My Pen and I

Do you remember your fountain pen? Remember again.

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When Words Bite You


One of the biggest fears of those who write their own words is that someone else will read them. This is a serious occupational hazard for us author types. It is a serious concern for all who dare to create their own words, regardless of their purpose. It happened to me yesterday, and I am still in the midst of that particular conundrum.

I have been working on a series of articles intended to be published as a "guest" author (Now there's some pressure for ya!) for someone else's political web activity. I am (among other things) a political advocate. I teach online for a couple of rather well-known universities in America. I teach and advocate for grassroots activist organizations.

In my last post here, I said that I am not currently involved in writing a novel. That is true. The problem is that I am actively involved in writing what may eventually become a book. In fact, when putting my latest words into text I included the statement: "If you are looking for the bibliography, wait for the book."



Book? What book? Didn't I just publish a declaration that there was no book on my radar?

Well, sometimes you can write words that take on a life of their own. Just because you write them doesn't necessarily (Get this, it is important!) mean that you are accurately interpreting your own thoughts!

For instance, let's pretend you have written and mailed a personal letter to one of your best friends. (After all, wouldn't someone have to be at least a very good friend to receive one of your hand written letters?) Let's further pretend that friend calls you a few days later.

The friend seems upset, angry.

"What did you mean by writing __insert words here__?!!"

You suddenly find yourself in the midst of my conundrum. We have all been there. We will all been there again, with our fountain pen. Maybe, after all, that is why we use the term "fountain"! It is a fountain of words. "No, Virginia, it is not just about ink any more!"

That is, after all why we spend quality time considering the choice of words we write, isn't it? Isn't that one of the highest quality reasons for spending that time? Well, if we are thoughtful writers it is. But hand writing isn't quite like typing on a keyboard to be read on a screen. This is an important point to be considered here.

With a letter, the recipient is actually holding the words you wrote. So, at least in that particular regard, yours is not just a two-dimensional (and we think wrongly, therefore a defensible excuse for) communication where the timbre, or the qualitative value of your chosen words cannot necessarily be accurately interpreted by the reader. It may be true that the reader cannot actually "hear" you utter the word(s), but they certainly will interpret what you write. How they do so is, in larger part, up to you. But, it is not entirely within your capability. After all, they count, too.

It is, therefore imperative that you create your words in such a way that will give the very best opportunity for what you wrote to be correctly "heard" by your reader. For writers, this is the guts of the craft.

"I know you believe you heard what I said, but..."

Writing is all about communication. Like spoken language, writing is also about correct communication.

Hand write this ten times:

I do not need my words to be so clear that they are understood. I need my words to be so clear that they cannot be misunderstood!

(You are welcome.)

Believe me. You can choose your words poorly. Don't.

A quickly composed (Ah, there's the word I need!) email, whipped through the ether and quickly forgotten is one thing. Hand writing a thank you card or a letter is "an equine of a completely different hue ".

One of my favorite hobbies is noticing those marquees at the front of Churches, or reading Church bulletins. We all know why. And, yes. I do LOVE to laugh. For instance:

"Would those attending the Weight Watcher's meeting this Wednesday night please enter and leave through the double doors to the Fellowship Hall?" (Read in a bulletin)

"Don't beat your children. Let us help." (On a Church marquee)

Miscommunication is a real thing. It is also one of the reasons people are so very hesitant about hand writing... anything! (Ask a criminal defense lawyer about evidence!) While it is statistically unlikely you will ever need to concern your hand with this possibility, consider the young girl composing an apology to her Mother, or the young man writing a first love letter. Consider yourself.

Compose the words you hand write with your fountain pen. Somehow, they just seem to last longer than an email. Have you secreted away those hand written letters you received so long ago from that special someone? Have you read them lately?

Reading your own words can be revealing, or even prophetic.

I would go on about this, but I've got a book to write. Why? Because,

Writing Is FUN!





Finding Words To Write

Having spent several decades keyboarding exclusively, my recent return to the act of handwriting with a fountain pen has left me a bit flummoxed. Wanting to write, I had some (Since confirmed) misconceptions about the writing itself. This in and of itself has brought me to understand that the written word is writing of substance. Words, no matter how trivial, seem to take on additional "weight". Again, the words themselves matter. Is this real? Or is it merely mental floss?

