Last week at our monthly etegami workshop, we ended the session as usual by choosing a date for our next meeting. All the members, except for me, recorded the date on their smartphone calendar apps. I thought back to the days when we used to keep track of our schedules in small paper pocket planners. It made me wonder when our habits changed.
Personally, I haven’t adjusted to the calendar function on my old feature phone. I always carry a small paper calendar with me. When my plans change — as they often do — I cross out my earlier notes and write revised notes in whatever space is left in the date box. My calendar is filled with crossed-out notes and cramped writing, often in the margins with arrows pointing to the correct box. If I used an app, I could simply delete the earlier notes and type my revised schedule in a blank box.
But the messy notes on my paper calendar tell a story that a smartphone calendar app does not. They tell the story of a real life of constantly changing plans, including hopes and expectations that sometimes don’t pan out. These messy notes comfort me with memories of visits from old friends, and dreaded appointments that didn’t turn out as badly as they could have. At the end of the year I can look at my messy paper calendar and see a picture in my head of the highs and lows of another eventful year in my life.
But that’s not the only reason I love paper calendars. Paper calendars with art are the best calendars of all. I have many favorite artists, but I can’t often afford to buy their work. If one of these artists publishes a calendar, it’s a wonderful chance to get at least 12 art prints at once, and at a very reasonable price. When the year is over, I can even cut out the artwork to frame and enjoy for many more years. This is why I like to print inexpensive desktop calendars of my own artwork to share with friends and family. I like to imagine that they will think of me every time they look at their calendars, even if we have not seen each other in person for many years.
Old wall calendars with beautiful artwork or photography also come in handy for recycling into envelopes when the year is over. I enjoy sending letters and original mail art in envelopes I’ve made from repurposed calendars featuring Hokkaido’s beautiful landscape or classical Japanese art. Digital calendars do have their merits, but I am a paper lover. And I say “Hooray for paper calendars!” (Deborah Davidson)