tools of the trade

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I was a young man when I first began writing professionally. It was what I expected to do… what I’d set as my personal goal. I had been so grateful for the advice and friendship I had received from writers in my childhood and youth, that I felt a personal debt to them, and in this way I hoped to repay them. I wrote long pages in blue-black ink from a fountain pen on white linen bond paper. That same pen is still in one of my drawers. The act of writing was as gratifying to me as the possibility of conveying thoughts to paper. I could smell the ink. I enjoyed watching the trail of blue-black ink slowly drying on the page as I continued to write. I had a number of different pens, and numerous nibs which enabled me to write in different styles as well as different languages. I preferred a fine line, but used wide nibs as well… sometimes to emphasize something in the text, I used italics as well. To me, good writing meant no spelling or grammatical mistakes, and the ability to organize my thoughts in such a way that they would be readily understood by the reader. This was so important to me because if I (or my editor) found a mistake, I would usually rewrite the page. Which took some time. Such work was drudgery.

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My first typewriter was a present from an aunt. I was greatly moved by her gesture. It seemed such a personal and appropriate gift. And strangely enough, I received another three typewriters through my life, from very close friends. But as much as I enjoyed typing, I felt most comfortable and most natural writing by hand with pen on paper. Though I felt no need to study journalism or creative writing, I did take a typing course so as to learn to put my thoughts on paper as quickly as possible. Typewriters could only write in one font, which meant that I needed separate machines for Hebrew and Latin letters.

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The machines stayed with me for decades, and became part of my physical presence in this world from my point of view. In a way, they were more an extension of my body than the pens I used, maybe because I typed blind. The Royal portable traveled with me across the world on ship and in airplanes. I used to feel a sense of intimacy in my relations to tools. But since the start of the digital age, tools come and go. The life expectancy of a computer is so short that I haven’t really gotten attached to any of them. Software programs change and become more complicated. I would discover that I didn’t have enough RAM, and by the time I moved on to a new computer I was glad to get rid of the old.

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Language too, is an intimate tool. A tool of the mind by which we communicate our deepest thoughts and feelings. And that too is changing. When I was young, our ancient language was sacred. Educated people went to great pains to conform exactly to the rules of grammar. The language we heard on the radio was elegant. When a word was added to our vocabulary, it’s addition was decided by The Academy of the Hebrew Language, and though we laughed sometimes at the new inventions, they were necessary for scientific and technological subjects that hadn’t existed when our language first flowered. But then slang appeared in the army, and folks were amused by these new additions and used them. Foreign words were included in our speech as well, and slightly changed to correspond to our rules of grammar. Slowly, gradually, the slang increased, and nowadays when conversing with the young, I have to ask the meaning when hearing an unfamiliar phrase. It makes me feel less grounded.

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The pictures on the store front windows, were found on Jaffa Str., here in Jerusalem. They represent visual illustrations of Jerusalem slang and expressions unique to our town. The artists involved in this project wished to decorate the city with local expressions.

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54 responses to “tools of the trade

  1. Of all the photos, I really like the one of you at your computer with the smoky haze around you.

  2. You truly are an artist, photography and painting pictures with words and seeing the art in the writing of those words. I like the computer for pouring out words. It’s faster than my less-than-stellar penmanship. However, if writer’s block settles in, pen to paper opens the flow faster than anything else.

    • I have a friend Tuvia (hope he’s still alive… we’ve been out of touch since my great move 5 years ago), who would ask me from time to time, if I was an artist. And I found it hard to answer that question. In Hebrew, the root of art and artist is the same root as faith… and I sometimes feel that it is merely faith, that we believe art exists at all. Thanks for your kind words, Judy.

  3. Yes, I loved the photographs too, especially you at the computer with the haze… amazing. Thank you dear Shimon, art is great for our souls… I can’t think and imagine world without art…. Love, nia

    • I’m so glad you liked that picture by Chana, Nia. I like it too, because it shows me doing what I do. Yousuf Karsh was one of the greatest portrait photographers ever, and one of my favorites of his work is a portrait of Pablo Casals that he shot from behind. Yet anyone who knew the great cellist, recognized him immediately in that picture (https://karsh.org/photographs/pablo-casals/). I consider art the bubble within the bubble that is our world. Love to you.

  4. This is a fascinating insight into the relations between the artist or writer and the tools of his trade. I remember writing with pen and ink in school, and I loved using different colour inks (though my teachers drew the line at purple….).