I have written in my bullet journal. I have written in my Diary. I have written a couple of letters to family and friends. It is just different than whipping out a quick email. 

In order to improve my hand writing, I have searched for words to write. Copying poetry, meaningful documents, quotations, etc. have helped me literally "see" the weaknesses of my present handwriting. But cursive writing, and most especially with a fountain pen, is a moving reality. Spencerian script is carefully formed artwork to my mind, whereas Palmer script is designed and meant to be a faster-moving script that creates--among other things--speed in accuracy. I presently have no idea for or intention to write the next novel. How does one, regardless of the words written, create flowing movement at speed?

One of the arguments against writing cursive script has been proffered by active academic students, who say that cursive writing is too slow! Notes must be taken quickly, as many instructors move "at speed" in their lectures. Could it be that this is a legitimate test of my theory about the heft of handwriting? I decided to study a course and find out.

The course I have enrolled in can be found here. It is a course local to my areas of study and interest called "Morality In Politics". (How's that for a doubly redundant oxymoron?)

Yes, I do in fact recommend this course to you. If you are working on your hand writing, this is a course rife with notes to be taken. It is also quite interesting--at least I believe so. I do submit the idea to be a good one. I will let you discover your course of choice, and invite you to join me in the handwriting journey. I'd love to literally compare notes with you. 

This is a bit of a beefy option, but one I feel to be important to my handwriting journey. As the complaints against the form have, to a very large degree affecte the instructional elements within education itself, it is also reasonable to go to that forum itself and test the premise. Why was cursive writing removed from educational standards in the first place? Why is cursive writing being hurriedly re-introduced into that same educational platform? This could be interesting, and even entertaining, because,


Writing Is FUN!


Plenty To Write Aout--If You Are "Into" It!

In the words of one comedian: "It's a crazy world, and I'm a happy guy!"

For observers of the condition of the world, there is plenty to observe. On this day, that is more than true. I believe it is imperative that observers of the goings on from the Court House to the White House, and beyond should must write their views and opinions (factually, of course) as visibly as possible.

I do so on several sites across the internet, and will do so on this day. It will definitely take more than a day to accomplish that particular task. Some will say that my particular political leanings will heavily influence my observations. And so they will, but I must be clear about the observations I make, and more importantly why they are so. Facts matter. I do not write politically due to a particular political philosophy (although I definitely have them!). I write my observations from the viewpoint of "Citizen". Politically motivated? No. Politically aware? Most definitely. 

I say this because I have chosen this year to write (at least my drafts) by hand, with one of my fountain pens. That is what this blog is (or at least should be) about. I have not completed those drafts, but I have begun them. I already notice a desire to write legibly that is much stronger than it has been in a very long time. I want my words to matter, but I most want them to be legible. How can you discuss what someone has written if you cannot read their writing?

It sounds so simple, but so does the concept of writing. Should I simply write in print for legibility? 

I think not. Consider the very concept of hand writing itself. Everyone knows how to do this, don't they? And then consider the idea of hand writing in legible script. Everyone knows how to do this, don't they? 

I know what my answers are to these two simple considerations--at least for myself. I am uncomfortable with the answers when applied to me. My discomfort transliterates to anger as I consider the reflection I see in my own script handwriting. A Bullet Journal won't solve that problem.

I have come to believe that "dressing up" a bullet journal, for instance is not to enhance the purpose of the journal itself. For me personally, the purpose for my bullet journal is to organize and expand my living experience, not garner likes and views on YouTube. (YMMV)

For me, if it isn't for the social media aspect (which is, I think perfectly reasonable and acceptable) then what is it with all the Washi tape, etc, and incessant "doodling" in a Bullet Journal--and even more, to do so with a video recording of what you are creating (or what you created, which is much more often the case?) in a bullet journal, a diary, or a ?? Isn't this very blog evidence of my social intentions with my handwriting?

I have a theory, heretofore untested. I submit that all those non-words exist to hide and distract from the lousy writing which eventually appears on the "spreads" of so many journals. 

I am not going to be one of those writers!

I have no innate dislike for those who display their creativity anywhere near their journals! If you want to become a social media maven, have at it. I will observe, comment and most often enjoy your (what I think is) misplaced artistry.

As so many have done, you too may well discover to your horror and sadness that success, and especially success in business (social or otherwise) is not diminished by the presence of the internet as opposed to a place where you go to work. Your "business" success online is intensified by it--and that is what so many online bullet journalers discover.

