Sunday, June 20, 2004
Inky Fingers

After being paid this week, I ended up with a small sum of cash that I didn't immediately need for anything. Since even small luxuries are so few and far between these days, I went to the only decent stationer in town looking for something useful and pleasing.

I've been feeling what I hope is the beginning of a surge of creativity. I've been feeling like writing again -- I mean, free writing, not this focused blog stuff; it's been a long time since I've actually felt like it. In high school, I was a writer... I got a lot of support and recognition for it, and was convinced for a long time that writing was my true calling. Somewhere in there, though, I became disillusioned with the whole thing -- it may have had something to do with familial baggage (both my father and my paternal grandmother had authorial aspirations, and I didn't care to be like either of them), or it may simply have been that, like all teenagers, I was intensely self-critical and expected more of myself than I could reasonably achieve. In any case, not long before I left high school, I rejected writing. I think the rejection was largely about rebellion: I had little to rebel against in my daily life (my mother was very tolerant, and I was a good and trustworthy kid, so few restrictions were placed on me), so I rebelled against something in my inner life, something I'd come to take as a given.

Once I got to college I did the academic thing for a few years -- which doesn't involve actual writing so much as a kind of tortured reporting -- and decided I hated that as well, and then I made a short film for a class I took on a whim, and that short film launched an obsession.

(Vexingly, when I was writing stories in school, I was often told that I'd make an excellent screenwriter; when I started writing screenplays, I was often told I'd do well writing short stories. In the end, I wrote neither.)

But like I say, lately I've found that I'm starting to feel like it again. Maybe this blog has shaken something loose in my head? Maybe it has something to do with the people I've been in contact with lately? Maybe it's just time to start again? Dunno, but I thought the impulse should be honored.

Going briefly back to high school again... when I was younger I had a thing for writing with fountain pens. My teachers hated it, obviously; ink spreads as readily as blood, and can ruin clothes just as easily. I held out as often as I could, and a lot of teachers tolerated it; I was invariably well-liked (except in a couple of cases), and my teachers generally gave me plenty of room to do as I pleased. I was a sweet-natured, quiet girl, or at least appeared to be... which isn't to say it was a false image, because it wasn't, but it wasn't even remotely a complete image.

Anyway, I did like fountain pens. I liked the way the ink would pool up on the paper, I even liked the scratchiness of writing with one (which is something I'd never tolerate in any other kind of pen.) My fingers were often stained black (I never really did learn how to control the ink very well... I actually still doubt whether that's even possible), but that never bothered me until I was sixteen or so. A teacher I really liked made a comment about it one day -- something about it not being ladylike or some other minor, irrelevant point like that -- and suddenly I became very self-conscious about it. As it happens, this began not long before I decided to ditch writing altogether.

So as I quit writing, I also threw away my fountain pens. And now that I've decided maybe I'd like to try again, I thought I probably ought to go get a new one.

I actually ended up getting two... one cartridge-refill number to carry around, and a plain wooden stylus with a set of brass nibs, and a little bottle of black ink. Once I got them home it took all of thirty seconds to end up with inky fingers again. I think I might actually prefer them that way.
6:54 PM ::
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