    I came into the world a little later than you, but I too remember using two typewriters at first. Imagine my delight at the invention of the bilingual “golf-ball” typewriter. With a click I could remove the English golf ball and replace it with the Hebrew one, and a second click changed the direction of the carriage. And joy of joys, I discovered there were different fonts! My first job in Israel was in Shaare Zedek hospital (engineering dept.), and I was amazed that the hospital stretched to several different golf ball fonts.

    Shortly afterwards the computer and word processor was invented. I can type blind extremely fast so I highly appreciate the technology since I can type about as fast as I can think. But sometimes, nothing can replace pen and paper. I love receiving hand written letters, and I write personal letters by hand (or at least I add a paragraph by hand to my computer typed letters).

    I love your atmospheric photos of Jerusalem – but the one of you in your study is perfect.

    • I remember the typewriter with the exchangeable ball. It was from IBM I think. And if I remember correctly, it gave each letter the same amount of space, in contrast to another of theirs at that time, which allowed some letters to be thick and others to be thin. But back in those days, we still had many electrical outages, and so I didn’t like working on electric typewriters. It didn’t bother me at all to put a little force in my fingers when typing. But I have to say that once I started writing with computer (I never used a word processor), I just about stopped using handwriting… and never went back. That was a leap forward that changed my relationship to the written word. Thanks Anne, for bringing back more memories to join mine as they slipped out of the closet.

  5. Writing is a tool to transmit emotions… doesn’t matter in which language. But I prefer to do it with my mother tongue, actually. I do translate into English or others, but I’m quite imperfect and I guess you have discovered it 🙂
    I wish I was so much caring of details and perfection as you are, dear Shimon. But in my manner and behavior, I guess I’m much too superficial… but not in my feelings and emotions. Languages are my deepest dream: I wish to learn how to interact with people, from every race and culture. But there are infinitely many languages around our planet… not always you can get along with English, not everybody knows it. But for sure, there is a tongue which is wide spread, the signs, the smiles, the caring of a caress, the hands which do help you to draw on paper or the typical signs each human can understand. I did that, many years ago in China… and it was amazing the result. I love to explore, to travel (even if right now mostly with my fantasy and mind)…
    And I do love to write, on my Moleskine… since before getting the ideas clear for some new story, I need to take good note of each emotion, each new experience of my daily routine or during my travelings.
    Hebrew facinated me since I was 20 yrs. old, in New York I met a young boy from Israel, he did show me a book full with lovely strange signs… it recalled the celtic runes, at least to me, he he laughed with fun when I asked if it was some kind of magic language.
    Hugs 🙂 claudine

    • Oh Claudine, you have no idea how many times I’ve deliberated whether or not to go back to blogging in Hebrew. I went to English after a brief attempt in Hebrew because I felt that the language barrier really affected the way other peoples in the world saw us. But I discovered that there are things that really can’t be communicated in another language… at least, not by me. Each language seems to enable the values and the mentality of that people; it’s as personal as flesh and blood. Because of the way I was raised, it’s true that I make an effort to abide by the rules. But when we compare a work of art or craft to the mass produced utensils of today’s world, we realize that perfection is just the key to understanding the difference between the human being and artificial products. Each human being is different, and each thing we craft is a little different. The rubber stamp only approximates a signature. It cannot stand by itself. I wish I could tell you how much I love the Hebrew language, how much a home it is for my spirit, and a fertile soil for my mind… yes, it is a magic language for me… but I can happily share your enthusiasm for sign language. We sign all the time, though some don’t know it. It is called body language. But since you, my friend, love animals as I do, I have to add that on that level, signs and signals, there are different languages to different species, just as there are different verbal languages to different people on earth. While most humans understand the friendly intention of a smile, to most animals, showing one’s teeth is a threat of aggression. Thanks so much for your comment.

  6. I so love the photographs you’ve chosen for this post, Shimon!
    Shifting language, like slang, and cultural references to music and movies, etc., are two of the ways I know I’m getting older…or that I’m no longer young. But it I enjoy slipping off the burden of “having” to know all these things, too. 🙂

    I used my father’s Underwood typewriter for years and years, and used desktop computers at work for quite a few years before I actually bought one, but now, we are surrounded by digital machines and objects that access the internet, somewhat reliably.

    It doesn’t seem that all this technology has actually helped us communicate what is in our hearts any better, though. At least with pens, and even typewriters, we had to take more time and be with our thoughts longer than today’s technology allows. Now, we can commit what we’re thinking as fast as the thoughts flow, but at the expense of analysis and circumspection.

