Tag Archives: handwriting

#nablopomo2020 lockdown pt2

Here we go again.

Tomorrow, England goes into lockdown for the second time. A necessary action, I believe as the NHS faces a combination of COVID and winter pressures.

The memory, of that friday before the first lockdown is still there. I feel it very keenly; the meeting on the college campus. The horrible, heavy dread in the air. I was supposed to teach the next day; classes were to go straight on line. Even my counselling practice had to change and go to online/telephone.

This is somewhat different, it certainly feels different. A case of, I’ve done this before, but here we go again. Teaching is hybridised for the time being. The Counselling Practice, is COVID Compliant and continues.

My other focus, is creativity. You’ve already seen the socks and leg warmers. That is definitely going to continue. I’ve been thinking, ever since the Prime Minister made his announcement-as mad as it was-about my writing projects. I do have a stack of them.

The first lockdown was spent writing, and I daresay it helped managed my stress levels, a sense of being, amongst other things. I felt a very keen sense of loss, in not being able to go out, visit the BMAG or other creative places. I did manage to go the BMAG actually, to refresh and reabsorb energy for The Muse.

So, the writing projects; I have a few.

For one, I don’t need any more notebooks. In the first lockdown, I bought a pile, knowing that I had ideas that need to decanted. I sorted out all the stories, to be then tackle them. No more notebooks needed, at all. I am therefore, now faced with works to do. I had been wondering how I was going to get to them all. Generally, I will stare at them, pick up and open the one that calls to me. I also have to be in the mood to be carried away.

There is a vague plan. I have contribution to an anthology to write, in the first instance. It can be up to ten thousands words, and be inspired by Birmingham. I have a plan, a list of ideas actually that I plan to through for that.

Then, there are four, five, six other notebooks. Each with a story, that has been planned out in bullet points. Some are quite detailed. There are specific chapters. Others, have a general plan, that can be fleshed out as required. I used to write on a whim, just see where my imagination wanted to go. That was great, and for the most part it worked. Now, I bullet-point/plan, when the ideas come and use them as checkpoints. A sort of mesh, I guess, to then fill out. At least then, I don’t forget what I want to do. As such, there are post-its everywhere too. Bits and pieces that have come to me, that I’d like to integrate. You can never have enough post-it’s, I guess and I never throw anything away. Just in case.

All that is required, is my pens and my inks. I should just get on with them.

Some of them, have been sat on my desk for two years, gathering dust. I need to stare at them intently, to see what calls to me.

So, on the eve of lockdown part two, I have ordered some more ink. A new fountain pen too. Rest assured, I still have my Parker Sonnets. Nothing will ever replace them, and I will be heart broken if anything were to happen to them.

(I’ll never forget that first moment of using one in The Pen Shop. A proper Ollivander moment, with Fantasia playing, I kid you not. It was just the right one, the best fit, and I felt in love immediately.)

This is the current selection. I have a definite bias, when it comes to colours of ink. I have gone through two bottles of imperial purple, two of deep magenta, I think. Ordering more, I guess is more than preparation for writing projects. I even flushed out a few fountain pens last week, as I had used them a great deal and they had become clogged up.

I didn’t have time to prepare the last time. I didn’t even think, that writing was a way of enduring. It sort of just happened. Alas, I enjoyed it, it was useful. It was also meaningful. In a slightly different way, I guess, to baking Banana Bread.

I made bread, a few times. But then I gave up. It didn’t particularly give me a zing, in the same way that writing did and does.

There will be writing this weekend. I’m not doing NANOWRIMO. That has never really called to me. There is no way, no how, that I could that over a month; if only to write a first draft. My writing process is languid, in that I don’t particularly like those contained, very short deadlines. If I have six months, a year, that feels more plausible.

Alas, here we go again.

At a loss for words

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At this moment in time, I am at a loss for words.

Ordinarily, be it at work, when blogging,  writing; I could waffle. I daresay, I could probably waffle for England. The hitting of a payload, a torrent of words and inspiration, does tend to be hard to stop. I experience it as un-brookable sensation, my brain is aflame with my handwriting only just keeping up with the daydreams wanting exit my imagination.

Words tumble;the whole thing is a emotional, psychological cascade. A torrent of things that might not have even been in my consciousness. To this day, I can’t read bits of Fragments, I remember my own pain.

In stark contrast then, is the barrenness of not writing. The overwhelming swirling of tumbleweed and screeching carrion birds in a desert.

I do have a list. I have a stack, in fact, of notebooks; each one has a list of things to write for that particular creating. So it’s not as though I have a block, as though The Muse-whatever form that creature takes-and I have deserted each other. The Muse has done what needs to be done, and gone off to where ever they are needed.

It is the impetus, the bounce and flow, the mojo that has gone.

