Irene Nemirovsky
Katherine Mansfield

Chekhov and Tolstoy


The first day of the New Year it is a good time for reflection. It is appropriate to ask oneself what makes up one’s life. What is the focus of one’s efforts? What does one wish ro remember ten years from now? How does one wish to be remembered? Whar oes one wish to record on this blank page?
I don’t know about you, but the prospects of new possibilities warms my heart. Though calendars are little more than conventions, I welcome new beginnings. There is the seed of new stories in very blank page and that is what a new year really is–a page upon which to create a story that incorporates and transforms elements of the past.
I find lists of new resolutions too confining. I want to embrace a world of change based on interests, loves and loyalties that remain constant and yet are contantly in flux. I like the tension between what was and what is to become. I like the chance to reassess what really matters.
How about you? Have you opened a new journal? Are you ready to leave a record of your days? Have you chosen a preferred writing instrument? Mine are working pens, not the fancy bejewelled geegaws of the idle collector. The oldest, my very favourite, is a green Waterman Exclusive currently in rehab at Fahrney’s pen hospital. The second oldest is a red Waterman Phineas I bought to celebrate the publication of a story in the largest newspaper for which I ever wrote. The second is also a redWaterman, a Harmonie I love it for the way it fits the writer’s hand. It was a frivolous pen; I did not really need it. I love it nonetheless and I also love the silver Waterman Allure, currently charged up with brown Visconti ink. The Italian glass pens because are a gift from someone who knows how to please me. They make cursive writing flow from my fingers the way writing should always flow–smoothly and beautifully. The Parker Vector with four lovely nibs I gor for sheer fun–my calligraphy is rudimentary at best–and the Shaffers are to remind me that when it comes to writing instruments there are good choices pens and bad pens. Shaffer calligraphy pens are ghastly.