Whatever its faults, 2020 was also a showcase for some of the practical benefits of modern technology—sheltering in place would feel considerably different without streaming video, Zoom school and the ability to have things delivered via Amazon or DoorDash. On the other hand, even in this era of Skyping and FaceTiming and other apps, when instant communication has never been more available … now would be an excellent opportunity to appreciate the possibilities of the older, more tangible medium of ink on paper.
Putting thoughts down in writing encourages more contemplation and consideration than copying an emoji, and a handwritten letter is likely to convey a far more lasting impression than a text message. Plus, with a quality pen and the right paper, the act of writing itself becomes a tactile pleasure. Whether you’re sending a kind note to a friend, starting a journal as a mindfulness exercise or simply making sure any surviving New Year’s resolutions are recorded for posterity, adding some exceptional stationery to your home office should be on your agenda for navigating the end of the pandemic in style.
Arabesque owner Sheryl Sashin says, “When I opened the store 20 years ago, the only people who bought fountain pens were Europeans. Now we have a tremendous amount of especially young men, American men, that are really truly into fountain pens, and we have a wonderful collection of fountains, rollerballs and unique pencils like the Faber-Castell.”
Sashin herself is a bit of a connoisseur: “I have the Princess Grace Montblanc—it has a little pearl on the clip, which is quite lovely. I enjoy that one a lot. And then I have a Montegrappa fountain that I love. Different ones for different reasons and different times.”
For journals, she recommended Fiorentina—“I love that they’re funky on the outside but they’re very practical on the inside”—and a collection called Nuuna. And whether selecting stationery from Arzberger of North Carolina, Bella Figura, Bell’INVITO or others, she suggested visitors give themselves options. 2021, she believes, will be
a year to embrace the permanence of written words; an email is there and gone, but a letter, a personal message that they can look at again the next day and the next week, will be valued. arabesqueofnaples.com
The Paper Merchant
“What we’re about here is more fun and happy,” says Corinne Strubel, manager of The Paper Merchant in Park Shore, so that customers “have a nice something to look forward to every day.” You presumably do work at your desk, but with the proper accessories it doesn’t feel like work to sit down and write something. “You want to make your desk happy, I would think. Some kind of fun, colorful, personalized little pads with special quotes, or your name—we sell all that.” For everyday pens, Strubel’s a fan of Monteverde and especially Lamy, a German label, but also enjoys having what she calls “a rainbow of options.” One recent customer who bought dozens of Le Pens in an array of hues to fill in different squares on her Lally calendar is doing day planning just about perfectly. thepapermerchantnaples.com
And By the Way…
Don’t forget about The Paper Source in Mercato—it’s a chain, but the Naples location is packed with options from greeting cards and gifts to planners and pens. papersource.com