Penmanship

For Christmas, Ben bought me a fountain pen and it changed the way I look at writing, transforming it from a task into an art form.
I know what you’re thinking: “what, like a quill and ink pot?” and: “why would you want that?” Well, the concept itself is quite modern, there’s even an entire subreddit about it!

Firstly, it’s not quite a quill and ink pot. I got the Lamy Safari fountain pen, which is considered a good introduction into fountain pens with refillable ink cartridges. It travels smoothly across paper, and really is a pleasure to use. See below a comparison of the Lamy fountain pen and a regular Bic ballpoint pen.

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Secondly, while $34 for a quality pen is more expensive than a pack of standard ballpoint pens, it has been more of a personal change than a stationary one for me. Using the fountain pen makes the experience of writing feel purposeful.

I spend a lot of time curating and getting my numbers up for this blog that I often forget that writing is meant to be calming, reviving and cathartic. I used to stress so much about writing to impress others that I stopped writing for myself. 

Having a pen that glides along paper is so relaxing to me, I’m often just rambling on until I come across inspiration, and if I don’t, that’s okay too. I’m sure there’s plenty of us who write dozens of pieces and only post one!  I know it sounds silly, but having this small memento of self-care reminds me that poetry is art, and that really, I’m an artist. It’s important to take time for yourself, and to create content you’re proud of–the pen and paper you use is the first step.

P.S. the penmanship examples are lyrics from the song Three by Sleeping at Last, which is about the struggle of the Type Three Enneagram that I wrote my poem, 10, about. Give it a listen!

Would you consider buying a quality pen?
What are some ways you keep yourself going during the dreaded writer’s block?

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20

The chorus within
swelled a rush of relief
a pendulum that had finally
acquired equilibrium

Tucking in my memories of you,
I slipped away quietly
into the night
with only so much as the
click of the door
behind me.

You gnawed through my wires
and instead of throwing you out,
I just kept buying more to replace
the ones you ruined.

I filled my home with ghosts
of all the traits I tried to make you into
of all the kind things I wished you’d say
hoping one day you’d
fill in the blanks;
all it left me with was
a haunted house.

A cabin, fevered
of seasons passing while I
stayed the same
my leaves, still in place
my flowers, still in bloom

You aren’t the sun
and I’m not just a
stained glass window
I am the moon, the stars
and you’re a telescope
and goddamnit,
you’re going to admire me.

19

Maybe I love you like
I love a friend’s photo albums:
distantly; a story apart from mine,
adoringly; happy for their happiness, or
curiously; questions I don’t
know the answers to.

Maybe I think of you like
a dream forgotten
by coffee brew.

But every afternoon at 3:39pm
hitting that midday wall
my sleepy yawn ignites a memory:
hard hands holding mine
dress shirts, hung neat
the clink of unmatched glassware

Dreamt dreams reminding reality
of a fever I couldn’t sweat out
of a nice heart I couldn’t melt
of a boy I swore I hadn’t met
but knew, somehow.

My mother warned me about him
while tucking me into
princess palace sleep:
“A hyena doesn’t always have
flesh in his teeth. Know enough
to stay away.”

But when the mercury rose too high
on that temperate thermometer
my mother also used to
keep me near a pot,
rolling boil, saying
“Stay as long as you can,
and you can sweat the toxins out.”

First Liebster Award!

What’s the Liebster Award?:

It’s an award in which bloggers nominate other bloggers for showing respect to their works and their dedication. It’s an appreciation and recognition for all the fellow bloggers out there in the blogosphere.

Rules:

A) Thank the blogger who nominated you in your blog post and links back to their blog.

Thank you Jay for nominating me! Even though you’re fresh on the scene (me too!) you’ve posted consistently and meaningfully–something that a lot of newer writers can’t quite seem to master. You also often use accompanying visuals to your posts, and it helps really convey that imagery, adding depth into your work. Thank you for everything you share!

B) Answer 11 questions that the Blogger asked you.

C) Nominate 11 new bloggers to receive the awards and write them 11 questions.

I’ve always seen these awards floating around and I’m so happy to finally receive one. I’ve only been live for four months, but I have about 1,200 followers that I love so much for their support. So hard to choose! These are the 11 blogs I am nominating:

https://thebeautifulmesste.wordpress.com/

https://eugenestickland.com/

https://emiratieyez.wordpress.com/

https://rjayofficialblog.wordpress.com/

https://dannstringer.wordpress.com

https://forresting365.com/

https://rodriyaki.com

https://meandmysimplethoughts.wordpress.com

https://norightnowrong.wordpress.com/

https://jdubqca.com

https://onewithclay.wordpress.com

Here is your questionnaire, my friends!

What is your earliest, happiest memory?
Describe your perfect afternoon.
Who do you call when you’re sad?
What was the best part of your week so far?
You’re about to paint. What’s the first colour you pick?
What does your favourite song make you think of?
What’s the name of the childhood friend you saw most recently?
Use the word “candlelight” in a haiku. Go!
What’s your best friend’s favourite hobby?
Who is someone you’re envious of?
Name three things you love about yourself.

D) List the rules and display the Liebster award logo in your post on your blog.

___________________________________________

If you were microscopically small what would you rather do and why?
A) Ski down a triple vanilla sundae
B) Row across a cup of hot chocolate on a marshmallow

I would definitely ski down the sundae! Not only does the alliteration satisfy me, but also because I love skiing anyway. The concept of rowing on a steamy mug of hot chocolate mortifies me, considering that I go to the gym a lot and I know for certain I am a very sweaty person. No one needs cardio to get any worse than it is!

