Some time back, we lost our lights for a while. David and I ended up going to the movies where we caught Anonymous, a film about William Shakespeare that made the case that all his plays were actually written by an aristocrat who was also Elizabeth I’s mystery lover. All in all, the movie wove quite a tale. If you can believe it, then our boy Will was just a two-bit trickster who took credit for someone else’s work and could barely write. Mmm….
What this zany story was all about, I’m not really sure: It was so convoluted, I couldn’t really follow it. But no matter. What I adored about it were all the props: The bottles of black India ink, the parchment paper, the quills, sheaves of paper loosely bound in embossed leather, the gorgeous, sumptuous calligraphy, the impassioned writer scrivening by candlelight, the shelves piled high with manuscripts! All the wonderful old paraphernalia and images of ink stained-fingered writing were center stage.
And oh, yes! The sets were wonderful: the scenes, the costumes, the actors right up against the audiences — fabulous. The scene staged from Macbeth with the three witches — magical. And the manuscripts! Richly, elegantly lettered folios of Romeo and Juliet, Henry V, Macbeth, Twelfth Night — gorgeous.
All this made me think of my own tools of the trade. I wrote the draft of this post by hand using my favorite fountain pen and peacock blue ink. It was scrawled on a legal pad by candlelight — no alas, I think it was penned by flashlight.
My office is filled with “props” that I love: a beautiful lotus-shaped candle holder from Alex, a crystal from my beloved sister Judy, two stones with the words “Persevere” and “Gratitude” etched on them. Just seeing these familiar and cherished objects on my desk puts me in a writing mood. How about you? Are there favorite writing tools you love to use and surround yourself with?