Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I is for Ink

“The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible”
Vladimir Nabokov

I apologize for getting this post out so late. I was going to write about inspiration, but I was... uninspired.

And besides, inspiration seems to be a popular theme. I really don't have anything to add that hasn't already been said today.

So I'm going to talk about ink.

There's something magical about ink. At least, I think there is.

The way it rolls from a ballpoint pen.

Or flows from a gel ink rollerball pen.

Or leaks out of a felt tip marker.

Or drips from a fountain pen.

Or smudges beneath a calligraphy brush.

The way it leaves traces on your fingers.

That's an easy way to tell at a glance which hand of a stranger is dominant.

It may also alert you to the fact that they are a writer.

The way that red ink is the first place your eyes glance in a returned manuscript.

That a heavily marked up manuscript brings both satisfaction and dread

I gave up using pencils a while ago, because ink

a) is easier to see
b) is much more permanent
c) doesn't need to be sharpened

Of course, that does mean it can't be erased. But that's what white-out's for.

"Ink" also happens to be part of the title of one of my favorite books on writing. Invisible Ink (which you should read, because it's really good).

Typing is convenient, easy, and quick.

But there's nothing quite like ink.

“I bleed myself to be your drink
Is not the blood of poets—ink?”
William Soutar

What's your favorite color of ink? When you handwrite, do you use pens or pencils?
Do you think there's anything magical about ink?
Let me know by commenting!


  1. When I am handwriting, I always use an ink pen. My favorite color is purple. I especially like a pen to roll smoothly across the paper I am writing on.

    I hate pencils! They are far too scratchy and you can't click them with any finality.

    I also do crossword puzzles in ink.

  2. I am a bit of a freak when it comes to pens. I am left-handed so am a little obsessive over my pens, since there are so many that smudge, so I get very happy when I find one that I can write neatly with! I loooove coloured pens too! I have these lovely ones from a shop called Muji, which come in so many pretty colours :)

    I actually like pencils. I didn't used to but started writing a little with them and it felt kind of sweet and reminded me of when I was little :)

    Nikki – inspire nordic

  3. I love purple ink: for editing, for grading, but not for writing. When I'm writing by hand, I prefer blue ink. I haven't used a pencil in years (except for when my pen is dead and I don't have a spare: I guess I haven't voluntarily used a pencil in years.)

    You're right, there is something magical about ink. I have a glass pen and a jar of ink, and some days, I just want to play with it.

  4. Although I embrace technology, I do love ink. It shows your personality. I'm trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge Blogs this month.



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