Success is hard work. Many (most) fail at business. That is the nature, I think, of business. It isn't even supposed to be easy. 

Success in hand writing isn't either. It is artistic by definition. You are creating.

I just simply cannot personally choose mediocrity in anything. I wasn't built that way. My Mother was a Journalism professor. My father was a politician and lawyer who made his way by creating the correct words, at the correct time, in the correct manner. Both were quite successful at this endeavor. They embued their offspring with the love of learning, of writing words that matter. In the beginning, I owed them my very best effort. 

Now, I owe it to myself. I have ignored it, to my shame. I choose not to ignore it in 2019. That is why this blog, and my handwriting endeavor exist today.

"It is no big deal; it's just writing!"

I'm sorry. Civilization would argue otherwise. So would I.

How about you? What do YOU think about it? Leave a comment, and let me know. I'm generally a happy guy, too.

It is the simple task of picking up a fountain pen and considering the words I would put on paper with it that has caused this blog post. I think that is simply amazing.

Writing Is FUN!


For You It Is the End Of The Year. For Me It Is My Birth Day!

I suppose on this day many folks are ruminating about the year just completed. Personally, I don't think I can bear that. While to be sure that would give anyone willing to do the work plenty of writing fodder (and make a great writing prompt for this day), this also happens to be my 63rd Birth Day celebration! I've made it right to the very verge of "Geezer", and I'm fairly ambivalent about it. 2018 was a year chock full of remembrance. As a passable history buff with a special interest in military history, I have been close to many remembrances of World War I, "The Great War". 

I am an American, so much of my perspective comes from an American lexicon of those momentous events. I have been much more interested this year in seeing that time from other perspectives, primarily from among the other major combatants. One of the most striking things to me about the remembrances of this past year have come from the British perspective. We have many memorials to our fallen here, but there is something remarkably "honoring" in the way the Brits have pulled this year together. For them, this is a mostly current event amidst what is, for the UK a turbulent time. It has been remembered as a deeply personal event. Behind them has been, in my view, France. Germany has not had a lot to say about this war. Russia has celebrated the Great Revolution. America's has, I feel been more of a muted response. That is what may seem to be a long way to arrive at my point, but I do feel that context matters. 

I look back to 2018 in my life with a muted response. I do not wish to experience 2019 with a muted response at all. I wish to dare to be bolder in my living, and in my life in 2019. As of my exact time of birth, it has taken 364 days, 23 hours and 55 minutes to achieve what most have already achieved this year: a birth day celebration. I believe that 2018 has been, more than not, a year of constant reflection on current events in my life, and in my world. I do not believe the world, my country, my fellow citizens, or even I myself have fared particularly well in 2018. The reasons and the realities, as they say are legion. 

I have re-discovered the joy of putting pen to paper, and in 2019 I fully intend to be the recipient of as much of that joy as possible. I have pen, paper and ink. I have a Bullet Journal, and a Diary/Journal to map the landscape before me. I hope to have fellow travelers along with me either for a moment, or for a time. It just seems to me as though journeys are better when shared.

Today stands as a starting line more than a finishing line for me, personally. As I have stated in other places, the things I want to complete in 2019 revolve around one particular goal: To make you think differently. Agreement or disagreement with what I or others say is interesting but it is--finally--navel gazing. What you or I DO in 2019 will matter much! I want this year coming to be filled with mattering moments, whether they be of joy or sadness, triumph or tragedy (and there will be no shortage of any of these, and more), ending on December 31st 2019 with some milestones that are significant in a very real and personal way. 

Yes, the writing will matter to me. It should. Your writing should matter to you. Whether or not my writing is ever witnessed by another human is not the issue, for I write first for myself.  If that is seen by those who will read my words in one hundred years (perish the thought!), that more than anything else is what I hope they "see" from my writing. My words mattered to me. I hope they will see my dedication to those things that truly matter to me. I hope they will sense just a bit of my humor, my hope, and my absolute conviction that anyone can achieve their dreams. Or find better dreams to achieve. Lofty perhaps, but true for me. 

Anticipation. Commemoration. Remembrance. Fulfillment. Expectation. How does one purvey this in their writing? That's the journey for me and the writing I will write, every day in 2019. I do truly hope you will, too because

Writing Is FUN!


