I Ink, Therefore I Am

I had a nice conversation yesterday with a distant cousin from Kalamazoo. I jotted down notes as he related stories of his grandfather and great-grandfather, and of himself and his family. Two things struck me about the conversation.

First, as he related the stories of his great-grandfather (who crossed the ice-bound St. Clair River as he moved his farm equipment and animals from Canada to Michigan in winter) and his one-armed grandfather (who ran a large farm in the Thumb area of Michigan despite the handicap of having blown his left hand off in a shotgun accident), I realized these are the stories that bring our ancestors to life. They are also the stories that get lost if nobody writes them down. I hope my cousin takes the time to commit the stories to paper. We only know our history – as humans or family – through the writings of our scribes. What’s not captured may as well not have happened. “I ink, therefore I am.”

On the topic of ink, I was taking notes with a fountain pen I’ve had for a few months. The pen is a beauty to hold and behold (a Pelikan M800 in burnt orange) but the darn thing was a terrible writer: hard starting, skipping, dry, and scratchy. Despite multiple cleanings, tunings, and different inks it was still a lousy writer. Yesterday I decided to try yet another ink, and voilà, the pen began writing with the grace and surefootedness of Kristi Yamaguchi. Writing with a fountain pen is like that, it takes trial and error to find a good match between pen and ink, but once they meet, there’s something magical.

My cousin mentioned that he and his wife will soon celebrate their 60th anniversary. I guess people are a lot like pens: if you find the right match everything in life works smoother and looks better. Congrats to him and his wife.

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