I’m not alone in liking stuff. I mean the kind of stuff we don't need, but many of us have a tickly little yen for anyway. Through the power of social media, I have come to learn of a new category of stuff for me to covet – the doodads they make especially for writers.
Sometimes I doubt I’m writer enough to ogle them. Yes, I do writing. But, based on popular tweets, I am disqualified: I do not drink coffee (makes me jibber), I’m not an introvert (though I’m good at social anxiety), and I do not know which Hogwarts House I belong to. Luckily, Etsy doesn't know any of that.
On most big sites, the stash can be found under ‘gifts for writers’. Gifts because the cool writers are supposed to be skint, except for J.K.Rowling. At first I was dismayed that the occupation of writer, which considers itself to be rarefied, was such a common filter. Then I saw all the pretty and got over it.
This is window shopping and not the hot-blooded, purse-whipping kind. I treat shops like museums - places to go and give stuff some love, without expecting to take it home with me. I have been searching them for the weirdly wonderful.
Let nobody call a notebook dull or a novelty pen unnecessary, but I’m not going to talk to you about them today. Nor shall I tell you about all the T-shirts and scarves with bits of book on them, like literary team colours. I will observe that one really can stick a Proust, Hemingway or Gaiman one-liner on anything and sell it to a writer. And, in hindsight, it feels inevitable that more than one person came up with the wooden joke of a writer’s block. But there is some top notch stuff to be found. Here is my shortlist of yen-ticklers:
The pillowcase you can write on, wash and re-use
Me to myself at 4am: that is such a big bold technicolour idea there is no way you’ll forget it.
Me to myself at 7am: bum.
I’m not sure this counts as a thing I don’t need – I think it’s more a thing I realised I needed after I heard about it. There is also a single duvet - I don’t know what that says about the writer archetype.
Make your room smell like Edgar Allen Poe
Rosewood and blackcurrant, in case you’re wondering, rather than cognac and opium. Makes me wonder what Tennessee Williams would smell like, or Virginia Woolf, Anthony Burgess.
When I'm famous (ahem) someone will perhaps make a me candle, smelling of Monster Munch and ginger sweets.
Stories made into origami stars
And then put into a jar. Pointless and delightful. A perfect example, the stuffiest of stuff.
Plimsoles that look a bit like pencils
What I like about these fellas is they look so slightly like pencils that only I'd know. I could imagine rubbing things I didn't like out with my toe.
OMGosh this lamp, this lamp
When you’re not using it, it sits there shyly like a closed book. Lift the cover and it fans, lights up, becomes a brilliant open book. But OMgosh, the price.
I hope, like me, you have enjoyed knowing that stuff like this exists. Be glad too that by leaving it where it is you will never have to carry or look after it, flippin' dust or launder it. It will remain a charming idea.
Image by Tony Gaitskell