Welcome to Quill Drivers Quarters
Welcome to the wonderful world of scribes, wordsmiths, and knights of the pen.
This is an online gathering place for those who have a knack for stringing words and sentences together and a passion for communicating things that truly matter whether in the form of a letter or billet-doux, fleeting thoughts on a postcard, or perhaps a personal note in a greeting card.
While new digital technology allows us to express ourselves instantly with blurbs on blogs, emoticons in emails, or tweets for twitter-types, the act of writing a thoughtful piece of prose appears to be a lost art form.
It is hoped that Quill-Drivers Quarters will fill a useful gap between the analogue and digital worlds by encouraging and supporting the art of letter writing as a much needed and welcoming form of heart-to-heart communication.
Image Credit: Writing symbols courtesy of public domain images found in karenswhimsy.com
What the heck is a quill?
(Please take the following definition with a grain of salt and a pinch of pepper.)
"Quill, n. An implement of torture yielded by a goose and commonly wielded by an ass. This use of the quill is now obsolete, but its modern equivalent, the steel pen, is wielded by the same everlasting Presence."
Source: Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, Wordsworth Editions Limited, Great Britain, 1996, p. 200.
Questions and Answers
Image Credit: Quill photo from Morguefile.com by M. Connors.
Are you tired of twiddling your thumbs or looking for a way to relieve the numbness in your fingers that comes from texting all day long?
If the answer is yes, you've come to the right spot. If not, may we suggest that you lighten up and consider taking a course in "How To Discover Your Inner Imp with the Help of Play Dough".
Do you like to sip tea, milk and/or cookies, playing with your imagination as well as oodles of pens, pencils, and paper, and perhaps an old typewriter, vintage photos, and postage stamps?
Well, now that we've established that you like a little nostalgia, enjoy a snack or two, and are eager to use your fingers and hands in a creative way, you have all the prerequisites necessary to indulge in a flight of fancy.
Why organize a letter-writing club?
Well, the simple answer is why not.
When was the last time that you received something in the mail that wasn't a bill, a perfunctory form letter from an elected official, or a solicitation for patronage from a local business or a request from a charity to donate to their cause? And, even more to the point, when was the last time you took the time to write a thoughtful yet personal note to a friend or family member that was more than one line long followed your scribbled signature just below a well-crafted poem or piece of prose by a greeting card company.
How about sitting down for one hour this week, in a comfortable spot with your favorite writing tools and write a letter from the heart to a dear friend whom you haven't seen for awhile, a parent far away, or even your next door neighbor who has a cheery smile on his/her face every day even if the weather isn't cooperating. You never know what this treasured keepsake will mean to you as the creator and to that special someone who may be touched by your thoughtful gesture and timely words.
"My memory is certainly in my hands. I can remember things only if I have a pencil and I write with it and I can play with it. I think your hand concentrates for you. I don't know why it should be so." - Dame Rebecca West
And the power of hand-written communication
Image Credit: Message Stones from Morguefile.com by Darren Hester
In a world that measures the value of things in terms of time and money, words have their own intrinsic value.
They can inspire faith, hope, and love, for they help us to bring to light the dreams and aspirations that lie deep within our souls. Or, they can be used to incite fear, hatred, and violence to keep us in a wretched state of ignorance, pain, and perpetual darkness.
Therefore, let the pen in your hands be mightier than the sword you may be asked to wield. Let this powerful tool be used to uplift hearts, minds, and spirits so that we can leave this world a better place. Let your words make this a day to remember. Choose words that heal not hurt, words that help not hinder, and words that reflect the harmony and hospitality of a world filled with wit, wonder, and wisdom.
Are your words full of complaints or compliments?
"Our words are powerful, so powerful that they can change our reality -- the quality of our days and nights."
Sarah Ban Breathnach, from "October 20" in Simple Abundance - A Daybook of Comfort and Joy (New York: Warner Books, Inc.), 1995.
Letters from the Heart
Image Credit: A Collection of Holiday Season Letters - photo by contrariaN creativE
With the advent of computers, color printers, and pre-printed poinsettia paper, happy holiday greetings has become a bit of a ho-hum habit for many folks. Digital devices come in handy, especially when it comes to crafting your annual Christmas letter and sending it off to family and friends and even a few foes. Remember, it's never too late to melt the ice or bury the hatchet by inviting them to roast some chestnuts over an open fire or to share a hot toddy together.
Why not try something different this year. Send one friend, one family member and one colleague at work or one client a heart felt hand-crafted greeting from the heart. It may take you a bit of time to come up with something quite unique to say about each person, but it's a gentle reminder to find that special spark and memorable magic that each of us possess if we sit back, reflect on things from the perspective of the very best spirit that lives inside of you.
Time to Create, Time to Receive, and Time to Read
Image Credit: Snail shell sculpture - photo by contrariaN creativE
Symbols of modernity include instant coffee and pudding, not to mention instant messaging and instagrams. So anything that moves at glacial speed or a snail's pace is considered antedeluvian.
The fact is that letters take time to write (a good deal more time than talking). This might be attributed to the fact that they require a certain level of artfulness and reflection in order to convey the writer's ideas or views. Once written, having them delivered by pidgeon or pony express added both a sense of adventure as well as time spent in transit from the sender to the receiver. And, then they must be read by the recipient, which also requires time to absorb the content, perhaps to be reread, tucked away for another day of reading, or perhaps to be found at some point in the future by an unknown but inquisitive interloper.
To deliver your letters or packages when and where it counts!
Image Credit: Canada Post logo - photo by contrariaN creativE
Sorting the mail may be a high-tech operation carried out by worker bees in central processing facilities dotted across the country, but the delivery is still a low-tech affair. Receiving mail today in your postbox may be faster than by carrier pidgeon or on horseback, but it doesn't arrive lickety-split like e-mail does.