    Perhaps I better stop here and review what I’ve written before I post it. 🙂
    Thank you for another lovely post.

    • I believe there will always be those who choose the untrodden path; those that choose to go to the depths of life’s experience and not try to taste it all. In every generation there have been fashions and popular foolishness, but we are not obliged to go along with the crowd. If we realize that we have only are own life to live, we can choose what is most precious in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. Contemporary communications have widened our awareness of what’s going on all over the world, and opened up the possibility to get to know people all over the world. In many ways this world is truly becoming a global village, as foresighted people predicted some time back. But we have to be cautious not to spread ourselves too thin. I am truly grateful that I have lived in a time which allowed me to see so many possibilities for human beings to increase their capacities and their awareness. I have both hope and fears. So far, it has been a thrilling experience to learn and make friends with others in this virtual reality. My best wishes to you always, Kitty.

  7. I am hoping there isn’t too much regret here, as things change. It is good to remember. And to acknowledge the changes, as you do here, bringing the two (old ways and new) together.

    • But what about this? You embrace change and are an optimistic soul but the cultural devolution cannot be ignored. We are not the high culture of many other eras in world history. We are an abbreviated world, one that feels satisfaction in a tweet. Just my observations after 42 years of teaching high school through university students.

    • I have no regrets, Lynn. And very little nostalgia for the way things used to be. I remember the negative aspects as well as what I used to love. But I do have a sense of trepidation about where some of the latest fashions may lead. As a student of history, I read of the many civilizations that came before us, and in most cases the lives of peoples and cultures were parallel in some ways to the lives of human beings. In their youth they were heroic, and thought they would live forever, and as they grew older they became weighed down in excesses. When I first heard of ‘politically correct speech’, I thought it was a joke. But I am reassured by the fact that most of the negative predictions regarding the future that I heard in my youth did not come to pass. Let us make the best of what we have around us, and look to the future with hope.

  8. I, too, like the personal photo of you at your computer. You have honed your skills to a keen edge, whether by pen or keyboard key. I suspect your ability to express yourself so precisely and wonderfully would have been evident had you had to use a chisel and club on a piece of stone. You are a treasure, Shimon. Thank you for another fine post.

  9. My first (and last) type writer was supplied by a distance learning company which also supplied the course material … Needless to say I never learned anything because I have always been a difficult learner (my way or the hiway) … prolly drove many of my teachers in school nuts because of that … and us being a travelling family prolly didn’t help the matter either … I did encounter 2 exceptional teachers in my early life though … They accepted me and my own methods of solving my own problems in my own way, especially when it came to Mathematics … and that early acceptance stays with me to this day, friend Shimon … Can’t resist and tell you this one particular story, if you don’t mind. Here goes: New school again …Grade 6 … Music teacher testing me and let me play something on the piano … I opened a Bach concerto book and played away by ear … Teacher was mesmerized and gave an me instant “A” … but came time to write down notes and name the tune, I failed miserably … because I did not know how to read music .. result was a big fat “F” … same with Math … I always arrived at the correct result but since I did it my way, teacher failed me … Two “Fs” makes you fail the grade and so I had to repeat grade 6 … Very much later, I passed my psych nurse program with distinction … Ya, baby … smiles … Ergo, it’s never too late to keep trying and find your very own niche in life … Anyway, I better shut up before this comment turns into a biography … smiles … Much love, cat.
    PS: I sincerely hope, that I didn’t stray too much from your topic, friend Shimon … and if I did … I apologize, teacher … smiles … c.

    • I am grateful for a lot of wonderful things I received in life, but feel most indebted to my teachers. I had some wonderful teachers. And to me a good teacher is one who helps his students, but lets them do all the work. Or at best, teaches the student how to learn by example. You don’t have to worry about straying off the point, my dear cat. If I felt it was inappropriate, I would exercise my obligation as editor. Love to you too, cat, and yes… most important for all of us to find out own niche in this world.

  10. I wish I had time, and space, to tell you how you have hit me dead center. Right at the time period of graduation from medical school, after exams and the few days before formal graduation ceremonies, knowing that I would be writing prescriptions for many years, I went to downtown Philadelphia and bought the “best’ and most expensive ink pen. A Mont Blanc which used the liquid ink that one had to draw into the pen. I recall it was over a hundred dollars and was my pride and joy. I even bought the gold nib with a wide point to be “more artistic”. Not EVEN a week later…balll point pens came out on the market. Disposable and throw away when they were empty. They took pressure that allowed them to go thru a paper and make a copy at the same time. I was a bit heartbroken. And I won’t Even begin to tell you of my typing class in high school and my purchase of a portable Royal typewriter for college. It is remarkable how we had such similar experiences in that regard.

