April 30th, 2012
I continue to make slow progress, setting up our house. Earlier this week I finally took out this beautiful writing desk, purchased for my grandmother by her parents in 1931. It’s now sitting proudly in the nook looking out of our prettiest bedroom window.
The glass ink & pen stand was a present from my mate last year, and the blue stationery I bought for myself at the museum where I used to work. I’ve since added a stash of cream stationery on the right hand shelves, plus more assorted stationery and a pair of silver paper scissors in the bottom drawer. There’s also my grandmother’s stamp box and a matching bowl that must be a pen holder.
Here’s the insignia from inside the drawer:
It’s called a spinet because of the shape — just like the case of the musical instrument. It was made in Grand Rapids, Michigan, less than 200 miles from Detroit, where my grandmother lived at the time.
I haven’t found my pens yet, or the final box of note cards. I still need a blotter — and perhaps a desk blotter as well, since it’s hardly practical to use a dip pen over a white linen dresser scarf.
So, anyone looking for a pen pal?
September 19th, 2011
From Somerset Maugham’s own introduction to Of Human Bondage:
For long after I became a writer by profession I spent much time on learning how to write and subjected myself to a very tiresome training in the endeavour to improve my style. But these efforts I abandoned when my plays began to be produced, and when I started to write again it was with a different aim. I no longer sought a jewelled prose and a rich texture, on unavailing attempts to achieve which I had formerly wasted much labour; I sought on the contrary plainness and simplicity. With so much that I wanted to say within reasonable limits I felt that I could not afford to waste words and I set out now with the notion of using only such as were necessary to make my meaning clear.
I do not know that I have ever taken instructions for writing so much to heart as these few lines. What a clear path they offer — as fine as a razor to walk, but stretching out straight and true, without obstacle or stumbling block — provided of course that one is able to keep one’s balance and not listen too closely to the echoes of those who lost their way and tumbled off the precipice.
Well that was a mouthful. I see myself wobbling already.