Slow Down

Before keyboards let us type at blinding speed, there were pens. In 7th grade, we used fountain pens to write. We were not allowed to cross out words, and ink eradicator was hard to use. The clear liquid came in a brown bottle with a glass rod attached to the lid. You opened the bottle, and carefully wiped the almost dry glass rod over the mistake. The liquid bleached out the mistake. You had to wait patiently for the paper to dry before you touched the pen to paper again, otherwise it would blur.pen and leaf

Writing involved care, patience, and thought. When I purchased a fountain pen last week, my concentration had suffered. My thoughts churned at type speed, and I began to run words together. ‘This song’ became ‘Thisong,’ as words clumped with my impatience.

After a little practice slowing down, I could write clearly again. I put the idea to work other places, too. A morning walk replaced running years ago, but I suddenly made the connection that slowing down brings me more satisfaction.  There is much more to see when walking. It’s full summer, and berries, fruits and volunteer vegetables are popping up on the path. Fat blackberries weigh down branches. Tomato seeds thrown out last fall have grown into tall plants, with red fruit stopping me in my tracks. Nothing tastes as wonderful as a ripe, sun-warmed tomato. They’ve soaked up sunlight and biting into one fills my mouth with what’s good in life. It slows me down in the best way.

Yes, there are not enough hours in a day to get all the work done. But we won’t be getting any more time, either. Summer is a season with delights you can’t save. If you miss it, it will be gone. Nature has a lot to teach us, and one is the speed of life. There will always be more work on your desk, but local berries are in season for less time than it will take to finish the report. Air conditioning and headphones can’t explain that taste. Getting out and into the hot world does wonders.

–Find out about Slow Food in the US and Internationally
–Quinn McDonald is a writer, artist and certified creativity coach. See her work at
(c) Quinn McDonald, 2007. All rights reserved.

5 thoughts on “Slow Down

  1. Ahh, Rapidograph — the king of technical pens! I grew up in a family of draftsmen and surveyors, and they had nothing but. I still associate the unique salty smell of Rapidograph India ink with childhood. Recently, when my brother hung up his T-square for good, he gave me his old tips; some of them are 30 years old and they still run like new. What an inheritance! 😀

  2. Pete–marker pens are also a favorite of mine, staedler is good, but Copic microliners are better and Rapidographs are the best. But they are like having a pet, they need cleaning. But the rocking motion that keeps the ink fluid makes a satisfying “clunk” sound and is quite soothing.

  3. Paul–I’m kind of embarrassed about this purchase. It’s a Pelikan, but for children. It’s compact, transparent dark blue with yellow trim, and a stiff, steel, medium nib. There is no choice in nibs, just in pen color.
    The pen comes with finger dimples, so you are forced to hold it correctly–it’s a kids’ pen. I bought a right handed nib, but would like to try a left-handed nib. It was quite inexpensive for a fountain pen, and has a feature I adore–I can open it with one hand. No screw top. A small delight.

  4. You tormentor, you… how can you blog that you bought a fountain pen last week without describing the pen? We… oh, okay, probably just I… want the details! Brand, nib size, ink, please!

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