I wrote two pages in my Nanami Paper Seven Seas journal yesterday morning, as I always do. Then I took my 2.5 mile walk, as I always do. These two things are a combination that never fails to clear my head so that I go into the day (mostly) calm and focused. Except for yesterday. I felt edgy and agitated as I wrote and my mind ricocheted all over the place as I walked.

WHERE IS MY PEACE?—I yelled, internally, in a not-very-grounded way.

I flipped though my mental Rolodex looking for an answer. Was it Covid, pre-election jitters, sadness over not seeing my dad in his nursing home for eight months? While all those things are possible reasons for how I was feeling, they’ve all been true for months and I’m typically able to shake them long enough to write and walk and find that core of inner stillness.

That elusive, desired core.

Then it dawned on me. The pen I’d picked to write with was one that wrote finer and drier than I enjoy. I even cleaned it and swapped inks in the middle of my journal entry to see if that would help. It didn’t really, but I kept going. I had to press harder to see the wetness of the ink on the page, to catch a glimpse of that red sheen I so enjoy. I had to bear down harder with both my hand and my mind. The pen writes perfectly fine for jotting down notes or even writing a letter, but lacks that good wet effortless flow that journaling requires. My mind felt as tight and cramped as the pen’s stingy line. It choked and sputtered and started pinging around to all of its perceived grievances and difficulties. My mind. Not the pen.

Today I wrote with a broad wet nib and page after page of things to be grateful for flowed out of me. My walk was a bitterly cold one, but I found the inner warmth that I was longing for yesterday.

I found flow. In a pen, and in my mind.

7 thoughts on “Flow

  1. Isn’t it fascinating how having the wrong pen/ink/paper combination can have such a strong effect on us? Personally, I’d love your finer, drier pen for my journal and nothing would aggravate me more than wet ink lying on the page or (oh, horror of horrors!) blobbing in the loops of the letters I was writing like I saw on a YouTube video recently. (Surely that was what they used to call a ‘video nasty’.) I’m glad you’re back to enjoying your choice of pen and ink for your journal and can relegate your less favoured pen to the tasks that you like to use it for.

  2. Sounds like a breakthrough, and an enlightening one. Thank you for sharing. I have troubles writing with too juicy a pen, I keep smearing what I’ve written.

  3. Pingback: Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – November 1, 2020 | Fountain Pen Quest

  4. So, I used these Wexford composition books from Walgreens, and their finish is sometimes so strong that it chokes the flow of ink, kind of like trying to write on a glossy surface. But I didn’t even think of that! I cleaned the pens; flushed; sent off to fountain pen nib workers, until I finally figured it out.

    Now I’m using large nibs and pilot ink. flow is returned and all is right with the world! Thank you for the post.

  5. But what if that finer dryer pen was meant to be, and by subverting it you missed the lesson you were meant to have? What could have been…

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