I Write with a Quill Pen for the First Time

The quill has a lot of history behind its feathery spine. It was used to sign important documents like the Declaration of Independence. It was used to compose poems and craft stories by the ancient masters. It was stuck into hats for the perfect feathery embellishment. The list goes on.

I’ve always wanted to give it a try, and on a quiet afternoon, I did just that!

An over-priced ink and quill set had been purchased during our Washington D.C. trip a few years ago. Due to the craziness of life and how these things tend to get lost, it was never used, until the office was being cleaned out and it was discovered.

The ink was dry, obviously, so some water was added to it and it was all ready.

Mama demonstrated for me, having some experience with ink pens which she used during high-school. In her usual gorgeous, flowing script, she wrote my name on one of the two provided pieces of crunchy parchment. I watched with raptured eyes at the deliciously thick strokes, the deliciously wet ink, the delicious-ness of dipping the quill in the ink bottle and wiping it slightly on the side. So awed was I that my word arsenal of synonyms for ‘delicious’ ran out.

Then it was my turn.

I decided to start safe with writing my name, and the result was…

An epic smudge.

That’s what happens, my friends, when you forget to wipe the quill on the side of the bottle and get too much ink. But then I tried again and it turned out rather nicely, if I do say so myself.

In case you’re wondering, the smudge over Mama’s ‘a’ on top was also my fault.

I felt quite confident with my skills at this point, so I decided to use the one parchment left to write one of my favorite poems, by Tolkien, of course. This one.

It was so mesmerizing to dip the quill in the ink, wipe it gently, write like a true calligrapher, and do it all over again. The crinkle of the paper, the scratching of the tip, the scent of ink, the…oops. I made a classic, textbook mistake.

I knocked over the ink bottle.

I rapidly righted the bottle, but my heart felt like tearing in two at the ink pooling like blood as it dribbled down the page.

Yet, terrible and heart-rending as the accident was, I felt a ridiculously silly grin stretch across my face. I was just like those children in those books who spilled their ink! And it wasn’t as if I could pour the ink back in the bottle. And at least it was on the practice page.

So I shouldered on.

At long last, I finished the task. But since I wrote it from memory, I got the lines and some words all mixed up. My version of Tolkien’s poem is not as epic, I can tell you that. Behold:

Complete with the spilled ink. It kind of looks like an official seal? Maybe? πŸ˜‚

After this experience, was I forever enraptured with quill-penning and ink writing? Did I buy myself a packet of parchment and proceed to craft documents just like the writers of yore? Did I stick a feather in my hat??

…no, I did not.

You see, there is a reason pens and pencils and other modern writing utensils were invented. Writing by ink and quill takes a very long time, a great deal of patience, and a calm, steady hand — none of which I have in abundance. The tip of the feather tended to get stuck and randomly refuse to cooperate, forcing me to repeat strokes and almost tear holes through the paper. Then, of course, there was the ever-present stress of knocking over the ink bottle.

Not the best conditions for serious writing. πŸ˜…

That said, it really was a romantic experience overall, and everyone should try it out at least once. πŸ˜‰

Until next time,

Bon Voyage!

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16 thoughts on “I Write with a Quill Pen for the First Time

  1. My siblings and I used to make quill pens for fun. XD The ink was more difficult to make, but it was worth it for that satisfying “skritch skriiiitch” XD

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ooo how cooll!!! Lol, the classic textbook mistake of spilling the ink bottle… at least you could find some romanticism in that! πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was a delight to read. =D I, too, have spilled ink, though from the looks of your picture, you spilled a fraction of what I did and didn’t stain a drawing board in the process. XD (That was from doing calligraphy, not using a quill pen. I still want to try a quill pen).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. πŸ˜‚ Ohh man. At least your ink didn’t spill on the floor?? My reflexes acted out of mortal fear of staining household fixtures. πŸ˜…

      Calligraphy though, has always sounded amazing. I shall try that out while you try a quill pen. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This was a lovely little story! You’re results look quite nice. I have always been enthralled by the romantic idea and aesthetic appeal of quill pens, but I know I haven’t the patience to use them, hehe. I will have to try it some day, though.

    Liked by 1 person

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