Monday, June 19, 2017

I Found My Nib!

It doesn't look like much, but combined with a holder that feels tailored to my hand, and everything works to my good. The combination makes for a perfect fit. Or perhaps, just maybe, my time has come. 

I told myself it's the horn that makes the difference, while shying away from the question, "Whose horn is it?" Elk? Ram? Goat? Chances are I shouldn't rock the boat. 

This time around I "practice with purpose." I'm serious. Dedicated, dedicated, dedicated.

I like everything about this horn nib holder from John Neal Bookseller. For some odd reason it reminds me of a pipe. One I smoked in another time. Long stemmed, although not as quite as long as this, with a small bowl and chamber, it held just the right amount of tobacco. I lit the tobacco with a bit of a stick that  lit quickly enough because it lay within prodding distance of the communal fire. If I toed it into the fire just before I wanted the comfort of my pipe, it lit well enough like a slow match catching flame. I smoked with the morning and evening fire; never on a hunt though. When I grew too old to hunt, I spent most of my time keeping watch on the young crawlers and toddlers; part of my job was steering them away from and out of the fire.

That streak of gray reminds me of the same large streak that catches the eye when people first notice me. It didn't spread much until it grew to the size of a fifty cent coin; then it acted like it had permission to free range. It spreads from my scalp and strays in a straight line into the same pattern found in a skunk's tail.

I made a deal with myself that I'd practice every day, even when I don't feel like it. The new practice pads make it easier this time around. They make all the difference between keeping a self-promise and merely intending and wishing. Stay tuned and I'll show and tell you why. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sandwich Bag Lady

Everywhere I look there's something to write about, something to write with, and someone to write to about whatever it is that needs writing about. Blessed are the readers, for they shall be written to. In a word? Thank goodness for good pen friends.

You don't mind what we write to you on, or with, or about. I never think twice about you responding, so I never wonder if my mail finds its way to you. Well seldom. Seldom do I wonder. 

I know you won't think a sandwich bag envelope is a strange thing. Strange is our thing. There's no such thing as "same old-same old" between us. Each letter, notecard, postcard, piece of mail art is a whole new adventure with words. 

There's room to spread out in a sandwich bag envelope.

An accordion pleat is just so neat.

The sandwich bag envelope takes fountain pen ink and dip pen ink like lotion takes to dry skin. No, it does not absorb it, it doesn't allow it to soak through--it embraces it topically. Yeah, topically. That's the best expression. Glue? Lineco all the way. Postage hugs it like a girdle hugged hips. Here's hoping The Mangler is kind. "How will I know?" wonders the Sandwich Bag Lady.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Oh, Dear

Like the little boy in the bathroom said, "We have a situation!" This is not a commercial.

Perhaps some of you can imagine how excited I was to open the cellophane and get my hands on the template inside. I was disappointed the moment my fingers touched the shiny surface. It was then that I knew in my letter writing self that it could not-would not live up to my expectations. I tried though.

Practice was involved. The outcomes did little to instill confidence in my latest acquisition. 

I won't prejudice you with details but . . . 

See? I let it rest awhile and tried again this hour. You won't believe what happened. I'll have to wait to show you tomorrow. My show-and-tell photos were taken in poor light. Somehow I always feel like taking pictures in poor light and when I'm in a great mood. Am trying to break the habit.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Too Good to Be True?

Stopped in for a shop at the Hobby Lobby where they greet you with a smile and a sincere, "How are you today?" Went for one thing. A single little bitty thing I couldn't go on without. Ended up not buying the thing 'cause it had doubled in price. I'd show you what I got instead but I'm saving it for later.

The rubber stamps were on sale for 40% off. I put back at least three that I could not justify buying. Wish I'd left the Polaroid one and gotten one of the others. Haven't tried the L yet, and wish I hadn't tried the white ink. It stinks. Made me sick. Seems they've changed the formula since the last time I bought white. I really do wish I'd gotten that Mason jar now. My plan? To fill it with smiles. Who wouldn't like a jar full of smiles, huh? sigh* 

ek has always been a go-to as a good, reliable, reasonably priced brand. They hooked me the moment I saw the little stencil at that price. It had to be too good to be true. 

Stay tuned for the show-and-tell moments.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Monday, November 21, 2016