Which do you prefer: Something cold to drink on a hot day or something hot to drink on a cold day?

Absolutely something cold to drink on a hot day—we keep coming back to me being sweaty! I find that summer days with a frosty gin and soda in hand has all these sweet memories woven in there. Also, I’m rarely ever cold. Hot drinks might be the tipping point in my body temperature.

Which one of the FRIENDS cast is your favourite and why?

I never really watched FRIENDS, but I know that I’m most similar to Monica. I’m very competitive, and everything I do must not only be the best I can do, but the best out of everyone. (I even wrote my poem, 10, about it!) Also, we’re both obsessive; something must be finished, polished, and most importantly, perfect.

If money was not a problem, what profession would you choose?

Something involving public speaking or singing! I love the stage and the euphoria of the first breath before the speech or the song begins.

Why did you start blogging? What keeps you going?

I originally went to university for English for two years, but found that the content wasn’t practical to consider for a career. I began a degree in public relations this year, and found myself with dozens of journals filled with stories, screenplay concepts and poetry I was still churning out—but no creative outlet to convey them on. I created this blog, elleguyence (a combination of my first and last name, pronounced Elegance) as a home for my words, and to find comfort in other writers. Like a puzzle our words fit into so neatly, the community is what keeps me going.

List 5 things on your work table.

Describe your favourite piece of clothing? How long have you had it?

Maybe my band camp shirts! I’ve had them since I went in high school. They just have this homey, comforting memory connected to them, of rustic cabins, music, songwriting, harmonizing, rock climbing.

Which is your most treasured childhood memory?

It would 100% be National Music Camp of Canada. I went because I wanted a more immersed musical experience that my high school didn’t offer. I paid my way, went alone, and to my shock I made friends I still talk to! I learned how to harmonize, create new music, and really just ease into how to be your own person, starting over with complete strangers. Plus, no social media and no phones! Just summer, trees, lake, and hundreds of inspiring artists that became my friends to brag about.

Who is your idol? (It could even be a fictional character)

I just finished reading Portia de Rossi’s Unbearable Lightness, and it was one of the first times I’ve really felt connected to a book. Her discussions about disordered eating and the pursuit of being perfect really resonated with me. She also talks at the end about how she has overcome adversity, and learned to stop thinking of foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, but that at the end of the day, it’s all fuel. She is so inspiring and raw, I hope anyone who has ever suffered from these hurdles can find comfort in her. And read her book!

Which according to you is your most under rated blog post that should have gotten wayyyy more likes than it has?

I actually really enjoy 1. It came from a place of sadness in a relationship I was too young at the time to grapple with. I didn’t understand what addiction looked like, or how it could bleed into me. I still think it’s a great piece of work, but I also used it as my pilot for this blog—so I’m not too surprised it’s not as popular as my recent work.

Complete this sentence using at least 4 words: Life is not merely…

Life is not merely time in versus time out. Take a sick day, and don’t tell Instagram.

18

A story I’m ashamed to tell:
of red dots under eyes
popped blood vessels
counting the minutes left
after delicious dinnertime
to keep myself in check
to a schedule I created.

The unabridged tale
of satisfying my hunger with another’s envy
“Whatever you’re doing, keep at it!”
“You’re looking better everyday!”
“You’re so small!”
so so so so small

The strive to be size zero
my superficial goal to be
the bottom of a spectrum
to be loved, not revered
not an economist or a journalist,
just skinny.

On display: my greatest play
if the numbers on my plate aligned just right
it would create constellations of compliments
and everyone would finally
love me.

Every morning, I wished to lose more
even if it meant
the weight of my mind.

The Sparknotes of a novel I wrote
where flattery was food
and everyone wanted to know my diet secret
but no one cared to read cover to cover,
only the summary I fabricated
so I could fit into the clothes I thought
they wanted me to.

17

The overwhelming ache in your stomach
of missing a memory in real time:
summer camp planetarium
status: away from keyboard
phone left at home
sorry, no wifi
looking for: validation
arising from stoking my own flame

August night, northern town
guided telescope
they told us using red flashlights
keeps our night vision unhindered
and boy, could I ever see

Salt shaker, spilled
stars, meteor shower
car splashes pothole
stars like mud splatter on my jeans
and I’ve become the canvas.

An archive of my life spent
trying to get sons
to like me
that starry summer, I prayed
those dead suns were proud of me, instead

Boys used to tell me I gave them a hard time, boasting,
“I’ve never met a flame I didn’t like,”
but they didn’t know I was fire
or maybe I was that red flashlight
doing exactly what was needed,
on my own terms.

16

The anatomy of confidence:
be as brave as wolves
who call out in the darkest nights
when they know they need help.
Grasp loneliness by the reigns
and never bring it home.

Trudge the unpaved paths
grab your tools from the shed
and build your own defences.

Be unapologetic and call it
self preservation.

You don’t have to be a soft blanket
others find refuge in
when they’re too cold.
You’re allowed to be knitted of the same
kind fibre fabric
and also be brash to those who
kick you off the bed once they’re asleep;
who only hold you when they need you.

Wear your past and shortcomings as a quilt
you remove when it gets too hot.
You are a nation of white blood cells
defending yourself until your dying day
So tuck into your own blankets
put your phone on silent
ignore your door, knocking
and fall back asleep.