back-to-school season makes me nostalgic. When I close my eyes, I can practically smell an elementary classroom: the distinctive, sweet scent of paste (not glue!), the woody wisp of newly sharpened pencils and the unmistakable perfume of slightly stale milk. And the books – oh, the books! Arranged in neat rows, they wait patiently for young eyes to explore them. My favorites are the old ones, those that “smell like grass, with a tang of acidity and a hint of vanilla.”
Keep me away from office supply stores this time of year. (Well, anytime, really.) I have a fully stocked office and no children attending school, yet the siren song of the pen and pencil aisle tempts me. The lifelong search for the perfect writing utensil never ends. Gel ink? Ballpoint? Fountain pen? And who doesn’t need a rainbow of Sharpies? (Yes, there’s a blog for that. Check out The Pen Addict.)
Notebooks, paper, colored paper clips, sticky notes of all sizes – these also make me swoon. Every new folder and box means a new chance to create order, rearrange thoughts, see new patterns. Pencil boxes and pouches? They’re not just for kids anymore. And who are we kidding? You can NEVER have too big a box of crayons. Opening a new notebook … carefully pulling the pages apart so they don’t tear … is an art. What information, ideas, hopes and dreams will fill the pages?
This, to me, is the essence of the back-to-school feeling: anticipation and possibility. Reminiscent of elementary days, the hope of the season is open to all: writers, artists, dreamers. As the days grow longer and cooler, go buy a new pen and a fresh notebook. Open the notebook, uncap the pen and let the possibilities flow.