Dear America,
How are you? I am well. How’s our president? I hope he is well.  His family, too. I know it’s been a long while since we wrote letters to each other, but maybe that will change soon. My hope is that instead of going the way of the dinosaur, letter-writing will catch on again. What do you think?
Remember when we learned how to write a letter in school? I think my first time was in the third grade. I forget my teacher’s name, but I remember how important I felt to writing a letter. I'd watched my parents do it since I could remember. Used to be when my mom wrote letters to her family back home, she always asked my sister Betty and me if we wanted to say anything. Of course we always dictated the same thing, “Say hello to grandmother, to Aunt Pauline, to Aunt Annie Pearl, and to Aunt Gloria.”  They sent their return regards in a one-letter reply by way of Grandmother’s letter to Mama. I used to ask for the pretty stamps on those letters. I have no idea why, seeing how I lost them before the day was over. 
Watching Mama writing made my mouth water. I didn’t think I could wait until I was big enough to write like her. I just knew that when I knew how, I’d write long chatty letters to everyone I knew. And, I’d use a fountain pen too, just like Mama. I loved her black fountain pen. Watching her fill the bladder with blacker-than-night ink convinced me magic was at work! 
When it ran dry, all she had to do was gently dip the shiny tip, called a nib, into the squat bottle of blue-black that bore a blue and gold label, lift a tiny brass colored lever in its side, and “slurp!” It sucked up ink until it was as full as my stomach got after I drank a whole glass of chocolate milk!
Once, when Betty was still napping and it was just the two of us, Mama said I could lift the lever to fill her pen. Oh, Little Girl Heaven was at hand! I tried. She held the pen. All I had to do was make the pen slurp. It wasn't as easy as it looked. My fingers were too little. My finger nails weren't long enough to slip below the dip the lever rested in. The disappointment was more bitter/sour than the alum I’d once sampled on the sneak. To this day my mouth still fills when I think back on that day. And although I own eight fountain pens, and none of them have bladders or shiny levers, I drag the emptiness of an unfulfilled promise across each page I write on. I have never owned a fountain pen with a bladder. Pen companies stopped making them long before I could own one. I used to haunt estate sales, Good Wills, antique stores . . . Always searching for the one thing I want more than an iPad. Feels like the mere memory of that particular failure holds onto the memory of puckering like it's a sidekick. I don't even have to close my eyes to see the bottle of ink or the label. It was Sheaffer's
Failure hurt but Mama made it better with a sweet promise of “Wait until you get to be a big girl, okay?” Like I’d be a big girl before her pen needed a refill. Still, I held onto those words until fountain pens were made obsolete by the ball point pen. That grossly inferior writing tool! Not a writing instrument but a writing tool. I held on until long after I was on a first name basis with the flavor and smell of envy every time I saw my teachers writing. They all used fountain pens. They filled out our report cards with fountain pens! Notes sent home were written with fountain pens! And, they all wrote the same beautiful cursive hand. I learned the coveted art I would spend years trying to master actually had a name. It wasn't just cursive. It was Spencerian. American Cursive was okay--just not on a par with Spencerian Script.
Spencerian Script. Rich, and elegant, and a thing worth coveting mastery of. Every classroom in every school I attended had thSpencerian alphabet printed on a green background. Surely the letters were permanently adhered to those walls, because they never slipped out of place or fell. The entire alphabet, and numbers one through ten hung there, so far above my head, nearer the ceiling, and closer to heaven than were my dreams of ever making them  flow from my own pen, or across my school girl paper--or yes Lord--them spell my name! Oh, the agony of being a first, second and third grader cursed with merely printing! 

Hope to hear from you soon.
Yours truly,
This Limner

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Still Woke

Still woke, or waiting to exhale? Sometimes I laugh. Sometimes I cry. Life never tells me the whens or whys. As long as I have friends to wish me well, I'll still find the point when I can exhale. Right? It feels right anyway. I read a post that reminded me how artists have an antidote to life's let-downs and falters. We create. I tend to draw when I'm in need of consolation. Thumbing through my journal reveals how I unconsciously work out my unspoken unrest through pencil and color. We have built-in release valves. How clever-cool is this? And, I read. 

This really is one of the greatest times to be alive. I remember my silly lamentations over having missed out on being a hippie, a bra burner, (the sexual revolution ?) a pot smoker, and a Black Panther, due to having been born at what I saw as the wrong time. Well, I was wrong. I got to go without a bra, and now wish that I hadn't ever worn one .  . . Okay, maybe not. But I've learned to love my itty bitties; I used to have a tee shirt with "They might be little but they're all mine," silk screened on the front. That tee was my way of sticking it to all the friends and family who teased me for being less than endowed with fluffy mammaries. They tried to make me feel less than because of my small cups. So, I missed out on the sexual revolution. Big deal. I missed out on contracting a host of STDs, and birthing a small tribe of young 'uns born out of wedlock, back when such things mattered. My life has been grand and stellar in its own right though. When I think on the things I've seen and done so far . . . the places I've gone . . . Well, hear me now when I say "I wouldn't give nothing for my journey."

My journey isn't over either. Neither is America's. I am my own final frontier, and goodness, but the horizon looks spectacular! I cannot "science the hell" out of anything, but I can sure create some good stuff, love some great people, learn, and read/write some pretty amazing mail. And, yes, I do have friends to wish me well. There's no need to exhale just yet either, since I'm not holding my breath. I breathe. In and out. In and out. In and out. I'm still woke. My yoke grows lighter with each passing day. I am on my way. See? I wrote some good letters. I wrote a short stack of mail. I've gotten some good written words in return, as the world turns. 

Stay woke.