where the writers are
Picking Up The Pen Again

Just start.  Take that first – hard – step.

“I haven’t written since before Christmas,” I say to H.  “If we stay at home, I’ll just keep working.  I really want to write something – anything – today.  Besides, we both need fresh air and some good coffee.”

So we stroll up the hill to the Village, past daffodil and crocus buds, to the little French pâtisserie where I spent so many Sundays over the summer and autumn, scribbling away while people-watching.

I open the A4 spiral notebook at a white page full of possibilities and take a deep breath.  That’s not enough.  I take a gulp of cappuccino.  The coffee glides down my throat and injects some clarity into my fogged-up brain.  Across the table from me, H. is engrossed in a large, hard-bound volume about Gabriele D’Annunzio.  Without taking his eyes off the book, he reaches for his latte and takes a sip.  I know I’ve dragged him away from his work, so we can’t go home until I have written something – anything.

One... Two... I pick up my Faber Castell and slowly unscrew the chrome cap.  The pearwood barrel feels smooth in my fingers.  I haven’t used my fountain pen for nearly two months.  Well, I haven’t used it for anything important, that is – for anything creative.

I get a pang of anxiety as I hold the pen suspended above the page.  I don’t know what to write.  I suddenly think I can’t write.  Was there ever a time when I could? I make a conscious effort to lower my hand, and the nib lands on the paper.  An instant of thrill and anticipation.  Like the moment when a sapphire needle lands on a spinning glossy black record and you wait for the music to begin.  Two months of not writing.  Weeks of trying to breathe whilst caught up in a whirlwind of work deadlines, teaching, translating, home-hunting, life changes, etc.

Swirls of shiny black ink start waving along the faint lines, slowly gaining momentum.  I am suddenly a cauldron bubbling with emotions.  Excitement, fear, longing, passion, joy and the overwhelming realisation of just how much I have missed writing.

My thoughts are shapeless forms floating, whizzing and sagging inside my head.  They need a pen to sort them and give them a clear identity and purpose.  My feelings are like a garden overgrown with weeds.  They, too, need a pen to groom them into a sharper definition.  I am an overworked bundle of uncontrolled emotions.  I need to be written down, so that I can read myself and so see myself clearly.  I can’t see because everything is inside me.  So I slowly let it all pour out of me through the tip of the nib, and watch myself take shape in the glossy ink loops and curls that run across the white page where I begin to see myself.

I look up and meet H.’s eyes, full of gently amused kindness.  He’s been watching me for a while.  “Your face...” He looks for the right words, although I already know what he’s going to say.

“Is my face giving a theatrical performance?” I ask.

“Yes,” he says, smiling.  “All those contrasting expressions.”

 Scribe Doll



16 Comment count
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Another H! Impossible!

Another H? Impossible!

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... Not sure how to respond

... Not sure how to respond to this :–))

Thank you for reading, Mary.  Good to be back.

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I missed your words!

Welcome back, Katherine!

H? H?

I'm hanging on every letter! :-)


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Thank you, Barbara :–)

Thank you, Barbara :–)

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...that is what it is about, writing or anything else. But, mainly writing because there are no deadends. 

Good to see you again and your contrasting expressions, Katherine. 


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Thank you, Farzana.  Good to

Thank you, Farzana.  Good to be back.

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Welcome back Katia--have

Welcome back Katia--have missed your wonderful insights on the life around you. . .And H  and home-hunting?  Wonderful fresh starts and soon-to-be Spring. . . J

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Your're so kind, Judee.

Your're so kind, Judee.  Thank you!

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Good to hear your voice and your news


This made me smile. Wonderful words.



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Thank you, Jane x

Thank you, Jane x

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Except, ...

Your readers are hardly satisfied with a description of a nib, dear.  More, more, more!  We have all missed you so much.  I was tempted to see if there was something dire and awful happening in the UK - at least, as we read here, all is extremely well, if only more than a bit distracting to your muse.

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Thanks for commenting and

Thanks for commenting and your kind words, Anne.

Don't know if you've heard, but much of the UK is flooded.

The rain, it raineth every day...

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Welcome Back

And welcome back to yourself, too.  I know when I'm not writing, I feel like I'm not myself.  And when I go long stretches without writing, I feel like I've lost myself.

When I write a good deal, I feel so much more complete.  So much more like me

I hope you're feeling more like you.

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Thank you, Steven :–)

Thank you, Steven :–)

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Bienvenido y bemvindo

Welcome back dear Katia, how wonderful to read/hear your inimitable style brimming with energy and emotion. As I've said before there is always this thrill of anticipation when about to read your writing and one is never disappointed. I long to see a book of yours published and you deserve to be a contender for the (Wo)Man Booker Prize!

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Thank you for your kind

Thank you for your kind words, Nicholas.