Meet My New Friend
I made a new friend this month. We didn’t hit it off right from the beginning. But I wanted to befriend her and she, she was a little reserved, unsure of me. Firm. Unyielding. I didn’t give up. Everyday, I set aside some time for the two of us to share words. It took many days and many words, but finally, I took her out. There, at a table with a chocolate brownie and coffee, I understood why I hadn’t been able to understand her.
My newest pen — Pelican Souveran 400 in Tortoise Shell — identified as a woman and I didn’t know it.
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All my pens talk to me. They always have. I’ve made several comics about them that are littered over my Instagram page. More importantly, I’d written an entire comic series with them as characters. You can read it here.
All my pens also identify as male. I don’t know why that is. If you’ve ever used a fountain pen, it takes a while to get to know them. Their quirks. Some have a smooth downstroke while being rough on the upstrokes. Some are wider on their downstrokes than their side strokes. Some run wetter than others. I have one, my Delta Unica (Delta as a brand shut shop in 2017 😭) whose nib is fine but it writes more like a stub. Every pen I’ve owned has a personality, and my selection of a pen plays a big role in what I end up writing with them.
The Pelican wasn’t shy but she was exasperated with me in the initial days. Only when I held her at a certain angle would her golden nib glide along the page; otherwise she’d give me thin lines, no ink laid down, and sometimes even a scratchy line with no joy behind it. It was like she was telling me that she won’t suffer my sloppiness and only if I held her in a certain way — the right way to hold a lady — would she lay down the promised smooth lines.
But once I got to know her better, I knew my roughhousing, my “she’s one of the boys” behaviours went out the window and I started to treat her with a little respect. Show her that I could lead the way. In turn, she respected me. Eventually she asked me out to dance.
Now, I dance with her almost everyday. I’ve even started writing my to-do list in a notebook to give me an excuse to grab her. She brings such joy to my life. Currently she’s inked with a matching Diamine Woodland Green and I think she does a stellar job with it. Don’t you?
The writing journey is a vast and lonely affair. If anthropomorphising tools seems crazy, the whole writing thing feels crazier; and this, this is just small part of how I get along. Life can be much more exciting if we only make it.
I finished typing out a complete first draft of my novel. Hurrah! I’ve had it handwritten in my many notebooks, but now it has morphed from a draft 0 to a draft 1. Many more drafts to go but I’m one step closer to finishing it.
Also, today, Christopher Paolini — the author because of whom I started writing — will be in London. Tickets are sold out and I don’t have one but I’m still going to figure out a way to meet him. Being in the same building as him has its own perks but having my book signed and just talking to him will be so much better. Pray for me.
Until next time,
Keeping building your word towers,
You’re reading Missives from an Island a newsletter by Akshay Gajria. This newsletter is delivered to your inbox on the 30th of every month. You can also find Akshay on Twitter (X), Instagram, and Medium. If you enjoyed reading, consider tipping him by buying a cup of tea (or three) here or buying his ebook (linked below). You can discover his work at akshaygajria.com