    • I still have my Mont Blanc Bob, which I loved very much, with the screw pump which you used to draw ink into the pen. And I too remember when the ball points came on the market, and I can tell you… I never liked them. They would drop a gob of ink in the middle of a line as you were writing, and what could you do about that? Maybe it didn’t matter on a prescription… I remember that doctors didn’t usually care how their handwriting looked… Yes my friend, even though we were at opposite ends of the world, I’m sure we had a lot of common experiences.

  11. Please note that I didn’t mention the smoke.

  12. Lovely post that demonstrates your elegant prose and reflective nature. I am curious about your career.

    I can also appreciate the delight you express in a fountain pen!

    • Bob was just mentioning the Mont Blanc, and I had a number of fountain pens that I really loved. I kept on using them till the computer came along. And had the joy of working at a number of different professions along the way. One of the things that bothered me about the ball point, was that it would leave an occasional puddle of grease in the drawn line, Aside from that, it couldn’t make a line thicker or thinner… something I think is called ‘shading’ in English. So I kept writing with the old pen. Thanks for your comment, Cheri.

  13. My lifetime experiences make it easy for me to relate to your writing progression. I’ve always enjoyed writing letters and cards to friends with the best penmanship possible and have been known to throw away an entire card if a mistake was made. Even today, friends look forward to hand-written cards even though I communicate often via the computer.

    I can’t imagine a day without writing.

    • I can definitely understand your insistence on using pen and paper at times, and especially to send cards to friends, Bev. Actually, as much as I loved writing with pen and paper, once the personal computer became the office tool in my business, I soon switched over to digital means completely. It was so much easier to edit writing with the computer, as well as to make copies, that it just didn’t make sense to me anymore, to keep writing with the pen. And strangely enough, after not writing for a few years, I really lost the feel for writing with pen in hand. I remember wanting to write a personal dedication on the fly page of a book. When I saw that my handwriting had lost its charm (from lack of practice), I started printing dedications on slips of paper with the help of the computer, and then pasting them into those books I was sending.

  14. Your approach to writing is very disciplined; your posts ooze it, without being in any way diminshed. They are beautiful. I am fascinated by your love of pen and nibs. I too, like them, but I never had confidence in ‘the beauty’ of my personal hand and was glad when typewriters became available. I do give such pens as gifts, wondering if they might ever be used now. Few will be, I suppose.

    My own mid sized tangible portable is stored away. It has become a sentimental object now; it might still operate. Sprog couldn’t believe that’s what I typed with and with some speed. Like you, I have no such sentiments about any computers I have owned. Also, like you, I am a trained touch typist. These days that aspect -and hoping for no finger slips- is not so vital. Computers facilitate digital correction. For someone less disciplined in their essay planning, computers allow easy restructuring with features like cut and paste.

    The evolution of language is swiftly spread. or so it seems. It is honed on the streets by many means, including graffiti and murals, (as you indicate). Language is sharpened with the varied communication tools we have at our disposal in this day and age. It can be hard to keep up with. There’s a lot to be said for being in contact with our younger generations in order to maintain the brain’s power to absorb, use the language of the day together with what we already know. It gives a certain level of empowerment.

    Delightful Post.

    • Yes, I still hold on to my pens, a dear reminder of life before the digital revolution. But as I wrote to Bev above, I lost the grace of my handwriting after switching to computers, and now I don’t write by hand at all. And as you say, it is truly amazing that a computer program can repair my mistakes as I write. It has taken all the tension out of writing text. What you say about the evolution of language, is both true and fascinating. I knew it happened in other languages. Anyone who reads an old text in English is immediately made aware of the ‘evolution of language’ as you call it. But in contrast to that, I was fond of reading journals from the time of the Spanish Inquisition, which happened some 500 years ago! And the Hebrew was the same Hebrew we used in my youth. So somehow, I believed that it couldn’t happen to my tongue. And then to my surprise, as the generation of my children took over, it happened here too. Thanks for the comment, menhir.