On My Writing for 2019

My Parker Urban Fountain Pen

December 28th, 2018

This pen, the Parker Urban (F) with stainless steel nib is, and will always be my "first" fountain pen of the 21st century. I have other pens available, and more pens coming soon. My wonderful diary from Sacred Lotus Love has arrived, and is simply wonderful. Lined dark cream pages (240) with date line at right top, cover which is art itself, and a handmade pen leather sleeve present simplicity itself. 

That is one of the goals for my 2019 writing journey: simplicity. 

I will not be putting the words I write (generally) into this blog. Duplication is complexity. I will however write here about the process and the journey. How often, I cannot yet say with certainty. Today, I will be ordering my Bullet Journal for 2019 from Goulet. I will spend time today designing that Journal. It is presently a very confusing process. The possibilities are endless. Several YouTubers have spent countless hours and days describing and showing their "minimalist" journals. 

My journal will not be artsy, or complicated. I need it not to be. Very few trackers for instance. One, however will be tracking my handwriting practice every day with my various fountain (and others for practice, including the reliable #2 pencil) pens. I have ordered, and received Michael Sully's ptome on handwriting and will follow the lesson plans beginning on January 1, 2019. I would love to encourage you to invest in your handwriting and purchase this amazing volume. I am not exactly sure how to explain this next bit, but I will give it a try. Your mileage may vary (YMMV).

PHoto courtesy of

By merely reading through this book, my handwriting is already showing signs of improvement!

I am extremely nervous about even attempting to correctly write my name and the year in the lead page of my Diary. I don't want to mess it up! It is, to me so very beautiful. It deserves my very best handwriting, with the proper ink. I want an ink that complements the darker ivory pages. Monteverde Canyon Rust is my choice so far, but it is a darker brown. I am afraid the words will not be quite so distinguishable from the page. Green is not a color I prefer. Black is dirt common even with a great black ink. 54th Massachusetts may be the final winner. One of the things about the diary is that I do not have to "stick" to one and only one ink. I can see that completed Diary, and it seems to become boring after a while with only one--even if nice and complementary to the Diary--ink. 

I am aware of my "First Rule" for improving handwriting: SLOW DOWN!

I am thinking that this may be why I am seeing improvement in my handwriting today. I'm not judging the process, or the result. I am working the system for good handwriting. (If I can figure out how to do it, I will post photos occasionally to measure my progress.) Sull's volume agrees with me. Today (or tomorrow) I will copy practice pages and worksheets for the first three or so lessons. I won't share them here, but I will write about them to share with you the process. I have to concentrate on the forming of letters. I have to write about the process. I have much to write about in my Journal, my Diary, and in the several presentments which feature my writing work. 

The New York Times did a "puff" piece (my opinion) highlighting the opening of the new Lamy Store in New York City that was published yesterday. 2.8/5.0. I'll have more to say on it later, because I am 62+ years of age (until 12/31/18), I have opinions, and I don't necessarily keep them to myself. 

Sully will help me improve my handwriting. My pens, inks and papers will help me love even more the useful art of handwriting. That activity will help me here, writing with and for you. But, I must not get bogged down with the process or lose focus on the intended outcome. I must write words, every day. Those words must have meaning and purpose

I do not need, nor do I (necessarily) seek your approval and/or agreements with the completed words I write, dear reader. What is the purpose, then of my writing...anywhere?

It is not for your agreement. It is for your intentional action. I want and will work very hard in my writing in 2019 to change the way to think! I want to write effectively to the point that you will come to change the way you live in relation to whatever it may be that I am writing about. After all, isn't that the purpose of writing? Yes, it actually is if you follow the rules of handwriting: Slow Down. Practice. Write intentionally. 

Isn't that why communication happens?

Postal cards. Greeting cards. Thank you letters. Business correspondence. Journalism. Ad nausem, these are just a few of the outlets we have for handwriting intentionally. Letters to friends and loved ones, Letters to the Editor, Letters to our electeds. Mystery novels. Sermons. Educational output. Journals (Action!). Diaries (Reflection). Blog posts. :)

All of these and so many more handwriting opportunities represent to me the "payoff"" for all the work I do, and especially for all the writing that I  do. Yes, the relaxation, the creative flow, and the pure joy of handwriting are all benefits I expect to experience. But if my writing does not change the way you think about a thing, why do it?

