Sunday, March 15, 2015

An old new word, and a new skill to learn

I was thirteen and excited.

At school I'd learned a new word. Not only what it meant. But the how and the why of its meaning.

Calligraphy. Our English teacher had explained the roots of the two words that in combination made this new one.

Beautiful writing.

I announced it to my father, as something new, wondrous.

That day I learned that my father had taken Greek in high-school. He knew that καλός meant "good", and by extension "beautiful" and "γράφω" was "write" and, thus, "writing."

I was a little deflated, but a love of chasing down the roots of words, of seeing how words morph as they move from language to language across time was born. This crystalized in Salamanca for me as I traced words from Greek through Latin, Spanish, Italian, English, and my own Gaelic.

And now I have come back to the word that started it for me. People know I have a love of fountain pens. A sadness, and a source of insecurity, for me has been that my writing is far from beautiful. Thus the nibs that "real" fountain pen users know of, speak of, make use of, mean little to me. For I can make little good use of them.

So I've taken up calligraphy. Or am starting the learning of it. The Chancery style. There are other styles. I know this if only because this style has a name. It wouldn't need it were it the only one.

This will require patience, and practice. I am good with both of those, in certain circumstances. My work, certainly. It takes time, practice, and patience to acquire the software and data skills I have made my own.

Writing also. I gave myself time to learn. And I have learned. Though it remains an on-going process.

So too with this new skill.

I have a book to teach me. And a new pen with which to practice. Please believe me, it wasn't just an excuse to buy a new fountain pen.

It came with—honest!


  1. Oh good for you, I've had a little practice with my quill but I'm not very good at it or dedicated enough. My father-in-law (now deceased) use to do calligraphy, the Old English style - I have one of his books here. He worked in a solicitor's office and used it there, writing with a quill pen ^_^

    1. Thanks, Helen. What I've done so far it with the pen. I don't believe anything I'd do with a quill would turn out ever as well as that did.

      Everyday (so to speak) writing with a quill pen! Just wow.

  2. I love calligraphy and once you get the hang of it, it'll make even the most mundane statements look amazing!

    1. There is the fact, Icy, that you have artistic skills to bring to bear on your calligraphy.

      I...not so much. But I'll keep at it. Thanks for stopping by.