Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Journal or the Pen

Time to share some of the interesting findings from my journal writing research (thanks to those of you who sent in survey responses ... if you haven't ... email me and I will send you one to fill out or fill in the Journal Survey at Delivering the Vision).

I really had fun reading about the tools of the trade you talked about. I have my own (not so secret) addiction to blank books ... hmmm which reminds me that I found a lovely set in my local gift shop hand made in Indonesia that I just HAVE to go back and buy!)... it is kind of logical that the book you write in is going to be important. I also suspected that the writing tools might be important.

My own experience was the first clue! As a youngster I discovered ink pens early on. My hand writing makes a doctor's look neat ... so I need all the help I can get. Ink helped me to be more careful and I found that some nib styles made even my writing look great. Somewhere in my teens I discovered a beautiful peacock blue colour (I think it was done by Parker Pens and Inks and I suspect they still do it). I wrote everything I could in that peacock blue ... and I love that colour in everything from ink to clothes to this day.

I always found plain blue to be boring. If it had to be ordinary ink then I always chose black. And I always choose a good strong black. Black looks great on a white page after all... Even with my self restricted stationary budget ( I have to be so tough on myself when it comes to stationary of any kind!) I go for the gel black or Artline Fine Tip in black. Of course my daily journals are written with a pen with gel ink refills ... never with an ordinary pen (see the hints coming through???).

"But what really gave it away for me was the fact that people all over the State of Western Australia KNOW me for my purple pens! "

The purple pen obsession started when I was at University and my thesis was being supervised by a couple of fantastic feminst scholars - Dr Dani Stehlik and Dr Lekkie Hopkins. For those of you who don't know, purple is a colour with strong links to feminism (as well as higher thought, royalty and spirituality). It is also a colour that is rare in nature (and thus precious) and that has led to serious discussion amongst colour experts and artists. (Check out the 'net - the debate still rages in quiet corners!).

But I digress. Both these women had lectured and mentored me in my undergraduate years and when it came to supervising me they took me and my project on with both hands and owned my success in a way that only great women do! At our first offical supervisor's meeting in Dani's office we had percolated coffee and pastries ... and because both women knew that I kept a regular journal AND a research journal ... I was given a purple pen as a gift to write with ... and it all began. It was almost like it signified the passing of a torch ... and I was expected to work tirelessly and honestly with it now I had the purple pen as a tool!

For me ... the purple pen represented my real writing, the real me, the journal me. Some entries aren't in purple (which is really strange as I began a purple pen collection to shame any other collection one could have!) .. but most are ... and the purple pen writings became as important to me as the research work I was writing (sometimes more important) ... For those who don't know me ... along with the support of my brave supervisors I ended up including excerpts from my journal IN to my thesis. A brave move for those days ... and one which has paved the way for many other scholars to do the same in the social sciences now ...

So the purple pen was about support and bravery. About being a pioneer yet a graduate from many years of struggle by women scholars before me. And at the same time it was a comfortable place to be. The purple pen became the representation of the real me ... the me in my journal ...

I use purple pens almost as a signature now ... so why the hell was I surprised when other people had so much to say about the tools of writing when it comes to their journal? Silly me huh! My supervisors from my early research days would groan if they thought I STILL had so much doubt ... I swear they did their best to gently beat it out of me ...

Signing off in purple ...


1 comment: said...

Well written Pamela,and most interesting to hear the Birth of you Purple Pens.

I also was most interested in the fact you also preferred a Peacock blue ink! Why??/ I know your Granmother also used that colour as your Mother has always liked the same,but it is not so easy to come by these days.

Love hearing how you got started in all your adventures. Regards Adele