It is building. I can feel it in my soul. I have the three materials I need. I have a path to a process leading to successfully improving my handwriting: One of my three primary goals for 2019. I am falling in love, again with handwriting. I may have to silence my advocacy among family and friends. I do not have to do so here. I will not do so here. Why? Because

Writing Is FUN!





Copyright © 2018 Grand Organ Productions LLC
All Rights Reserved

2019 Is Getting Closer!

Something happened today that has me strangely excited. 


I received notification that the Journal I have chosen for 2019 has been shipped. I will have only a few days to set it up, and first I must decide how it is going to function, look, and work.. See the 7 year old, tongue out, eyes wide in anticipation. That's how I honestly feel at this moment.. I searched high and low for just the write one. I think I have found it. You can click the link and get the scoop. I can smell it! 

I've finished wrapping the presents. Today I will bake some home-made goodies and fill the stockings. Yes, fountain pens will be in them. Santa told me, that's how I know!

It is strange, and I must tell you just a bit disconcerting to be feeling this way. Even a month ago, I would never have imagined I would be so intensely interested in this topic, or this activity. But, I am just as excited as the day I received my first journal and fountain pen from my Mother for the Christmas just before my 8th birthday. I am off to draw some diagrams, and play with some paper and ink. 

Are you journaling in 2019? I sure hope so, because I can tell you upon the best authority it is going to be an amazing journey! I sincerely hope to share it with you. I absolutely hope you will share it with someone you know and love. Not only will it change lives, it may just change the world! 

Merry Christmas!


Copyright © 2018 Grand Organ Productions LLC
All Rights Reserved

My Pen And I


It should be an easy thing to remember, but I do understand if it is a bit "wordy". The web is becoming a bit crowded these days. 

That is to be expected, however. More than 1,000,000 new websites are created every day. These days, though, the problems exist in those websites that are being abandoned in the millions at an even faster clip. It takes about a year before the web decides you really mean it when you leave a website to die a lonely death. I've done it many times myself. At various times, I didn't even know how many web sites I had, or blogs I was writing in. It kind of got crazy. I had to slow down. 

Interestingly enough, that is what helped me create this blog, and this (eventually!) web site. I did slow down. I picked up a fountain pen for the first time in decades, and began writing with it in a daily journal. I discovered that I had first to practice my hand writing skills. I hadn't forgotten, I was just rusty. I still am. That's why I created this website. I do know several things:

1. I am not alone. From the youngest to the oldest, we are in desperate need of slowing down virtually everything. 

2. I became concerned some time ago when a young friend of mine informed me I could not write cursive to her because she had not learned it in school (when she is currently in High School, mind you!) and could not read it. Yes, she is moving at the speed of the internet. She has no idea in what direction the internet is taking her, or why. 

3. Sound familiar?

This site will attempt to continue the recent trend BACK to the fountain pen. This will be (I truly hope) a shared journey, and a shared story. You are cordially invited to participate with a journey back to the wonder of hand writing with a fountain pen. It is not necessarily expensive. Anyone can do it. All it takes is a notebook and a fountain pen with some ink in it.

You can be slow moving, and grow at a pace comfortable for you. Imagine that! You can write about anything you fancy as you practice your writing skills. I blog. I keep a Bullet Journal. I write Journal entries every day in a real notebook. I have many interests and active writing life-strong events with post cards, letters, and diary entries. I do not intend to become a fountain pen collector, but I do intend to have and use several less expensive fountain pens. You can purchase them online for less the $2 USD--ink included. You can purchase a writing instrument (fountain pen) for $80,000.00. I won't be joining you at that level, but there are an ever-increasing number of afficianados and collectors who will happily greet you when you choose to open that door.

I hope we can begin at the beginning, together directed by our love of hand writing, a passion many of us older types once held dear, and should do so again. We have several generations to catch up with the wonderful task of hand writing with a fountain pen. I hope you will help me in this endeavor wherever you live, and at whatever level you find comfortable. Share in the conversations, find something useful and share it here. Mentor a younger person--hey, listen. On December 31st, I will be 63. There are plenty younger than I who I think should be examining their reality versus their "online presence". Slow down. Focus. Dedicate yourself to discovering the joys, wonders, and creative genius of the fountain pen. After all,

Writing is Fun!


Copyright © 2018 Grand Organ Productions LLC
All Rights Reserved




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