Using a Quill

My youngest son Casey made this quill fountain pen for me. The point of the pen slows my writing down, but I also like to think it brings something of the spirit of wild turkeys into the written word.

Casey has always been unique in his pursuits. When he was still in the early years of elementary school, he started collecting swords, two of which he wanted to be mounted over his bed in an “X”. “No mom would allow that in earthquake country,” I told him. He was annoyed but complied. I am sure he understands now that he has two sons of his own, both about that age.

When he was in middle school he joined the Center for Creative Anachronisms and learned to fence. He ordered pirate hats with feathers and great capes lined in silk. Once in Florence, Italy, he bargained with a hardware store owner for the price of armored gloves. When he discovered that the store owner tricked him and was only selling him one glove for the agreed-upon price, he walked away from the deal.

These days he makes unique and beautiful knives, often out of old files he finds at garage sales and then fires and reforms the steel. A son whom you can count on to do the unexpected, he is massively generous in his time and energy. He is also one of the best critics that I have of my own writing, telling me as he sees it. He is reading my most recent manuscript now, Fruits of Eden: Fighting for Home in Napa.

What I like about writing with Casey’s quill is this: a fountain pen definitely slows me down, not like typing or even writing with a uni-ball pen. I become conscious of the movement of my hand as the words flow. Do I write different words from when I type? I ask myself this. Does slowing down put us in a different state of mind? Then add that wild turkey feather energy to the mix. Wild turkeys know how to live in the wild. I like to think one of their feathers brings a little of that to my writing.

Casey too. He is a little of the wild, the generous, the one who walks to his own drummer, and when I use this gift from him, I feel all of that.