Words are what I do for a living. I’m no great writer, no novellist or poet, I doubt I’d be a journalist, but I do love words. It’s something I want to pass on to The Boy.
I mourn the marginalisation of the fountain pen. The impersonal, ruthlessly efficient laptop takes so much of the romance from a personality-laden script. There’s something special about a handwritten note on a decent paper stock that’s so much more personal than an email or a text message. It’s no accident that the magnificent Letters Of Note is going from strength to strength.
I’m trying to combine the two things – my love of paper and pens, and my love of words – in a nightly ritual. The Boy and I have matching writing books, bound in a lovely Ralph Lauren tie silk, courtesy of the gods of ebay and birthday-generous relatives. Every evening, we write a sentence about our day, meeting the deadline of Bath Time in a creative process marked by argument, encouragement, debate, and the occasional tantrum. Newsrooms around the world would recognise it. It’s with paternal pride that I see that his writing is coming along splendidly: he is a lad able to form his letters beautifully, his grasp of phonics is fabulous, and gives us magnificently independent gems such as
I watched Tom and Jeree on the tellee
Early on this blog I wrote a eulogy to the death of a beautiful, vintage Parker Duofold nib. It was discovered beyond help, with an autopsy finding that it had been toddlerised. Less death by misadventure than death by Mr Adventure.
He used The Pen for real today. He’s been desperate. You see, like real Coca-Cola, car keys, a cigar cutter, a wind-up Breitling watch, and a Swiss Army Knife, Dad’s fountain pen is the male object of envy for this particular little gent, It’s one of the things that Real Chaps own, off limits to little chaps, the sort of thing that only Grown Ups have, comparable to tying a bow tie (or any shoelace, come to that). It marks him out as an apprentice gent.
This evening, after promises of Being A Good Boy and Listening To Dad, he used The Pen. He’s been practising the fountain pen grip, we’ve had serious, almost religious discussions about the Sin Of Smudging, and we’ve had positively einsteinian demonstrations of a sac filler and ink bottle. He knows the history of Geo. S. Parker, the Duofold Mandarin, and the great writers. He was ready.
Grifflet’s epistle to the minions was painstakingly spelled out, letter by letter, without a single second of help from the family Head of Communications.
The result was worth it.