Scrapbook Fever

I’m rarely a trend setter. I am also a fitful and sometimes resistant trend-follower.

Sometime in the past two decades the whole scrapbook phenom hit with a marketer’s mania and a whole bunch of people I know have joined — even added to — the fray. I find the trend both delightful and disturbing. In the most common expression of the trend, I’ve avoided it almost as if it were, well, the plague.

I have two issues with what scrapbooking has become. First, I kick against the cookie cutter craft of any type. I used to hate VBS crafts that came in boxes to be assembled with glue. I’m not a fan of anything that is more paint by number than paint by passion. Scrapbooking, for some, is that.  (Even in this, I’m perfectly okay with others who do like the very fact that they can follow a pattern and create something pleasing to look at by doing so. And I have seen some genuine expressions of creativity and artistic competency expressed in scrapbooks. I have a few friends who are designers and not just copiers and they do lovely, lovely work. I honestly and enthusiastically celebrate it.)

My second issue is more MY issue than an issue with scrapbooking — but I might suggest that the burden could be shared.  The scrapbooking industry is built on a few human tendencies that I hold in spades and which I have to work to keep in check. (I fail more than I succeed, but I must not let that be license to give up.)

First, there is the obsession of recording EVERYTHING — every event, every person, every breath — with a page/layout. I know people who feel deep failure as a parent if they don’t have a fully developed scrapbook for every year of the lives of each of their children. This feeds my leanings toward obsessive behavior. (It also reinforces the reality that I am single and childless. I am digressing, but will let myself continue for one more sentence. I’m quite content with both of those things until I start dwelling on aspects of either that I do “miss” in a way that you miss something you’ve never had but spent a lot of years assuming you would and imaging life as so.)

Second, there is the issue of overt consumerism. You have to buy supplies to have on hand for whenever the scrapbooking spirits move you to scrap — and those supplies are not so much scraps (as the name might imply) as rather expensive acid-free papers and stickers and scissors and pages and ribbons and more and more and more. I love the whole broad genre of school/office/art supplies and could spend hundreds of dollars on such without breaking a sweat at any opportunity. I struggle to resist CLEARANCE and SALE of things that I might need some day for a thing I intend to do, maybe. Scrapbooking, for me, would almost certainly become an unhealthy black hole.

So, I don’t scrapbook.

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[If you’re a scrapbooker and read this and hear condemnation of you, I’ve miscommunicated and you’ve missed the point. My point is that this is one of those things that I choose to not do both because I have other ways I personally prefer and because if I let myself do this, it would almost certainly get out of hand. This may be just the right thing for you.]

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