Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Paper Chase

As a writer I have always had an awareness of, and appreciation for, paper.  I have, for instance, always had a fascination with paper weight, type, and even the binding and cut of books.  Yes, I even admire some books on my shelves for the quality of their print or presentation, even if the writing itself stinks.  (No way to even discuss these things with Kindle format and digital publishing.)

But recently I've been undertaking a new paper chase for my daughter, who is intent on finding the perfect papers for her various invitations, thank you cards, programs and stationery for her wedding.

Last night I brought home a ream of paper that had been sitting on my office shelf for over twenty-five years.  This ream of paper, which I had purchased before my children were born, was meant to serve as my cover letters to editors.  It is a very fine paper, 20 weight bond, with 25% cotton woven into the mix. 

As memory serves, I purchased this ream for $20 back in 1987.  (A tidy sum back then, and I probably forfeited food to buy it.)  Not sure how much it would cost today (maybe less?).  But since 1987 I've been busy writing (among other things) and these 500 pages of paper simply got lost in the creative process.  My cover letters eventually gave way to e-mails and faxes and then, eventually, phone calls and, in some cases, face-to-face conversations with editors.

As memory serves, I also used two pages of this paper.  So technically my daughter only has 498 pages for her wedding.

One of these pieces of paper I used as a birthday card to my wife.  I likely filled it with sappy sentiments detailing the depths of my love and how much I wanted to shake the peaches on her tree.  I also likely included an original poem such as:

Sure as the vine twines round the stump
You are my darlin' sugar lump.

The second piece of paper was used to light a fire in the fireplace.  But for the life of me, I don't remember when . . . and I don't recall having a fireplace either.

I can only hope that my daughter can make better use of this high-quality paper . . . and that she will find a use for it some time in the next 25 years.  She'd better hurry and find a reason, though.  In another 25 years she may be planning my funeral.  But she can print my obituary on this paper.  I know it will hold up well under duress, and the cotton fiber absorbs tear-stains very well. 

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