Day 17 – “Q” Quills
I was a Jo March groupie when I was younger. “Little Women” was the first classic I read as a child, and I absolutely fell in love with Josephine. Her tomboyish ways, her love for reading, her dedication to scribbling away at her stories; every single aspect of her young personality resonated with me. I have far surpassed her in age, but I still love rereading that book, typically at Christmas; like many favored books, I get something new out of this novel every time I read it.
My mother knew how much I admired Jo and, as an accomplished seamstress, put together a pinafore and mob cap (much like the one Jo wore when she wrote late into the night) to wear when I was writing some of my short stories, attempting to channel my inner Jo. Looking back, I laugh at how silly this was, but it is a memory that I will forever cherish, one that was a first in my career as a young writer.
Being true to the time period I was trying to emulate, my ensemble was not complete without a fountain pen or feather quill. Also a favorite of mine, were the “Felicity” books in the “American Girls” series. I begged my parents to get me a craft book that accompanied this series, complete with instructions on how to create items and partake in crafts mentioned throughout the books. Penmanship practice was one of the things the main character worked on; as such, one of the crafts was “how to make and use your own feather quill.” And make and use I did!
There was something about utilizing this “ancient” method of writing that gave me such a rush as a kid. We had a number of writers in our family history, and I felt that by writing poems and stories for my own family, employing the same method as they used, I was in some way connecting with my ancestors. A childish fantasy, but one that I still treasure.
It saddens me that the fine art of penmanship is gradually becoming lost. I still enjoy handwriting letters to friends and family versus writing an email, and hope that I never lose the desire to do that. It’s heartbreaking that schools are increasingly not teaching cursive, a form of handwriting that may be foreign to our future generations.
Do you have any memories of using a quill or fountain pen? Do you partake in calligraphy? What are your thoughts on the all too real concept of penmanship dying out?