Last weekend I was at the Central Ohio Fiction Writers conference, where I met up with TKZ regular Steve Hooley. Steve handed me a package which had, inside, a most remarkable fountain pen.
Remarkable because Steve made it himself. Not only that, he made it out of Irish bog wood, which he ordered special, in celebration of my Irish ancestors. He lathed the wood and polished it, then put together the other components. It’s the kind of pen that would run a few hundred bucks if you bought it at a Waterman store.
He even put green ink in it, another nod to the Emerald Isle.
I hold this fine instrument in my hand with trepidation. I don’t wish to befoul a virgin sheet of paper with the indecipherable scrawl that is my cursive writing. Ever since I first learned handwriting, I have never been able to get it to look like anything other than a secret code made up on the spot by a drunken Croatian spy. Steve’s pen deserves to have beautiful writing at the end of its nib, which is why entrusting it to me is like placing a twelfth-century illuminated manuscript in the jaws of a pit bull for safekeeping.
However, I have determined that it must be used. Otherwise, it would be like having a solid gold Cadillac in the garage, covered in a tarp and never taken out for a spin.
Now, it just so happens I have a completely blank Moleskine notebook sitting on my shelf.
All this calls to mind (mine, at least) the Paris of the 1920s. I should be like Hemingway or Fitzgerald and find a cafe with outdoor tables, and make notes on the passing scene, or try to write “one true sentence.” I should be jotting my thoughts about writing and the writing life so this notebook can be discovered by my heirs after I shuffle off this mortal coil, and be published with great fanfare (or some kind of fare, even if it’s just cab fare).
Maybe it should be a diary of my deep, dark secrets, such as: I actually like Hamburger Helper. I think Bruce Springsteen is overrated. I have a secret longing to return to this life someday as Sam Elliott’s voice.
Frankly, I don’t know what to do. Should I journal? Doodle? Try to write a story? What is the best use of my beautiful pen and immaculate notebook?
I will entertain suggestions from the TKZ community.
I thank you.
What about you? Are you a pen person? Do you like the feel of it? Or are you a dedicated typer?
And what will happen to our culture as cursive writing slides into oblivion?