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TOOLS OF THE TRADE - July 1, 2023

I can’t imagine a hobby worth doing that doesn’t have its own set of tools, be they as simple as a magnifying glass for a closer look at a new stamp or as powerful as a fiery kiln for a clay pot. I’m sure most people would resist calling their passion a hobby. That makes it sound trivial, frivolous, when in fact, it might be the source of the only comfort in someone’s difficult life.

You can lose yourself in creating, collecting, swapping, whatever it is you desire. It doesn’t matter if its monetary value is zero to anyone else. To you, it’s priceless and, best of all, gives you the excuse you need to accumulate the irresistible extra bits and bobs that you can’t possibly do without. The notebooks filled with plastic sleeves for the stamps (I wonder if anyone still collects stamps and, if they do, what effect the ubiquitous Forever stamp has on their value), the etching tool for creating just the right effect in that clay pot; all the goodies that go along for the ride are sometimes the best part.

Writers’ tools have always attracted me. I’ve never been able to pass a stationery store without going in and buying at least one blank book. I now have a collection of those leather or cardboard bound treats with their lined pages still blank but a beacon of hope that someday I’ll have just the right story to fill them.

Hours have passed while I try to decide on just the right pad with just the right pen because the muse would never show up without the ideal vehicles to carry her words.

Computers have made the physical process of writing much easier but don’t help at all when the inspirational well has run dry. The click clack of the keyboard doesn’t compare with the vision of ink sliding out of the perfect pen onto the perfect page. Nothing says inspiration like a Mont Blanc fountain pen you’ve had for years with its silver point releasing a stream of words in Waterman green ink. It takes on a life of its own, giving you the gift of making your thoughts tangible without a convenient Delete button if you change your mind.

Writing isn’t my hobby. It’s my passion and would be even without the tools of the trade. But it’s so much better with them.

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