Thursday, December 31, 2015

Failing

The practice of piety. The practice of music. The practice of calligraphy. These are exemplary pastimes. The practice of rereading the novels of Jane Austen. The practice of cookery. The practice of drinking coffee. The habit of worrying and of having other strong feelings about money. All these are vices. We must try not to write nonsense, our eyes will fall out.

In answer to all this my head falls off and rolls all messy and smeary across the floor
K E E P  T A L K I N G  squelch slop ooze

(Philip Whalen, I.i.67)

.

& with this in mind we head into 2016 ...

Monday, December 21, 2015


.

The Three Magi

(Rotring Calligraphy Art Pen 1.9
script derived from one by
Robert Boyajian
in 
Sixty Alphabets 
ed.
Gunnlaugar SE Briem
1986
tweaked in Adobe Photoshop Elements)

.

Peace & Goodwill
wherever 
you happen to be 
reading
.





Wednesday, December 09, 2015





It's been an interesting few days discovering a parallel universe of fountain pen design and nib taxonomy. Having received a new injection of enthusiasm for calligraphy from Monica Dengo's online materials, it occurred to me to find a 'quality' fountain pen that would allow italic script. Then the day to day drudge writing would acquire a new vitality and interest.

Art pens tend to be plasticky and severely italic with nibs that require the kind of care which prevents Byronesque currente calomo (is that the phrase? I remember reading some such phrase in connection with Don Juan - a flowing plume).

Entering into correspondence with someone at the delightfully entitled Pen Heaven I discover that there is a type of nib called 'italic cursive'. It gives the kind of thick/thin variation of stroke I'm after but with a greater tolerance of touch. Perfect.

So ... this afternoon I took the plunge and ordered the Lamy Scala with 1.1 'Joy' nib (pictured above). It should arrive for Christmas and I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, December 03, 2015


"If we concentrate our attention on trying to solve a problem of geometry, and if at the end of an hour we are no nearer to doing so than at the beginning, we have nevertheless been making progress each minute of that hour in another more mysterious dimension. Without our knowing or feeling it, this apparently barren effort has brought more light into the soul. The result will one day be discovered in prayer. Moreover it may very likely be felt besides in some department of the intelligence in no way connected with mathematics. Perhaps he who made the unsuccessful effort will one day be able to grasp the beauty of a line of Racine2 more vividly on account of it. But it is certain that this effort will bear its fruit in prayer. There is no doubt whatever about that."

(Weil, from Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God, c. 1942)

I wonder what the inspectors at Ofsted would make of that ... 

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

"Clearly, a political party busily seeking, or maintaining itself in power can discern nothing in these cries except a noise. Its reaction will be different according to whether the noise interferes with or contributes to that of its own propaganda. But it can never be capable of the tender and sensitive attention which is needed to understand its meaning." (Simone Weil, in 'Human Personality', 1942-3)

Especially pertinent given what is being decided tonight.


Tuesday, December 01, 2015

A belated encounter with the writings of Simone Weil (I've even learned - finally - how to pronounce her name - Weil = 'vay').

This, from the lengthy Introduction to the Penguin Anthology:

"The development of the society in which she found herself living in France in the 1920s and 30s had come about with more regard for speed than for meaning. It had substituted what she calls 'salaries' for realities. A 'salary' is anything by which a person can be made to believe that the future is not made out of exactly the same components as the present." (p 54)

Bull's eye.

. rrh'isOIV  ... a wasp just buzzed in through the Velux & went scrabbling across the desk & keyboard ... now up & ...