Paper palace

Dernièrement j’avais besoin d’un stylo rouge. Très délicat choix: pour que mon écriture soit un peu lisible il faut que cet outil me permette de la faire glisser sans accroc sur le papier. Pas de stylo à bille, donc, mais pas de feutre non plus.

Je me suis donc rendue tout logiquement dans une papeterie, dans une des ces enseignes peu glamour dont le seul attrait est la promesse de prix cassés. Je n’avais après tout besoin que d’un malheureux stylo rouge. Mais c’était sans compter sur l’attrait irresistible de la papeterie et des fournitures de bureau, quel qu’en soit leur distributeur.

La papeterie, c’est la promesse d’écrire.

Et c’est ainsi que je suis ressortie du magasin avec un carnet à couverture souple, aux pages lignées, format A6, dont je n’avais absolument pas besoin, mais dont l’achat m’a donné une satisfaction inattendue.

Et puis quelques jours plus tard, j’entamai la lecture de Moon Palace, de Paul Auster.

J’ai eu l’impression de faire partie d’une communauté, sinon d’écrivain.e.s, de ceux qui aiment écrire.

 » I spotted a stationery store on the other side of the street. (…) The Paper Palace looked too small to contain much of interest. If I decided to cross the street and go in, it must’ve been because I secretly wanted to start working again– without knowing it without being aware of the urge that had been gathering inside me.  I hadn’t written anything since coming home from the hospital in May — not a sentence, not a word — and hadn’t felt the slightest inclination to do so. Now after four months of apathy and silence I suddenly got it into my head to stock up on a fresh set of supplies: new pens and pencils, new notebook, new ink cartridges and erasers, new pads and folders, new everything.


I made my way down the aisle pausing after every second or third step to examine the material on the shelves. Most of it turned out to be standard office- and school-supply stuff but the selection was remarkably thorough for such a cramped place, and I was impressed by the care that had gone into stocking and arranging such a plethora of goods, which seemed to include everything from six different lengths of  brass fasteners to twelve different models of paper clip. As I rounded the corner and began moving down the other aisle toward the front, I noticed that one shelf had been given over to a number of high-quality imported items: leather-bound pads from Italy, address books from France, delicate rice-paper folders from Japan. There was also a stack of notebooks from Germany and another one from Portugal. The Portuguese notebooks were especially attractive to me and with their hard covers, quadrille lines, and stitched-in the signatures of sturdy unblottable paper I knew I was going to buy one the moment I picked it up and held it in my hands. There was nothing fancy or ostentatious about it. It was a practical piece of equipment — stolid,  homely,  serviceable, not at all the kind of blank book  you’d think of offering someone as a gift. But I liked the fact that it was cloth-bound, and I also liked the shape 9.25 x 7.25″ which made a slightly shorter and wider and most notebooks I can’t explain why you should of been so what I found those dimensions deeply satisfying and when I held a notebook in my hands for the first time I felt something akin to physical pleasure, a rush of sudden incomprehensible well-being.  »