Welcome to Novel!
My name is Alex and I am the creator and owner of the Novel Notes brand. But Novel is much more than that to me.
I have struggled for much of my life with finding meaning and purpose. Even more so the last several years as I battled with chronic mental health issues. The recovery process continues to be an arduous yet enlightening one. It began as an explosive realisation and evolved into a slow, subtle becoming. At each stage of the journey I uncover layers of my self that I can choose to discard or explore.
I had to plan the escape route from the debilitating anhedonia that stole my motivation to even begin planning. Whilst severely unwell, exploring anything that sparked even the smallest amount of interest became a necessity and so I discovered the few things that, at risk of sounding dramatic, literally saved my life.
My love for family and friends. The love of family and friends. A passion for justice and fairness. An appreciation for beauty, art and expression - in myself, and in others. A desire to be better, in any and all senses of the word.
If I was going to stay alive for these reasons, there would still have to be some trickery involved. The task was to convince myself that I could get better and in doing so, I would. I recorded every mood change, every tiny achievement - “I ate today”, “I got out of bed”, “I showered”. It would be easier to see the progress visually so I drew charts and graphs. The gradual inclines inspired brief glimpses of hope. It was like having been trapped under rubble and finally seeing tiny rays of light through the weighty rocks and suffocating darkness. I would not be trapped forever.
Journals and diaries helped me to keep my thoughts in order, to track my progress and to plan my days when it was too difficult to keep information in my head. As my needs changed, so did my notebooks. They needed to be flexible and organised. I tried out many setups to find out what worked and what didn’t. Binders were bulky. Bound books were limiting and impossible to reorganise. Many of the other creative binding techniques were either not sturdy enough, were made using poor quality materials and processes, or not suitable for a vegan, environmentally conscious lifestyle.
There are many stationery companies that claim to have an interest in sustainable production, and many that don’t even pretend. Harmful practices are rife in commercial industry. Excessive waste production and pollution seems to be something we have to accept if we want to maintain the consumerist habits we have right now. However, minimalist, environmentalist and vegan lifestyles are more and more becoming acknowledged and encouraged as the responsible, ethical options. Reducing our harmful impact in small ways contributes to the larger movement of conscious consumerism.
The creatives, empaths, intellectuals - the world changers - must have the space and tools to develop themselves and do the good work. They must have places to communicate and collaborate, and to do so in ways that assist in liberating their creativity rather than hinder them. We need efficiency and productivity in a diversity of fields and thinking styles, and there isn’t time to waste.
I would like to share with you Novel Notes - the solution I found to my own personal difficulties and ethical issues - in the hope that it can help you too. I hope it can be a resource for our creative community, for thinkers and doers to find ways to live fulfilling lives sustainably and beautifully with love and care for our world.
You have found your way here for a reason. I hope that Novel moves beyond being a brand in your eyes, as it has in mine, and that we can develop our community of like-minded folk to find real life solutions to the big and the small problems. I hope we will be able to track our progress, our small steps, as we move towards that glimmer of light. We embrace the value of our unique abilities and find our purpose through creation of our own narratives within and without our Novel.
There will be further blog posts, health permitting. Some of the topics will include discussion of ethical issues, creative inspiration, product reviews, opinion posts and evaluative studies. It would be a pleasure to read your views and to continue the discussions in the comments or in our forum. Please consider sharing this post, or any other Novel content that you find interesting or useful so that it may benefit others and so that our community can grow. Thank you.