At this moment in time, it’s actually difficult to look a the books. The ‘to-write’ lists make no sense to me. They may as well be written in a different language.

I think I need a rest.  Life has, after all, been rather busy.  Six books, a Bollywood wedding, a diploma in therapeutic counselling are all going to have an effect. As is not being in a stable teaching post. I have done, experienced, been part of one hell of an adventure. It is impossible for me to negate any of that; it has made me the woman, the person, the author that I am.

The diploma is now over-Just waiting for the certificate!  I am also thinking, about what the next phase of the counselling journey might involve. No idea what is happening on the teaching front; the end of the summer, would mark ten years as an educator.

That in itself, is special. I want to make it that far! Teaching has also been a journey in it’s own right.

I do feel a loss; as though I should be doing something, However, there is that small voice. The tiniest squeak, that is saying no. Something isn’t right, something hangs in the air; writing is not what I want, need,to do at this moment in time.

This, is voice, that I need to listen to. I also need, somehow, to accept, that the writing is paused. This is horribly difficult, when it has been a part of me for such a long time. I’ve enjoyed it; writing really is a facet of me. The thought of writing rubbish-whatever that might be-also crossed my mind. It’s been dismissed a couple of time. I want to value what I write, I want it to have some importance.

Self-care is the big thing here. To look after myself, nourish the elements within that have become depleted.

Who knows. Perhaps the words will come back.

Eventually.

 

Inky and Instrumental

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When is a pen not just a pen? When it is capable of producing pure magic.

First thing first; years ago, teachers decided that my handwriting was terrible. I spent hours practising, and hated every minute of it. It felt almost unnatural to iron out the kinks and curves of my cursive handwriting. For years, I harboured a resentment. I like my handwriting, it helps to manifest everything that goes on inside my head.

For my twelfth birthday, Pops asked me what I wanted. I asked for a fountain pen. He looked at me as though this was really odd.

I got one though, a simple blue-barrelled one that he got from Smiths. I used it til it died an undignified death. I bought an assortment of Parker ones, mostly the Vector range and struggled to find a zing. This went on for some time.

Before long, I abandoned all hope of finding a pen of my own.

This is important, and if you’ve ever read or watched Harry Potter, you’ll know that a wand chooses the wizard, not the other way around.

And boy, did that happen.

I was in London one day, and walked passed The Pen Shop. I had time to kill, so I went in. There happened to be Parkers there, and I saw a shiny one. A shiny one, that happened to be in the Sonnet range. I asked to have a look, and was handed one.

Wham.

There might as well have been sparks. This was my pen, this was what I wanted to write with. Feeling all very overwhelmed, a bit shocked and surprised, I said thank you, walked off and was in something of daze. At that moment in time, I didn’t understand what had just happened. Off I sloped, and did some cyber-window shopping.

I wanted that pen.

By that time, I’d written Fragments, well two-thirds and in biro. I decided to find that pen. That book needed something special to finish it off; the book was a special, the final flourish had to be too.

Oh, I paced, I worried and I turned it over and over. My siblings couldn’t work out why I wanted that pen, biro did the job as far as they were concerned. Why on earth would I want a fountain pen, pay that much for it, and what was the big deal?

I got the pen. I had my Excalibur. This was my pen.

I had magic at my finger tips; the outlet that would get ideas from my brain, through the CNS and onto paper. I didn’t look back. I found a couple more; a bit like having  your favourite jumper in three different colours. I have three sonnets. I remember being in Venice and window shopping the Matte Black one. It didn’t feel right, it felt too heavy. I’ve even tried, out of sheer curiosity, to woman-handle a Mont Blanc. Too heavy. no zing; I didn’t even think about the price tag. I don’t think I am meant to have one of those.

Then came the IM. A slightly posher Parker pen, I guess. A random shot in the dark, but this also came with a zing. It’s a different zing to the Sonnet, but it’s a zing nonetheless. The two types of pen, sit on opposite sides of the pen case with a biro in the middle. A biro, to be used only in the case of an emergency.

All pens are to be inked up at all times.

I take no chances. I take those pens everywhere, alongside a notebook.

Then there is the ink. I don’t get on with cartridges. On my desk, is a wooden box beneath a stapler. It contains seven, small plastic bottles of ink. Imperial purple, grape, billbery, magenta, forest green and teal are used more often than not. I have Oxblood, but it doesn’t feel right; I really don’t like using that ink. There’s not black ink, blue does languish behind the box. This also means that I end up with inky fingers that are all too difficult to explain.

Everything of would-be note that passes across my desk is handwritten. The first draft of books always is, in a note book, on file paper. There is far more soul in this analogue, organic process compared to typing away.

Using a fountain pen certainly retains the kinks and curves of my handwriting.

As for reading it.

“Punam, your writing makes my eyes go funny.”