Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Pathway to a Letter

The pathway to a letter lies in the end of a feather.

I am on a mission. I am on a mission of discovery. I am late. I promised my niece Ceba that I'd make a wonderful pen from the buzzard feather she found one Sunday when we were walking down to the Armstrong Campground after a family reunion. She gave it to me, even after I'd explained what a find it was. Ceba is an adult now. She's been places I've dreamed of visiting. She was in the army, because she wanted to see the world.

Well, our Ceba saw enough of our world to last her for a long while. And in all the time she was growing and exploring, I never got around to keeping my promise. Oh, I did the research and all. I stalled when it came to the sand part. And here's the real truth about why that pen never came into being:

I'm a greedy-book-loving, curiosity-collecting, experimenting . . . Okay, in our family, I'm the one labeled weird. Do you have a cabinet of curiosities? Have you ever wanted one? Well, let's put a book marker here and move on for a little while.

So, when we made it back to the homestead, and certain people saw the feather, naturally, they wanted to know, "Why in the world do you have that old nasty buzzard feather?" I explained. It seemed the most natural thing to do with such an amazing specimen. Wouldn't you have done the same thing? Who among you hasn't wondered what it would be like to write with a quill.? And better yet, wouldn't you like to make one? How cool would it be?


Are you surprised to hear that the insults and barbs, derisive comments about "Your Weirdness," hit home like it was a title I'd won? It felt like I wore those words written in glitter on a sash across my bosoms after they found their way under my skin. A little of that goes a long way, but it didn't keep me from stashing that feather in my suitcase, and bringing it home. Nasty buzzard oils and mites be danged!


Ceba visited for a week before she graduated. She saw the feather in a vase on my dresser. I promised a quill again. And so, here it is, too long later, with the magic still undone.

I am finally going to do it. I've done more research. I've even watched a video on how to cut the nib properly. Only problems I have . . . I don't want to cut away the feathers. I don't want to cut the feather in half either. The cats have already had a field day with Ceba's quill. You saw how pathetic is looks now. And if I don't do something soon, time and decay will win. So, if anyone has any sound advice learned from experience, will you please help a sister out?

Thanks in advance. Oh! And I promise you the first letter that flows from  the nib of my splendiferous quill pen.

Sincerely sincere,

This Limner
P.S. It's truly a long feather. It's laying in my olive dish, and its length fills it.


  1. I hope another reader will have an idea for you . Wonderful blog .

  2. I would say to just leave the feather exactly the way it is. Don't trim it. The whole point is that it will have ink in it and will feel so wonderful for the person using it. And, now the feather holds stories after being kept for so long.

    On weirdness. I recently visited a museum in Winslow, Arizona where one of the owners is an artist. She has the most bizarre (some people would say "weird"), interesting, thought-provoking huge oil paintings displayed in one corridor of the hotel. I smiled as I viewed each canvas and the "weirdness" of her art. In a way I cannot explain, I felt relieved that there are other people out there that see the world differently and are not afraid to express it and display it for everyone to see.

    So I say, embrace your weirdness. It's not a bad thing.

  3. Susan, thanks. In the demo they cut the feather in half, then trimmed away all the feathers. I think I'll leave everything as close to the nib as possible.

    Yes! You're too right! "And, now the feather holds stories after being kept for so long." Your words are priceless. I am going to transfer them to my journal and keep them for as long as "my forever" lasts. I really do appreciate your comments.

    I hope you won't want to print a retraction before this little tale ends. More is coming. But, I am going to be my authentic self from now on. Photos to follow.

    I love being able to get away with some things because I am an artist, and we're given special license to be weird. I am going to embrace it, Susan, and own it.

    Thanks! I adore your advice.