I Dream In Cursive

Before we left for Sanibel I said I was looking forward to being warm, reading and writing with a pen. I brought a fresh Moleskine and my fountain pen with me, but I wasn’t so sure there would be the time or the inclination to pen write.

I love writing with a pen though. I love the smoothness of it, that tactile hand/eye thing it requires, the ease of it. I feel more rooted when I write than when I type. And even though my handwriting has devolved into this horrible cat scratch where I slur my letters almost beyond legibility, cursive is still my native tongue.

I think more clearly when I write with a pen. I dream in longhand, not in keyboard. I have ink in my blood, not key strokes.

I can tell instantly what my mood was when I penned something.  I can tell by the sheer lexigraphical look of a page if I was hot on the trail of an idea, or slowly hammering one out.

I can tell if my thinking was slow and deliberate that day, or riffing all over the place just by looking at my handwriting.

I so want to love the keyboard, though. It makes life infinitely editable, legible, save-able and archivable.  But for me, the keyboard will always remain my “second language.” I will never be as fluent typing as I am writing in cursive.

On vacation I did write with my fountain pen. And today I took up with it again. I scribbled, cat-scratched, mind-slawed, and word-vomited myself to a more discursive place and found a distinctive tone.

“Just go,” I told myself.  “Write. Write like an artist paints. Find a new door into this closed project. Find the right color. Write your way in.”




I put the velvet comforter on the bed the other day and and I’ve been craving gingerbread, and ginger snaps, pumpkin spice lattes, and pot roast.

This weekend we had a fire in the fireplace for the first time. The cat, who has not slept on my bed since I put the cotton comforter on it back in June, has now made my bed hers again.

Lulu loves comfort

In the weeks and months I have not been writing here I have:

  • Done a 2 month cleanse
  • Attended a 5 day program with Yoganand at Kripalu
  • Started doing The Ultimate Yogi cds

Then, the other day, in response to my last post, one of my yoga students gave me a fountain pen. I uncapped it right then and there at my desk in the lounge and scribbled a few “test” words on a Post-It just to try it out, and I fell madly, deeply, hopelessly in love with it. I swear, I could hardly teach my class that night so anxious was I to get my hands on that pen!

It’s a Varsity disposable fountain pen made by Pilot (my fave pen company to begin with) and it writes like a dream. I feel like I have come home again.

I really want to love writing on the keyboard, I do.  I really want to love Scrivener and all the linking and research filing it lets me do, but I can’t seem to get my ideas out of the box there the way I can with fountain pen and paper.

It’s so weird because I am such a geek for electronics and I love all my gizmos. I am lusting for an Iphone 5 (even thought I hate phones and do not need one.) I love my Kindle. I adore my Ipad. My MacBook Pro is showing some signs of age (which makes me a little crazy because it’s not that old) but when it comes to writing, I’m completely old-fashioned: just a fountain pen, and a plain, unlined Moleskine notebook (the 5 x 81/4 size) turned landscape, and a quiet morning in my space chair.

Last week I was so excited because I thought I could have the best of both worlds: Evernote came out with a Moleskine specially designed to be able to store and search your scribblings!

Here’s how it works: You open the Evernote app and click on the camera within the app (it works with Ipad, Iphone, and Itouch w/camera) and take a picture of whatever you’ve written (or sketched) in the special Evernote Moleskine and then it saves your scribbles in the cloud where you can even tag them and search them.

But oh god, it is so clumsy. I found I did not like it at all for what I do and the way I write, but I think it might work for little things, like my daily log, but not for my long morning write.

I am thinking about doing NaNoWriMo again this year. (Do you remember I made a go of that last year? Got it all set up in Scrivener and everything, but then got hopelessly behind in my daily word count and abandoned it at the 10K mark?)

Okay, so this year I am going to take another stab at it and try for 50K words in a month doing it longhand, with fountain pen, in my (regular) Moleskine. I’m nuts, I know, but I am going to attempt a memoir. A spiritual memoir. I know…I know…such a cliched meme of the times, but I am curious about what I might learn about the trajectory of my life by writing down all the “dots” and then attempting to connect them.

This weekend is Homecoming and we are going to have a houseful of softball players doing their ritual, “Telling of the Stories of the Good Ole Days.” They are so sweet, so ridiculous, and they have such a good time, I can’t help but love them, but I will spend most of the weekend hiding from them up here in my room, finishing Stephen Cope’s latest, The Great Work of Your Life.

Today is a beautiful, blue October day. I plan to spend most of the afternoon cleaning up the yard, throwing out frost-bitten plants. Then I think I will make a big batch of my famous macaroni and cheese and eat it in front of the fire tonight.  In honor of homecoming.





The Pen Is Mightier. The Computer Has No Pulse.

This morning I made a cup of de-caf, took out a pen, found a lightly used Moleskin and started writing. With a pen. On paper.

I wrote a letter to my muse, asking her to come back to me. I told her that I saw her as a kite that had gotten so high in the sky that she was only visible as a little dot in the sky. Even the kite string that attached her to me, disappeared after a while so I wasn’t even sure we we tethered any longer.


I told her that she was like a big fish that I had hooked, but couldn’t seem to reel in. She was strongly in control of our destiny, pulling the little boat of me way out into the pathless sea.


I’ve been trying for well over a year, to get my muse to go digital. “C’mon Muse,” I write, (actually, I call her Stella). “C’mon Stella,” I scribble, “You know my handwriting is atrocious, and if you say something wonderful, I will only have to transcribe this into Scrivener anyway, so why can’t we learn to relate to each other on the keyboard?”


“No,” she says, “I hate the keyboard. The electricity mucks up our vibe. I need your pulse. It activates the ink. Actually, I wish you would go back to your old fountain pen. I really liked that fountain pen. Gel ink? It’s so processed.”

Image of a modern fountain pen writing in curs...

Image of a modern fountain pen writing in cursive script. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am going to draw the line at the fountain pen, I don’t even think I have one anymore, but I am going back to the ink pen and the paper because I need her. I can’t do this alone. When I do have a pen in my hand, and an open notebook, I can feel her getting closer. My brain starts to fire in a different way, my thoughts have a different voice. It’s as if she is in my head,  whispering: “Loosen your grip, Kath, let your eyes go out of focus, let ME write.”


I know she’ll come back to me eventually, but only if she sees me holding a pen. It’s killing me that we have to do it like this because typing is so much more efficient: cleaner, faster, and infinitely more edit-able.


But I need her.