you departed so slowly

we did not know to say goodbye until you were far away

you departed so slowly

we forgot to ask

we forgot to listen

and now we speak with silence

you departed so slowly

we thought we knew how to be without you

you departed so slowly

where we cannot follow

On the occasion of a death in the family. A rough version of Secretary with Pilot Parallel 2.4 mm on A4 paper. I am still having trouble with “s” and this hand needs some practice.

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The result of combination poetry and calligraphy therapy. Despite my lack of confidence and poor skills, italic is the obvious choice for poetry and formal occasions with strong emotions. Pilot parallel pen, 3.8 mm, their ink, Windsor and Newton A3 paper. I would like to try white letters on a dark paper.


Following Jacqueline Svaren’s excellent advice in Written Letters “As soon as possible do real things,” an excerpt from Neal Stephenson’s Anathem in which Orolo advises Erasmus. Though this is not as real as a post card and not quite suitable for display (a smudge, a bungled letter, and several poor entrances), but it compensates in size (A3), strokes (there is a background of double and quadruple Gothic lettering in 1% sepia), and preliminaries (from planning to trials). Notably, I did not make one spelling mistake.

It may not be widely appreciated, but I am an adherent to the advice.

This is A3, Winsor & Newton, 130 gsm paper, Pilot parallel pens 3.8 and 2.4 mm, their sepia ink diluted to 1% for the doubled Gothic background (the first 30 lines or so of Nabokov’s Pale Fire [even if it cannot be read, one might as well transcribe something enjoyable]), their red and black for the half uncials and uncials. The central Gothic beauty a rationalization outline in black ink bleeding into the fill with 1% sepia ink. That sounds technical enough to be a deconstruction. The third image is transillumination through my home-made LED lightbox, and the fourth is the mock-up.


Scraps from mock layouts. I decided on only “beauty” in black Gothic minuscules. This project may take some time.

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The cat looks familiar, but there are hundreds in the neighborhood. A very decorated utility box on the north side of the east end of Bliss street.

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This story, before its alteration for spacing and letter representation, appeared in 2013 “Once Upon a Time,” and could not be entitled “Gone Goth,” because that is the title of a post about Moustachio’s eye loss. I could probably rename that post “Eye Loss in Beirut,” but it would be a poor pun (and biblical Samson reference via Milton and Huxley). The university reference is pointed enough. “To Be Continued” could work, but the story has not yet been conceived.

This was an exercise to clear thoughts of work from my head. If I do it again more slowly, I might be able to do well enough for physical display. Blackletter requires better adherence to verticality and greater attention to letter spacing.

Pilot parallel pens (6.0 and 3.8 mm), their cartridged ink (a little too wet), and Winsor & Newton smooth surface drawing and sketching paper, A3 130 gsm, available locally (after 13 years, I learned there is a very good stationary store, Diabco, in the neighborhood). There was some problem with feathering or bleeding (see 5 o’clock on the first letter). I do not know whether it is the ink, the paper, both, or particular to the combination. I am looking forward to trying ink from Noodler’s. I do have some Winsor & Newton ink, but it is India ink and not suitable for fountain pens. The second image is the firt day’s work (after an earlier trial), and the third image is with the ruling paper below on the light box. It seems a luxury crutch, but it beats having to erase penciled rulings. Note that ToonCamera is outlining the red letters: they are not outlined in reality.


Yes, many responded with degrees of inebriation, possibly even unto excess. We made it through the denial stage, and of course, “How I spent my summer vacation” was the most common story. After hearing of other’s travel trials and tribulations, I felt my 16-hour, Danger Zone/Axis of Evil flight did not even rate an honorable mention in the air travel competition, what with no lost luggage, broken planes, or anxiety attacks. Our train trip, yet to be recounted here, did well in the surface travel category.

Sunset was about 7:00 pm. The script is from Jacqueline Svaren’s excellent book “Written Letters.” The script is based on Ernst Schneidler’s typeface “Legend.” The pen was a Pilot Parallel Pen with a 3.8 mm and their ink.

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A most remarkable revelation occurred many weeks yet few posts ago: I cleaned my iPad lens. I had been having more and more difficulty with getting ToonCamera to focus and give me images with “snap,” “pop,” and “bokeh.” I thought maybe ToonCamera was wearing out. I recalled reading about the many smart device users whose solutions to problems with apps is to buy a new device. That is something the manufacturers could surreptitiously encourage. I am interested in an imini-pad or whatever they are called, but it would seem a heavy-handed approach. Then, I happened to look at the little lens. It was filthy! A few minutes later, and everything was peachy keen again, so now I have many images doing justice to ToonCamera again. Unfortunately, the trip to Japan was compromised. I will have to visit again.

The title is that of a science-fiction novella by John Varley. It won Hugo and Nebulla awards in 1979, about when would have been when I read it.

The flowers are lavenders in Beit Meri from the bee’s eye’s view.



Thanksgiving has given me an excuse to have a little fun with my new Pilot Parallel Pens. Uncials seemed better than Gothic for this. I decided against outlining the vermillion letters with black, but ToonCamera did it for me.

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I foresee a market for non-conductive selfie sticks. Normally when I see warnings, I imagine they were inspired by actual dire consequences. Surely the warnings on the London Tube to “Mind the Gap,” respond (correspond?) to many real incidents. In this case, the Japanese organizational aptitude combined with frighteningly oblivious foreign (Chinese) tourists could have inspired these warnings without actual fatal incidents.