  15. I love the photo of you at your computer Shimon. There is nothing like sitting and writing, letter writing is such a lost art. I took calligraphy courses after high school, and loved using the different nibs, the ink on paper as you said. Grammar and spelling are not what they once were- I find it a pity. I enjoyed reading this, a remembering my mother’s Royal typewriter and how hard I needed to press down those round letters. Shavua Tov

    • Interestingly, I don’t remember the work of pushing the old typewriter keys. It was a tool that I learned to write with… with quite a few advantages when compared to handwriting, so I just accepted that as part of the package. But I do remember that when people started using electric typewriters, and I was loathe to adopt the new machine (because of my fear of dependence on electricity at the time), my colleagues told me how easy it was to press on the keys. There were those who felt it was an incomparable difference. I tried it and I was impressed. But still stayed with my manual typewriters. Now, of course, if I ever had to go back, I’m sure I would find it hard to type on a manual typewriter again. Shavua tov to you too, and thanks, Lisa-Elisheva.

      • You reminded me that I had to take typing in school, where we used electric typewriters- that is probably why I found switching to the manual a challenge!

        • Yes, that really explains it… when we go backwards we are certainly made aware of the difficulties that progress has vanquished. I imagine, if I had to type on a typewriter today… don’t know if I could do it.

  16. When I was young, pencils were for children. Moving into third grade meant moving to pen and ink. We began to learn cursive, making loops and slanted lines that later would become letters. The Palmer Method alphabet — so beautiful! — marched around our classroom, above the blackboards.

    In time, fillable fountain pens arrived, and then cartridge pens. By the time I graduated from high school, ballpoint pens were common, but a matching silver or gold pen and pencil set still was considered a thoughtful gift. Of course, by that time a Royal typewriter had come into our home, and it stayed with me for years.

    Now, I appreciate my computer keyboard, and not only because I can keep up with my thoughts. Age and years of working with my hands have brought a touch of arthritis, and hand-writing can become quite a chore; now it’s reserved for personal letters and cards.

    But changes in our technologies don’t have to mean a lessening of care in writing. The devolution that’s occurred in recent decades is rooted elsewhere: in impatience, in a coarsening of spirit, in a lack of attentiveness, in a denigration of education and a refusal of excellence.

    As for language itself, the artistic renderings of slang phrases you’ve shown here remind me of that scourge upon our society: the emoji. Ludwig Wittgenstein’s assertion that the limits of our language mean the limits of our world is especially apropos today, as the rich complexity of language is reduced to meet the demands of our technological devices. It’s not so everywhere, but it’s increasingly common. I suspect the best defense is the sort of engagement shown in the wonderful photo of you at your desk.

    • In my youth Linda, and in my part of the world, pencils were for math students, and pens for students of the ‘humanities’. Since I started out on the math/science side of the barricade, I too used pencils. But for literature and history one used a pen. Now I can smile at the thought that mathematicians knew they would make mistakes but the folks on the side of the humanities thought they were invincible. I never heard of the Palmer Method, but I can tell you that Hebrew letters which I learned first were a lot more fun than English. The square letters (I used both cursive and rashi letters in Hebrew as well) were my favorite, and they give me a thrill to this day.

      I agree with you that technology does not obligate the dumbing down of human communication, and I have to say that watching it has been dismaying. I remember that I first heard about the process in the 60s, and then it was alleged that it was done on purpose by the Americans in order to make culture more accessible to those without higher education. I have no idea if this is true. But when I see the writing that appears even on the online news media at times, I wonder if there still is work for editors nowadays. It’s difficult for me to accept. I especially dislike the emoji. And of course, I would agree that language helps us define our thoughts, and there is a relationship between the nature of language and the richness of our awareness. And that said, I have to exercise severe self discipline in order to refrain from preaching against the ‘politically correct’ movement. I just hope that that won’t be our undoing.

  17. You paint with your words, dear Shimon. A huge hug flowing to you, with more to follow. I love the photo of you at the computer and the glimpse into how your writing journey is evolving. xXx

    • Thank you so much Jane. At times it’s intimidating to see how much things change all the time. I wonder if change is happening faster now than it used to, or if it’s just getting harder for me to keep up. In any case, I learned long ago that we never know what’s going to surprise us… and there are surprises. Always good to hear from you. xxx

  18. Good afternoon from London – another excellent post. I particularly liked where you expressed your enjoyment of seeing the ink flow from your pen and dry….I also remember that with great pleasure. As far as change in language, I can say that the same is true for England. The language I was brought up with was ‘correct’ and it was considered vital that as a child I spoke properly. Today, much of that has changed. Like you, I can touch type….and do enjoy it, but there is nothing quite like putting pen to paper.
    Yesterday I attended a picnic with friends I have known for many years…some of them were young people. As always I had my pocket sketch book with me filled with images and written notes…all of which amazed the younger people in the group, because they are so used to using their smart phones to write notes, etc.
    Interesting to see the images….vibrant and colourful. Hoping that you and Nechama are enjoying a peaceful Sunday. Janet xxx

