One writer’s addiction

It isn’t alcohol. It isn’t drugs. It isn’t even something more abstract like attention or recognition. No, it’s office supplies. That’s right — stores like Staples, Office Depot, OfficeMax, and the wealth of other such outlets are my Achilles’ Heel.
As I’m beginning to prepare for my next residency in the UT MFA program, I have now the perfect excuse for going on huge buying sprees at my local office supply stores. “I just know I’m going to need these (whatever they are that is usually unnecessary).” My wife, bless her heart, has endured my office supply addiction now for the last eleven years. She’s very understanding about the whole thing.
I think there’s a combination of factors working against me in stores like Staples: 1. I’m a very sensory person (see “poet”). The smell of fresh paper, pencils, pens, notebooks, and other such items brings back a range of pleasant memories, and for me, those happy recollections are absolute kryponite.
Next, there’s the happily-colored environment that makes you feel like you will have such great fun if you just buy one more ballpoint pen. Of course, you get the thing you bought home and inevitably, it isn’t the party that was promised, but you still have something tangible and enjoyable.
Finally, there’s genetics. My family line, consisting of professors, teachers, and writers, has always been one drawn to office supplies. My father collects fine writing instruments, and my mother will buy almost anything in “cute” packaging. So, from a hereditary standpoint, I guess I’m disadvantaged also.
This time around, I’m avoiding the big office supply warehouses. I have accumulated everything I need to be the student and writer I have envisioned myself becoming, and I know that, should I need another index card/binder clip/printer cartridge, those things will be available. Hopefully, my budget and my brain can begin to heal from this endorphin-crazed pattern of behavior. Pardon me while I go sharpen a fresh box of No. 2 pencils. More to follow…

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