This piece appears to have been posted over the winter of 2011, but I felt it so lucky in its emblematic completeness — about reading, writing, and geography — that it might fit here in this blog that while following conflict has also the experience of a world in which distance between minds has been reduced by the advent of communication at light speed and time itself has been altered. In relation to pens, I lost a Sheaffer fountain pen when I slung a sport coat over my shoulder and it dropped out of the breast pocket about 35 years ago. On the web, visual identification by manufacturer and look took about ten minutes, probably less, and purchase of the same pen as “new old stock” took even less time than that. For Pen & Politics buffs (can anyone say Farhney’s?), the Parke Ciseles are, of course, beautiful works from the world of advanced manufacturing.


When I was a little girl in elementary school, I used to accompany my father to downtown Beirut on his business trips. After he’d finished his work, he would either take me to what seemed to me to be the biggest bookstore, Librairie Du Liban, where I used to lose myself among rows and rows of books on shelves. And in the end choose only three because that was what I was allowed to buy each time. Or he would take me to this shop on the corner, that sold the most beautiful Parker pens ever, to buy me cartridges for my pen. I loved to write with fountain pen, even though the ink would stain my fingers. The joy I felt when I filled the pen with ink, the smell of the ink when I wrote…My mom thought I was crazy, maybe I was or still am. Anyways, I…

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