Thursday, October 4, 2018

Reverie on Writing

Today I find myself reflecting on the merits of the fountain pen. As I walked to the bus stop on my way to work I was caught in a reverie about all the great literature of the world that was produced with a simple pen.

Consider the following list of documents and books written with a quill or a pen: The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Magna Carta, Poe's The Raven, Moby Dick, Beowulf, Beethoven's Nine Symphonies, Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, Mozart's The Magic Flute, The Essays of Francis Bacon, the travel journals of Sir Richard Burton, the Kama Sutra, the Perfumed Garden, The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass, the Book of Kells, the Maleus Malificarum and The Golden Bough to name but a few. In later years writers like Hemingway, Hesse, Mann, Camus and Sartre turned out great literature on their Remington or Underwood typewriter. I don't mean to suggest that great literature can only spring from an archaic form of committing words to paper. There are many important works being created on personal computers, though I'm hard pressed to name any at the moment.

The process of writing by hand is organic and meditative and some believe that hand written letters have the power to heal; both sender and recipient. The pen, the ink, the paper, stamp, wax seal join together in a poetic dithyramb of beauty. Add a bit of fragrance on the note to a loved one and the olfactory sense is awakened. As a calligrapher the hand written letter is very important to me; it's not only practical in terms of the lettering that grace certificates but is a thing of beauty in and of itself.

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