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  • Nathira Salim

Pen on Paper

I love plain old notebooks. I love ring bound note books, normal paper bound note books, everything that is thick and looks big, I love. I think I started loving it when I went to polytechnic or maybe while I was still in secondary school. Taking notes and making it look nice was sort of a habit, not a hobby. Imagine my happiness when I took up my degree! I had lots and lots of notebooks that I would scribble my lecture notes in colourful pens and make lots of annotations here and there. I think I take more pride in my notes than the actual studying itself.


Even when I was working, I worked on the company's planner which I used effectively every day and week to make plans and execute. Though now I don't study or work, I still love collecting notebooks, because I love the feel of writing on it. I love the feel of just noting down whatever that comes to my mind on the paper. I just love it.


I have a couple of notebooks that I write on almost on a daily basis. First of all - the gratitude journal. I write five things I am grateful for every day. Though I should be writing on it everyday, I miss out some times. But I do write on it at least three times a week. Writing my blessings down or about the stuffs I am grateful for forces me to open up my eyes and my mind to look around me and identify what I have. I don't focus on a single blessing. I list down broadly on what I am aware of the blessings of the day. I am not sure if having a gratitude journal has any great major outcome, but I don't feel sorry for myself.


When I see what I have, what I don't have doesn't affect me.

Next up, I have a scribble journal. Its just that. A scribble. This is the very thing I want. I want to feel the joy of using a pen to write. My handwriting is not exactly a beauty, but I also practice to write as neatly as I can. I write what I feel. I write about what is going on in my mind at that exact moment. I need to document it down somewhere. For this, I used the ring bound journal I bought for ten dollars from Typo just last week. I love it.


Then there is the 365 journal. No - not the movie. Its just a journal. A very thick bound A5 journal I got ordered online from Kikki K. I love the feel of the book. It has 365 blank pages, a page for every day. I originally intended to use it for my every day use. But it ended up being a book of special events. Every time I go out or if my friends or relatives are over here at my crib, I take a picture, have it printed out using my LG Pocket Photo printer and paste it on my 365 journal. ( Did you know the printer papers are stickers as well? The best gift ever!!) I write some stuffs that happened on a particular day and why that picture made it to this journal. I also make an attempt to make that page look beautiful with my stationary such as Washi tapes, and stickers. ( I am jobless people! I have all the time in the world!). Its still work in progress though. Currently it looks like a nursery school kid book with lots of stickers and uneven doodles.


And lastly I have the Bujo. Actually what I have is a prototype of a Bujo. I am still working on it. In the beginning of the year, I went all out on a Bujo I bought. I checked out the videos and Pinterest for all the inspirations on how the weekly and daily list should look like and all. So I tried using it - but it didn't work out very well for me. I wasn't happy with one layout and I will try another and so on. In the end, it just was like a junk book. So to avoid making the same mistake, I bought a very cheap dot book. I tried out the templates for the planner and weekly list I want so that my 2021 Bujo will look nice. Though I do admit sometimes planning a Bujo is hard on me cos I have to bring out the creative side of me and trust me the only creativity I have it to place a plastic plant on my work table to make it look nice. I also bought stationaries to work on the Bujo. Countless art wood stamps, stickers, colourful pens and markers, Washi tapes and ink pads in different colours. I am still in the planning of this. When it's done, I will try to update. So after all this writing business is done, I will add this detail in the tracker inside the Bujo as well. It makes me feel as if I have accomplished something rather than just sit down and do nothing.


I am not a professional writer. I just like to write out what I have in my mind to remember. Even today sometimes, I go through the picture gallery in my phone, to check out the photos before June and July, the months before I found out I had cancer. What was I thinking, or what was going on in my mind before that? Do they all really matter? Does deployment ever matter? Does my son's PSLE matter? How did I look? Oh so this is how a healthy Hira looks like and stuffs like that. I also wonder if that Hira knows how her life would change in the next coming weeks.

Maybe what I am doing now is a coping mechanism so that I don't drown in self pity or in the plethora of cancer stuffs that I need to read up on. Others knit, do music, come up with new recipes for food, sing, draw and paint. I just write and maybe take pictures as well.




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