Thursday, August 8, 2019

open windows

“You must know that if there are ruts,
you must jump your wheels out of them,
and if there is no language in which to reach
your audience, you must invent one.”

~ Austin Marsden Farrer, from Called to be Saints.


Pencil journals are for my flow of ideas, and the more pocketable, the better. The smallest Moleskine notebooks are very useful for this. I've been using their Boston themed journals, adding my own mementos to make these like scrapbooks.


My daily journals must be free of lines- completely blank. My mother taught me how to write before I learned in school; no guidelines or grids, thank you very much! My taste for fountain pens is thanks to my father. There are many good pens out there- such as Waterman, Dupont, Diplomat, and Cross, but for me there's nothing quite as smooth and solid as a Caran d'Ache.
Many good inks, too- such as Pelikan, Mont Blanc, Monteverde, Diamine, and- yes- Caran d'Ache.

Ballpoints are great for writing aboard jostling buses and trains, when I have to lean more into the notebooks. Waterman and Diplomat make nice ballpoints, but for many years Ballograf has been tops for me. The designer of these invented the push-button pen, and he also designed the pens used by astronauts in space. They are made in Sweden, and I bought the set in this photo in Norway. I use the .5 mechanical pencil for marginal notes.


As surely as I am my father's son, I love a good, dependable portable typewriter that can be taken anywhere. Nothing fits the bill quite like an Olympia. Durable and precise. I made the typecast pages above on a cursive-writing Olympia SM9. I do a lot of my writing on disc-bind paper, which snaps into Levenger binders. I've found this to be a great way to journal, and these items are easy to travel with. In the photo below, which I took in the Boston Public Library courtyard, you can see one of the Levenger binders decorated with a pencil motif!


A bit of the creative process: Here is the outline I wrote- at the Weston Priory- en route to the essay, "before us." The finished essay followed this sequence. The important thing was to write this down while I had the concept in mind.

The poem, "so they say" was sketched out in my graphite journal. I made many changes, based on how it sounded when I'd read it aloud. These pencil notebooks are ideal for designing my essays and collecting additional thoughts.



Bill M said...

Happy 13!
I was assigned to Engine 13 as a firefighter.
Those are some nice fountain pens. I need to give a Caran d'Ache fountain pen a try. Most of mine are Waterman Laureat pens.

I thought Paul Fisher inventor of the AG-7 Space Pen had the only pen in space. Space pens were used by NASA and the Russians. I've never seen any others mentioned on the NASA web site. Pencils and even crayons were, but the concern was always with dust and debris generated with the latter two. The AG-7 and a Pickett N-600ES is said to have landed the Eagle on the moon.

Sure wish I could write on unlined paper. You do great. My handwriting looks like chicken scratch even on lined paper most of the time.

I look forward to 14 an many more year. Keep up the great work.

speculator said...

Thanks so very much, Bill!

Here's the background on the space pen, whose technology was developed by Ballograf founder Friedrich Schaechter, an Austrian-Swedish artist and inventor:

Joe V said...

I always look forward to your posts. And I appreciate this overview of your working tools. Sometimes we can too gadget-oriented; but tools are important to the artist. Thanks again for the last 13 years blogging, here's wishing you many more.

speculator said...

Thanks so very much, Joe! I'm very grateful you're still reading!
I completely agree with you. I've rarely made tools into writing topics, but the more I chipped away at this one, the more sense it seemed to make.

crofter said...

Thanks for all the great writing you have shared with us over these many years to say nothing of the excellent photography and much inspiration! I think I’ve been reading your posts pretty much from the get-go, and I like the others always look forward to them with keen anticipation.

Thanks so much!

DJS said...

Dear Speculator, thanks a lot for sharing with us the info on the stationery tools you regularly use. What about your photographic tools? Best wishes from Spain.

speculator said...

More gratitude!

Crofter- I greatly appreciate your encouragement, every step of the way. I always enjoy your blog and adventures!

DJS- How wonderful that you are reading from Spain! You might have noticed my Carmelite series last year. I continue studying the life and work of San Juan de la Cruz. My photos are almost all done with a Canon A720is digital camera. My 35mm camera is a Rolleiflex SL35M. A number of the photos are actually on film which I scan.

DJS said...

Thanks for the photo info. I remember your posts on San Juan de la Cruz. I regard your blog as a place to find some rest and peace, to experience a kind of analog real life in slow motion... Keep posting, please. And congratulations for the 13-year mark!

Bill M said...

Thank you for the link to information on Friedrich Schaechter. I enjoyed reading about him. I wonder why he is not mentioned on the other sites, and it seems there is not a lot of information on line either. At least not as much as other folks and their work.

Johnny @ Pencil Revolution said...

Happy 13th! (I was away on vacation last week and missed the day -- drat!) Here's to hoping that we can meet in person and talk graphite sometime in the next 13 years. :)

Lissa said...

Journaling as a 'portable oasis' - I like that idea. I think writing is a pleasant experience and certainly writing one's thought is like expressing outward silently. I have not tried journaling though I did tried a bit of loose writing though I can't keep it up.

I love tools such as pens and pencils and typewriters especially in this digital age. Whenever I see a typewriter, I still sort of imagine a poet sitting in a corner of the street with a desk and a typewriter offering free poems, not even sure why I think of this.

I'm glad you're still writing and keeping up with this blog. I hope you continue this journey.

Have a lovely day.