Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Magic of Writing

As a calligrapher I get paid to write. From a birthday card to a large poem, with or without flourishes, sometimes with gold leaf and sometimes without. Whatever the commission, they have never felt like work to me. But beyond my routine of teaching and commission work, I write for the joy of writing. It may be in a journal. I bring a Blackwing journal and a Sky Blue .04mm Slicci pen with me on my walks. Sometimes I find a spot to sit and read the words of John Muir. I take a few minutes to record some of his illustrative passages. His words are peaceful and meditative and lend themselves to the gentle rhythm of handwriting. This month marks nearly a year of teaching handwriting classes at Phidon Pens in Cambridge. I've lost track of how many students have gone through the program. This morning, we will continue our handwriting classes while a new class in Letter Writing is launched this afternoon. I can only describe the process of writing letters as magic, enchanting or charming. The thought to engage with a friend or colleague hits me out of nowhere. I pen my thoughts on paper. I letter an envelope to help carry the thoughts across the miles to my friend. As I walk the letter to the post office, it begins its journey. I never know when it will land on my friend's doorstep or what type of day they are having when they read the letter. A simple pleasure and a simple joy that we can share that is non-technical and so graceful. As much as I love the convenience of my computer, email and technology, my letter writing is a push back against the harsh digital glare of a screen. A glimpse back at a gentler time that I know I have romanticized. I travel to my class this morning armed with dozens of letters that I have received over the years. Thank you to all who have written to me and thank you for the pleasure that you bring to me when I sit at my desk to write back.

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