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Archive for December, 2019

Surprisingly Good

Posted by Dirck on 31 December, 2019

Looking back over the year, as one does in these closing moments of any calendar, one struggles to find positives. Most of the things in the world that were in a terrible state at the end of 2018 got worse, if not by any possible objective measure then by the more rational subjective ones. From my own perspective, this was the first year in a lifetime of dalliance with depression that it got to the point of demanding professional treatment.

On that– the magic brain pills are helping, but the awareness of international politics and environmental issues are certainly not. The only reason I haven’t given up on anything that brings news of such things to me is that I find a blow hurts a little less when you know it’s coming. Just imagine being blissfully engrossed in The Expanse or reruns of The Muppet Show for several months and then stumbling over what’s happening in Australia right now.

Your heart would stop, right?



I am also aware that the people in my life, both physically present and even in the apparently cursed realms of Social Media, are kind, caring, deeply human beings. This is great comfort. It’s not specific to the events of 2019, since most acquaintances predate the start of the year, but that’s fine. It is a situation which persisted through a year larded with ugly awfulness.

Also, I find myself in a fortunate position regarding all that ugly awfulness. I’m insulated from the majority of it. I live in Canada, and our recent nation election was not a frenzy of self-destruction by the majority of the voting public… although there was certainly a tint of that surrounding the event. The province in which I live is not in the best hands… oh, no, they’re a pile of short-sighted stumble-bums to be sure… but there’s at least two other provinces under the control of premiers who are visibly avid to make life as miserable as possible, as quickly as possible, for the maximum number of people. Relatively speaking, things could be a lot worse here.

This is all somewhat negative, still, or at least a very passive from of acceptable. Can I point to any authentically good events, he asked in a highly rhetorical manner?

Let me count them. The first is good for me somewhat at the expense of others– the decision to step back from pen repair was absolutely the right one, even if I didn’t fully understand what was driving the decision when it was made. The reduction of external pressures kept me from an absolute crash. The magic brain pills (and some other non-chemical treatments) are working, yet I’m still… I’m secure enough in myself to say “fragile.” So I’m very glad to be dealing with no pens but my own.

There’s also the writing, which suddenly proves to have been going very well indeed. Four stories accepted this year, and three of them published in the past month! Where?

These and a somewhat (and forgivably, understandably, delays payment on another story) means that my writing income for the year soared into the mid-three figures!

All right, it’s not vast riches, but it’s a nice layer of frosting on the overall sense of accomplishment which publication brings. Speaking of which, I’m also pretty proud of managing a story a day in October, during the icy depths of depression.

Finally– I’ve really got a grip on this baking malarkey:

My brother’s comment: “That stollen is SWOLLEN.” I’m pretty sure that’s meant to be a compliment

I can’t take all the credit for this most recent object. Countless yeast gave their lives for deliciousness, and I also found a rather good recipe (as long as you know to let the thing rise for about 45 minutes after the first flour installment and an hour or so once all the flour is in). It has brought joy to many, and that joy reflects in me. So, yeah, despite efforts on so many fronts, it has been a surprisingly good year for me.

And I’m sure we all may hope the next year proves much better still.

Today’s pen (also a source of delight): OMAS Arte Italiana
Todays ink (more amusement than joy, given the name): Pelikan Brilliant Brown


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The Big Bounce

Posted by Dirck on 20 December, 2019

Yes, it’s that time of year again, when the sun finally stops its southward trundle.

There’s also some kind of gift-giving festival associated with this time of year, isn’t there?

This week’s videos (yes, plural!) are all Christmas-y. I think I’ve mentioned previously that while I don’t follow Christianity, I have been embedded in it most of my life, so I’m willing to enjoy some plainly non-secular tunes in connection with the season. There’s a couple of those below.

But I also have an incorrect sense of humour, so one of these things is not like the others.

Today’s pen: Ohto Tasche
Today’s ink: Herbin Vert de Gris


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Posted by Dirck on 19 December, 2019


Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 16 December
  • 17 December
  • 18 December
  • 19 December
  • First Draft of “Uncle Bert’s Best Friend”.
  • Various pre-Yule rushing-about chores.
  • 6 manuscript pages, and done.


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Let’s All Take a Wee Break, Hm?

Posted by Dirck on 13 December, 2019

I made a mistake. I paid attention to the coverage of the political situation in the UK over the past couple of years, and then glanced at their election results.

This leads me to want to take a little break from watching avoidable self-destructive behavior.

Ah, that’s a treat. Sensible action in the face of looming threats. Fantastic.

Today’s pen: OMAS Arte Italiana
Today’s ink: Pelikan Brilliant Brown

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Posted by Dirck on 12 December, 2019


Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 10 December
  • 11 December
  • 12 December
  • 13 December
  • First Draft of “Uncle Bert’s Best Friend”.
  • 12 manuscript pages


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Posted by Dirck on 6 December, 2019

I’m going to share a couple of things I’ve watched this week, rather than hoard one away for future use. Such extravagance!

First, a bit of charming semi- or perhaps quasi-traditional animation, which follows a mythology I’m not familiar with:

Now, since it is a mythology I’m not familiar with, I don’t know how closely it holds to tradition, but I’m willing to accept it is traditionally Finnish (I’m not a subscriber to the mad idea that Finland itself was a Norse myth and only gained existed in 1923 as a scheme to frighten the Russians).

The other thing is just an excerpt from an old favourite of mine, presented by a chap with a good voice for the purpose. What struck me, though, is that it’s the first time I’ve experienced the words in connection with maps, which re-framed the action wonderfully in my imagination.

I really dig the old illustrations, too.

Today’s pen: Ohto Tasche
Today’s ink: Herbin Vert de Gris

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Posted by Dirck on 5 December, 2019


Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 2 December
  • 3 December
  • 4 December
  • 5 December
  • Second draft of “Grand Finale”.
  • First Draft of “Uncle Bert’s Best Friend”.
  • Complete at 1935 words
  • 10 manuscript pages


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