    • I was saying earlier, I knew the English language had changed after opening a volume of Shakespeare. But that didn’t happen in Hebrew. I suppose it was because Hebrew wasn’t really spoken when the Jews were in the Diaspora. It was just used for prayers and religious studies, though many people wrote prose and poetry through the ages. Hebrew was more the language of scholars and regular people used Yiddish or Ladino. But now for a number of generations, it’s been the day to day language of everyone here… and what can I say? It seems like we’re getting to be a bit more normal. How wonderful to hear of your picnic with friends. It sounds delightful. xxx

      • Good morning Shimon. I do so enjoy learning about your culture and way of life. In our ‘global village’ with communications the likes of which none of us could have imagined even thirty years ago….it’s also fascinating how many aspects of language are becoming universal. August has been a fun month for me. I have begun to accept invitations which seemed to have come about once a week, which is more than enough for me, and have thoroughly enjoyed the different experiences. However, I will be pleased when September is upon us and the world sort of gets back to normal…whatever that is:) Hope you and Nechama enjoy these latter days of summer. Janet xxx

        • Nechama and I took a walk in the park, and not only was the weather perfect, but there were no dogs in sight. She hasn’t overcome certain prejudices yet. I tell her to be a hip cat, but she just psssts with contempt. In any case, It was a nice walk, and now I’m writing and she has other things to interest her. So good that you’re getting invitations at a good pace. Sorry I can’t come along and do a little sketching with your students. xxx

  19. I greatly enjoyed this reflection. Interesting how our writing tools have changed over the years. I still draft some of my posts with pen and paper – not all, but some – but the written drafts eventually turn into electronic drafts in order to continue the process.

    • Very interesting to read that you sketch out some of your posts in longhand first, Frank. I saw my handwriting go down hill fast from lack of use, and now just use digital apparatus. I don’t complain because it does seem a better method, but I do miss pen and ink. Thanks for the comment.

  20. Lovely to read about your journey with writing and words. You have such a talent! I loved that photo of you with the smoke swirling around like ghosts or spirits. Fascinating!xxx

    • Thanks. What’s amazing, is how we see things so different as we change our perspective. More than once, more than twice, I thought I finally understood… and then again… another breakthrough or another disappointment. I worked very hard to attain mastery of certain tools… and suddenly they were replaced by others. It was a good lesson. Always so good to see you Dina, wishing you and yours the beauty and happiness of peaceful summer evenings… xxx

  21. To me, there are few creative experiences as lovely as using a good fountain pen, blue black ink, and good white paper. I never made good grades in handwriting even though I tried so hard and did all the practice exercises of circles and lines. Realistically I was 2-2+ years younger than everyone else in class so maybe it was the fine motor control. I remember gripping the pen so hard I had dents in my fingers. That flowing line was just so beautiful as well as the words – made even more beautiful with ink’s lines and shapes. Ball point pens arrived and offered less mess, no spilling ink bottles, but the feel of writing was totally different.
    Handwriting teaches so much, it’s a shame the skill is neglected in schools.
    A pity children do not enjoy that experience and the time where the concentration required meant it was silence and only you, the pen, the ink, and open paper – the only things in the world. An early practice of “being there in the here and now”?

    • I don’t know about school, Phil. Though I did have one kid who enjoyed her classes, I’ve been hearing complaints about school most of my life. I have the impression that most children think of it as prison and resent everything, including what they’ve learned. But I really know what you’re saying when you speak of the pleasure of writing. It was a pleasure on so many levels. Back then it was like playing the guitar… sometimes even like a fiddle. And now it’s more like playing piano. We’ve got a keyboard in front of us… and if we’ve got an application that repairs our mistakes, it’s like a player piano. That’s probably another historical phenomenon that has completely disappeared… unlike vinyl records who’ve been saved by a miracle. Who could have guessed…

  22. Great and interesting post Shimon. I’m not a professional writer like you, but I strive for accuracy and good grammar as best as I can. You are an example of what was called ‘Penmanship’.

    • Thanks for the comment Peter. Hope all is going well these days in your corner of the world. Spring for you, and a blossoming of nature. Wishing you very good days.

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