Things have change quite a bit since the first piece of mail was delivered 320 years ago in Canada, courtesy of a horse and buggy plus driver who made the trip from Quebec City to Montreal. With improvements made in transportation vehicles over the intervening years, mail is delivered through rain, hail, sleet and snow with the help of dog-sleds, Ski-doos and all-terrain vehicles, not to mention bicycles, trucks, rowboats, ferries, helicopters, and jet aircraft, although no one has invented the most-sought after high-powered, low-emission vehicle -- the flying carpet.
According to Canada Post only ten per cent of the delivery bag content is personal mail (once the bread and butter of postal services the world over), thirty percent is advertising (flyers, coupons etc.) while the parcels account for the remainder of items delivered door-to-door.
While e-mail is quick, postal carriers report that people still like to get mail, especially a hand-written note, a Christmas card, the odd postcard or two, and of course, all their online purchases from eBay and Amazon.com.
So next next you put pen to paper, or craft your thank you letter or anniversary greeting on your vintage Smith-Corona typewriter, don't forget to pop it into an envelope, put on a stamp, and drop it in a mailbox. And express your appreciation to all those hard-working folks from Canada Post whom you can trust ..."On land, and on line, we deliver"
The important soul task of writing letters
Image Credit: Posted Letter - photo be contrariaN creativE
Thomas Moore in his book, Soul Mates, discusses the role that letters play in creating the intimate imagination. He points out the many aspects of life that contribute to this artful endeavor: the writing of the correspondence, envelopes, postage stamps, mailboxes, and of course the person who delivers the mail.
"A great deal of pleasurable fantasy surrounds the important soul task of writing letters. An envelope is one of the few things in the modern world we seal, thus creating a private space for expression. Stemps are usually not mere tokens of monetary exchange, but small paintings, the closest thing we have to medieval miniature art, and they are also of interest to collectors, partly because of the variety of fantasy they contain, from national figures to local flora and fauna."
Quote Source: Thomas Moore, Soul Mates (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1994), p. 124
A marvellous collection of letters between sons and mothers offering an intriguing perspective on the life of more than fifty writers, painters, and musicians.
On the Art of Putting Pen To Paper:
"The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought,
this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps
us regain our equilibrium. " - Norbet Platt
An act of reverence uniting hearts and souls.
Image Credit: Letter Writing photo by M. Connors from Morguefile.com
With so much written material in the world from newspapers, books, and magazines to journals, reports, and theses, to electronic mail, blogs, and 140-character tweets, words often become woody, stunted, or hackneyed, thereby increasing the distance between the author and the reader.
What makes letter-writing an art is the act of imagination on the part of the individual who is putting his or her thoughts into vivid metaphors, thoughtful sentences, and well-structured paragraphs. Unlike speech, when we write a letter we tend to avoid rambling on or shift quickly from topic to topic. We choose our words more carefully, what we may or may not include, and in particular we engage in serious thought and reflection as we keep in mind the person to whom we are writing.
But, the reader must also engage his or her imagination, memory, and feelings. It is often said that friends live in each other's hearts, which is perhaps why the act of writing a letter invites us to recollect and converse with not only our own soul but also the deepest nature of the other. In many ways, the writing of a letter is a way of bringing people together in a more profound way, by straddling the boundary in space or time between them.
"A letter is a mutual conversation between absent friends, which should be neither unpolished, rough, nor artificial, nor confined to a single topic, nor tediously long. Thus the epistolary form favours simplicity, frankness, humor, and wit."
Erasmus of Rotterdam
A top of the line writing tool, this gold-plated fine fountain stylus is an excellent gift for a writer who prefers pen and paper rather than relying on a typewriter or or laptop to record their thoughts.
In the hands of a poet or prose writer, this sleek and sophisticated fountain pen will surely inspire the muse and deliver a magical experience.
A finely-crafted fountain pen is truly a gift from the gods, especially in the hands of those who have a way with words.
A fine letter and envelope set designed to revive the interest in hand-written communications, especially those who wish to craft them with the aid of a fountain pen.
A fine leather-bound, wrap-around writing journal - a perfect place to craft one's prose or poetry.
Image Credit: Feathered Quill - photo by contrariaN creativE
For those with a Celtic connection and perhaps a fondness for kilts, a dram or two of whisky, they never miss an opportunity to celebrate Scotland's National Bard on Burns Night on 25 January every year.
A lyrical language, Scottish Gaelic, has a number of words that convey the art and crafting crafting of the written word:
-- scrieve, vb. - to write
-- scrape o the pen, n. a letter
-- seil, n. - blessing, bliss, happiness
-- skailie-pen, n. - slate pencil
-- skaillie-brod, n. - writing slate
-- smeddum, n. - animation, drive, pith, spirit, vigour
-- subscribent, n. - subscriber
-- teet-meet, n. - a low muttered conversation, a whispering together
-- vocable, n. - a word
-- weill-hertit, adj. - good-hearted, good-natured, optimistic
-- wheemer, vb. - to mutter
-- wittinsblad, n. - newspaper
Source: Glossary of Scots Words
Now here's one fine collection of love letters and amusing art from the hands of one very talent writer, Nick Bantock.
Karen Elizabeth Gordon knows how to weave words in a whimsical way, and this little gem provides a wonderfully engaging way to write sentences that pack a little whollop.
Definition of Postscript
"Postscript, n. The only portion of a lady's letter which you need read, if you are in a hurry."
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (Hertfordshire, U.K.: Wordsworth Editions Limited, 1966), p. 192.