Sunday, October 03, 2004

Quill and Quire

I took a major step back last week and picked up my fountain pen and paper journal again. Ahhh, feels good.

I have journalled for years with pen and paper, but last fall I decided to try something different and do most of my journaling on the laptop. I can type faster than I can write longhand, so I thought the laptop would give me more freedom and open up my writing. In a way it did, but there was something missing.

I love the feel of the pen in my hand and the sound of the nib gliding across the paper. The smell of the ink, and the texture of the paper, stimulate my thought processes like nothing else can and the slower pace I am forced to move at when I journal in longhand makes for more thought provoking writing. Deep thoughts and feelings come bubbling to the surface when I pick up my pen and often what is written there is the germ of my next blog or poem or other project.

I came to the conclusion last week that I needed both tools to write with. My fountain pen and silky paper for certain types of moody writing and the click, click, click of the keys and speed of the laptop for other types.

Writing with pen and ink is like priming the pumpfor me. I curl up in a comfy spot on the couch by the window and set my jounal out on on my lap. Splash! I open my pen and start to write the date and time at the top of the page. Splash! Splash! Stop to take a sip of coffe, glance out the window, write a few more words about what I am feeing, or what the weather is. Splash, splash, spalsh! Another sip of coffee and more contemplation then pen touching paper again and words sprinkling the page. Pretty soon the ideas start to flow fast and easy, and I am splashing around in the free flowing water of words. Total fun!

Writing with my laptop is a blast too, and often when I sit down to write about something, it takes on a life of its own and I end up in a place I never dreamed of going when I started to write. The laptop allows me to cut, paste and edit with ease, and I love that about it.

“There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up his pen and writes.” William Thackery

“You never know what you will learn till you start writing. Then you discover truths you never knew existed.” Anita Brookner

So, quill and quire or keyboard and screen, jump in and get wet, the water is fine.


Anonymous said...

That ink is doing an awful lot of splashing. Do you eed a bath?

Anonymous said...

Damn: that's "need."

JV said...

Hi Cuppa,

Nice post. I too go back and forth between writing longhand and typing. I agree that the answer is to do both, according to which feels right at the time.

Have you ever tried morning pages a la Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way?

Keep posting

Cuppa said...


Thanks for the comments.
Yes, I read Julia Cameron's book the The Artist's Way a few years ago and really enjoyed doing morning pages. I go through phases of being really faithful and doing them every morning, and then they slip away for awhile when things get busy and then I go back to them again. They do open up all the channels each morning and get the sludge out of the way so the ideas flow more smoothly that is for sure. Just sitting down and starting to write is the key. Touching the pen to the paper and starting is always the hardest part isn't it? Morning pages help us get in the groove and get started.

I have Julia Camerson's newest book "The Sound of Paper" and brought it up here to the farm to read during this little holiday. I will let you know what I think of it.

I really like the comment you put at the end of each of your blogs telling us to be kind to each other. It reminds me of a quote I am always giving to my kids and to myself. "Alway be kinder than you need to be"
YOu can't lose if you are kinder than you need to be in any situation. YOu just never know what kind of a life, the person you meet in a store or at work every day, is dealing with. Thanks for the reminder at the end of each of your blogs. We all need to hear it over and over again.
Talk to later.