Alas my pen, a joy to write

When I set myself to maintain a blog like this, it does its job: there is a pressure to generate content. This is exactly what I wanted to happen, because I wanted to get back into the habit of writing. That pressure can be a burden though, like the teacher in class telling you to “write a poem” on command. As if. I’ll write when the muse descends, thankyou very much, and poorly before and after.

That’s what this feels like sometimes. The pressure to post often, to get followers and views. I mean, that’s part of what this is about, right? If I weren’t writing for people to read then this could be in Microsoft Word, and the formatting a darn sight easier sometimes. In terms of meeting my goal of writing something of substance three or four times a week, I haven’t actually had too much trouble, once I got going. Add in the shared images, links and passing thoughts, and I’ve been putting up a post in some form just about every day.

Actually, I’m about a week ahead with this piece, which is nice. It is good not just because having some posts complete or nearly so ahead of time gets me off the hook for the week, but because it lets me take more time to sit down and write, or just let inspiration come, which is very much how I prefer to write. Wouldn’t it be lovely if it was always that easy?

That’s how I’m writing now, actually. The start of this was forming in my head as I walked from Barnes and Noble to Half Price Books, and I’m sitting here writing now.

With a pen.

I much prefer a pen, and if not a pen then a full keyboard. Anything else is a struggle to keep up with my mind. The chief advantage of the keyboard is that it is legible, and doesn’t need to be transcribed later, but I will always love the pen.Especially a nice flowing fountain pen, the nib formed to my hand. Lovely to write with, and make little notes all over the page, to be ale to see the crossed-out words and rephrasings later. It’s a much more dynamic writing process.

You know, I had one once. One of those lovely pens. It was a joy to write with. My mother’s, and her mother’s before her. Bakelite plastic barely stuck out from the back of my hand, maybe a quarter shorter than the gel biros I use now. I always carried a bottle of in with me. Messy, ink-stained fingers, and looking odd during exams refilling my pen two or three times. But it was a joy to write with.

A joy to write.

Alas, eventually the nib wore out. I had it repaired, but it was never the same. My mother tried to convince me to write with
it anyway; that it would eventually mould to my hand anew; cease the stop-start ink flow, and grating scratching.

But I didn’t have the patience.

Maybe one day, I will follow my mother’s advice, and the pen will once more be broken in, and write swiftly, smooth and true.

And one day, I will pass it on to my child, for whom it will be, once more

A joy to write.


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