Friday, May 1, 2009

On the Pleasure of Taking up One's Pen

"Among the sadder and smaller pleasures of this world I count this pleasure: the pleasure of taking up one's pen." --Hilaire Belloc

The latest issue of the Letter Arts Review arrived while I was in Scotland last week (the philosopher and I were visiting St. Andrews), and I tucked into it with delight immediately upon my return. I believe it's launched me on another calligraphy kick-- not that I had stopped calligraphing, but the text-free torn wabi-sabi pieces have, as you know, been taking up a lot of my attention lately.

The current issue is the annual juried issue, where calligraphers the world over send in their best and, with luck, it's selected by a very picky editorial staff for publication. It's the best of the best, and always inspiring. My favorite issue of the year.

The pieces featured range from simple, traditional black-on-white lettering, to digital lettering and typface design, more painterly pieces, bound artists' books, stonecarving, calligraphed tea caddies, installation pieces, performance pieces (really!), and (my personal favorite) a calligraphed refridgerator. Suddenly, the possibilities seem endless.

I am moved, once again, to take up my pen. I'll let Hilaire Belloc have the last word as well:

"God bless you, pen of work, pen of drudgery, pen of letters, pen of posings, pen rabid, pen ridiculous, pen glorified. Pray, little pen, be worthy of the love I bear you, and consider how noble I shall make you some day, when you shall live in a glass case with a crowd of tourists round you every day from 10 to 4; pen of justice, pen of the saeva indignatio, pen of majesty and of light. I will write with you some day a considerable poem; it is a compact between you and me. If I cannot make one of my own, then I will write outsome other man's; but you, pen, come what may, shall write out a good poem before you die, if it is only the Allegro."

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