I hate the Kindle – long live paper and the real book! 37 50 North 122 28 West (Nichola in San Francisco)

Team Aretha are currently all over the globe. Bluebell is in the UK catching up with friends and family, and whilst Columbus and I are sailing the Pacific, Nichola and Willow are exploring San Francisco to check out places to live and schools etc. In amongst all of that Nichola has been working on her mission and business – all around paper, accessories and how to be more organised….so straight from the Desk of Nichola…

I hate feeling under pressure and I hate putting things off to the final moment or letting a list of things build up. I hate letting people down and i hate the impersonal digital world of communication.

I find that if I have to do a piece of work or move forward with a task the worst thing I can do is turn to my computer or phone to help me. Instead of getting the job done, I find that I am constantly flicking between Facebook or emails or some other app that I have downloaded on to my phone. I see that I have received a message and I am compelled to look, to open it and so I am taken down a completely different path for a few moments before I pull myself out again and get back to the task at hand. I would like to say that this only happens once but in I am afraid it is a constant battle whilst I have any apple product on me and there is wifi. I suspect that I am not alone in this problem. Its about as distracting as trying to work while sitting in front of the television and maintaining concentration without being drawn into whatever program is featuring on the television.

By contrast the calm I feel if I turn off the digital products and reach for pen and paper is incredible. I can sit and write without distraction but pure concentration. I love to communicate with others in the same way – to send a card or note feels so much more personal and thoughtful than a quick email or text. I love the feel of paper, writing on it, wrapping things up in it, sending it a note or special card, making it into creations to send to others. I love the calm of a stationers – I never feel that I’m too old to understand it – I am just fascinated by the simple beauty and potential creativity which opens up before me. I love to look at notebooks and think of the possible contents of each pad of paper, I love to peruse cards and think of my family or friends and wonder who has a birthday, a special event or tough times and needs cheering up. It prompts me to think how do I want to show up to others, it prompts me to think that I want to do things differently, it prompts me to think that I want to record special events and have a record that I can look back on. It prompts me to think that I want to keep in contact with others.

In the same way I love paper, I love real books rather than electronic ones. I have bought a kindle and just can’t get on with it. I know that it makes perfect sense – hundreds of books in one simple gadget – hundreds of books at your fingertips but I love the feel of sitting holding a book and reading it, really turning the pages, the smell of a new book, the feel of a loved well worn book. It reminds me when I was a little girl, one of my most favourite books was Alice in Wonderland – I can remember that book as though I was sitting and reading it yesterday – when it was actually over 30 years ago. I loved it and I would lay in bed on a Saturday morning and just read it from cover to cover, engrossed in the story and the book – looking at the black and white drawings, turning back the pages, noticing where I had made markings or comments in the side margin. You just don’t get that on a kindle – no matter how fancy. We are looking at spending our next adventures in American – on the West Coast in San Francisco. I learnt about a new phenomenon that they have here – who knows maybe it is spreading further than just here – the free library – little wooden constructions that look a bit like brightly painted bird houses but which house books – people have them outside their houses and you can come and take a book and either replace it with another one or bring that book back when you have finished it – how wonderful is that I thought when I heard – the revival of little lending libraries. I remember as a child the excitement of visiting the library to take out books and take them home and read them. I would spend ages choosing the books I wanted to borrow – it was special. Will a child feel that special touch as they download an ebook on their kindle? I doubt it.

I am no dinosaur, I just don’t want to lose that special feeling and relationship that I have with paper and which I have had since I was a child. I don’t want my children to miss out on that either. I want them to see me write, see me hold a book and I want them to feel that magic that I did as a child and can still remember so vividly.

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