Tag Archives: ink

#NABLOPOMO2020: iNVOKING tHE MUSE


Restless and unrestrained, The Muse, is ready to go; he takes me by the hand. Softly, he whispers into my ear. His words make my heart race and my mind whir.

“Are you brave?” He asks, wearing the Devil’s smile. “Or just plain reckless?”

“Courageous,” I reply. “Now bring me my pens. We have work to do.”

(Gonna need a new calendar)

Yesterday, in a fit of pique I gathered up my notebooks. I re-arranged my desk to group the works in progress to see all of what was in the pipeline. What has been in the pipeline for years. There are seven different notebooks, each with a different story. All of which I plan to write, get through at some point. I don’t ever, throw anything away. I even found a plan for another Devan Coultrie book. That, however, doesn’t feel very immediate. It’s not calling to me as much as the stack of notebooks are.

The plan today, was start on on writing project, that needs to be done by next summer. A contribution for an anthology, that can be up to ten thousand words. I have a plan, a process that I fancy testing out. Only for The Muse to sulk today, having grinned at me yesterday, like a crazy thing. I may give it a bash today. Though the The Muse does feel as though it is hungover. Understandable, as it’s been a busy year for writing.

I had planned to sit at my desk all today. To close the door, have my head phones and write as much as I could. Then I woke up, tired and bleary eyed. I have some recharging to do, I think. I probably shouldn’t push myself to create when The Muse isn’t feeling the best. I know that there are things to write, to conjure and create. But the conditions and contributing variables don’t feel write today. One of the many reasons I choose not to do Nanowrimo, is that it doesn’t feel right to work so intensely in a short period of time. As disciplined as I can be, about writing, I don’t think I’d cope with such a gruelling regime. I like having relatively unfettered, mostly organic process of writing. That’s why there are so many different notebooks; why there are often post-it’s stuck into them as I think of something to add or construct.

What I’m inclined to do, is sit here at my desk. Leaf longingly through the leaves of the notebooks, to try and enter the zone. To see what stirs The Muse. To pick up my pens, if moved to do so. I don’t really like deadlines, even when I have self-imposed ones. However, I do like to be disciplined when it comes to writing. I get really very frustrated when not able to conjure up figments of my imagination. I might have a bullet point, in a plan, to meet, and then have nothing floating across my mind.

To think, I missed a blog post yesterday, and want to make up for it today!

#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.

Inky and Instrumental

pens.png

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.”