The world is full of endangered things, from honey bees and forests to the planet itself. And while we plant lilac to encourage bees, sign petitions for the Amazon and walk to school, our personal efforts can feel like drops in the rising ocean.
But there’s one threatened species we have all the power to save. Stationery.
Pens and other handwriting tools have been dying out over the last forty years, slowly at first but increasingly gobbled by keypads and screens. And their habitat is disappearing too: the soft, fresh smell of notepaper; the joyful flow of ink across the page, and the gentle quicksand of blotting paper.
The extinction is unprecedented. While writing equipment has evolved over human history, from reeds and clay tablets to pens and paper, there’s always been a place for stationery nerds. Cave painter nerds could sharpen their sticks. Monk nerds could rearrange their pots of berry ink around the Book of Kells.
But the modern nerd? You can’t rearrange the keys on a pad. You can’t sharpen a screen. Technology just won’t do.
So please let’s all pick up pens and preserve our paper while we can, before our hands turn into mice and we forget the smell of Moleskine.
Hooray for The Pen Corner – a whole corner filled with pens! – between Dame and Trinity Streets in Dublin