You are a silly old bat, Aunt Scarlet!’ Charmaine yelled down from the attic.
I frowned and considered getting some further insulation so that I couldn’t hear the girl whenever she got in a tis.
‘You don’t need a reservoir on a Mitchell broad edge nib!’ she continued, ‘All you need to do is drop some ink in the dimple on the top of the nib and it writes fine.’
I frowned some more, but I was so concerned by her revelation that I roused myself from my chaise longue and wandered into my light and airy studio to test her theory…
Dimple on the top side of the Mitchell nib.
The dimple filled with ink
I frowned some more. I had always wondered what that damn dimple was for. The girl was correct and the only downside to this technique was that the dimple did not hold as much ink as a conventional underside reservoir, thus it needed to be filled more often. This didn’t bother me as I believed it would be an easier for beginners who struggled with the reservoir.
‘And pray tell me Charmaine, from where did you find this tip?’ I shouted up to the attic.
‘Fink it was from Instagram… fink it was Cheryl Dyer’s feed.’
I nodded to myself as I had long been an admirer of Ms Dyer’s work [website HERE] and it didn’t surprise me that she would know such useful things about the mysteries of calligraphy nibs.
I looked around my studio and feeling inspired I sat at my desk to continue working on my own little project…
My latest masterpiece…. an extract from my favourite book.
Miraculously my memory returned and with it my wayward identity. I could remember almost everything – that I was an artistic genius of unparalleled proportions; that I was from a tiny East Sussex village called Mogwash; and that my most recent artworks were visual representations of concealed emotional torment. Indeed, with my ‘Bottled Feelings’ I had revelled in the simultaneous expressions of concealment and revelation with a creative flair not witnessed in an individual since August 10th 1903. I also remembered that I was the highly intelligent, yet modest author, of the much loved ‘Wonky Words’ fiction blog that had garnered a cult following of Yahoo slurps, googlebots, and some important people in Washington… FBI bots… Via my excellent website, wonky-words.com, I had left a series of ingenious clues that would lead my faithful readers to a bottle known as ‘Bottled Greed’, a bottle filled with a smorgasbord of treasured trinkets and priceless family heirlooms – probably hidden somewhere within the vicinity of Luddley-cum-Mogwash. Frustrated that belief in ‘Bottled Greed’ was minimal, I puzzled over the problem of convincing my readership of my sincerity… There was only one thing for it…. I’d dig the damn thing up myself…. buy a new car, some new boots…. the Estee Lauder Beauty counter…. invest in some art…. if only I could remember where I’d buried the damn thing….
I t was perhaps several months later when I awoke to find myself in a hospital bed in Dorchester. I had forgotten everything – Mogwash, the bottle of greed, my dear friend Sebastian and the fact that I was merely a character from a fictional blog. The doctors spent many hours trying to help me regain my identity, all seemed hopeless… I had been found wandering, dazed and confused in The Booze Bucket – purveyors of fine wines and dubious ciders. Chillingly, I had a fatal head wound and a not unattractive limp.
Nationwide television appeals pleading for friends or relatives to come forward to identify me and take me home proved fruitless. It appeared that I had not been reported missing.
To pass the time I spent many happy afternoons in the hospital craft room teaching myself the ancient forgotten skills of calligraphy; hour upon hour would pass whilst I sat at a desk addressing colourful envelopes to imaginary people with made up addresses.
Dr. Clive Mutterfort, DGM, MRCOG, MClinPscychol, MFFP, DCH, PhD, GCSE,
seemed convinced that clues to my identity/hometown/bottle of greed were to be found in my inky scribblings, I had no reason to persuade him otherwise.
Desperate attempts to engage my new audience fellow Mogwashians in darkly humorous Boltanski-esque projects, although brilliant, proved to be completely and utterly futile, the last of these projects almost fatally so. One fateful day in May, I was once again attempting to enlist Sebastian’s help with what I considered to be an amusing artistic pursuit featuring a box of broken glass, a tube of superglue and three cryptic text messages. Sebastian later described my ‘peculiar activities’ to the East Sussex Constabulary as being, ‘gratuitously self-indulgent and devoid of any serious theoretical or philosophical merit’,
going on to claim that my, ‘continuous and ludicrous characterisation’, of him on my, ‘grubby little website’, had caused him, ‘significant embarrassment’. My offer to bottle his rage, turning it into an eye-catching ornament for his living room had so overwhelmed him with gratitude, that in his haste to offer thanks he slipped and inadvertently bashed me over the head with an empty Campari bottle….as I sat by the river on my weather-proof jacket, trying to dislodge a stone from my Wellington boot.
As the long nights drew in and then drew out again, the ‘bottle of Greed’, now nothing more than a hazy yet somewhat expensive memory, lay undisturbed. A more pressing concern now consumed me. In my haste, whilst creating ‘bottled Revenge’, I had misguidedly seen fit to use my own hair and clothing to produce the wax effigy, all silly superstitious fears had been pushed aside as I dispassionately pierced the effigy of myself with pins. My bravado may have been misplaced because since the creation of ‘bottled Revenge’ I had unwittingly become the initiator of a series of social blunders leaving those around me, hurt, betrayed, confused and perhaps a bit cross. I began to feel that I had been possessed by a demented demon hell bent on malevolent mayhem. A fine example of this was my first foray into ‘Bottled People’ (a new and exciting concept at www.wonky-words.com) and involved my best friend, Jules. My brief was to bottle her essence, to create a bottled representation of her character, of her soul, of her very being; to produce an object that reflected her innate charm, poise and sophistication. The pearl necklace bursting through the neck of her bottle is obviously symbolic of her sparkling, frothy personality, an idea conceived in what I believe was a moment pure unadulterated artistic genius. Jules, inexplicably, didn’t see it this way.
Is art a substitute for gratification? According to Freud . . .
“There is, in fact, a path from phantasy back again to reality and that is – art. The artist has also an introverted disposition and has not far to go to become neurotic. He is one who is urged on by instinctive needs which are too clamorous; he longs to attain to honour, power, riches, fame and the love of women; but he lacks the means of achieving these gratifications. So, like any other unsatisfied longing, he turns away from reality and transfers all his interest and all his libido too, on to the creation of his wishes in life. There must be many factors in combination to prevent this becoming the whole outcome of his development; it is well known how often artists in particular suffer from partial inhibition of their capacities through neurosis. Probably their constitution is endowed with a powerful capacity for sublimation and with a certain flexibility in the repressions determining the conflict. He is not the only one who has a life of phantasy; the intermediate world of phantasy is sanctioned by a general human consent and every hungry soul looks to it for comfort and consolation. But to those who are not artists, the gratification that can be drawn from the springs of phantasy is very limited . . . a true artist has more at his disposal.”