Word of the week – Cultivate

27-05-19 Cultivate

This Bank Holiday Monday morning I have been devoting attention to my typewriter. I’ve used it a bit since I bought it at the end of December 2018 but when I watched a short clip on Instagram of TypewriterTraveler using one of his many typewriters, I knew I could be doing better with it. So today I had another attempt at cleaning aggregated ink and dust from some of the letters which I had identified as being less than ideal. My aim was to improve the crispness of the letters and I am happy with the results. I also checked how the paper was feeding through because I get some eccentricities in the spacing of the lines on a page as I type, but I think this is down to my technique rather than any specific issue with the platen or paper rollers failing to grip.

This work fits in with my Word of the Week through the definitions “to devote attention to” and “to refine”. I like the idea of cultivating relationships with things and with people. I suppose now we would call the people part of it “networking”, which has a scientific ring to it, where cultivating comes across as rather organic, although it is nothing of the sort.

Is there anything you need to cultivate this week? I expect, given the time of year, that many people are cultivating in a very traditional sense by attending to their gardens. As a flat-dweller, I don’t have a garden so instead I watch my knitting grow and bloom, I cultivate friendships online and in what passes hereabouts for reality, and I civilise and refine myself which I would say is an exercise we all follow from cradle to grave.

Right now, though, I feel I need to seek actively to gain or foster a relationship with my settee. I will leave you with a shot of my desk as I typed the definition for this entry.

27-05-19 Desk

InCoWriMo 2019

Today is the sixth day of the International Correspondence Writing Month 2019 and I am pleased with my progress to date.

Whilst the aim is to write a letter – or, indeed, any hand-written missive which can be a note, postcard, post-it, so long as it’s written by hand – every day through February, many people taking part will inevitably be fans of pens and papers and so the letters can be quite decorative, or include little gifts. I like to write in my letters about which pen and ink I am using because I love to read this information in the letters I receive. I have some decorative notepaper, quite a bit of it from Kikki K, so I don’t decorate the letters themselves, but I do like to add some fripperies on the envelopes.

Speaking of envelopes, I am addressing the letters this year with my lovely little typewriter. One year I hand-wrote the addresses with fountain pen and ink and then overlaid them with sellotape to provide a waterproof layer; the other year I hand-wrote the envelopes with ballpoint pen. Of the three, the typewriter is the nicest – it still seems like a hand-crafted solution, whilst being neat, legible, and waterproof.

For letters that I am sending abroad, I have a pack of postcards from Norwich Castle Museum. These feature images from the Norwich School of painters, mostly local scenes or still-lives. Many of these hang in the Castle Museum itself as it houses a good art gallery as well as the historical and natural displays.

The little bone-handle pen-knife in my picture above is an item I use for opening letters. To the best of my knowledge, it belonged to my grandparents when they lived in their lovely house in York, and passed along via my mum to me. It is a delicate item, very much for the genteel lady. My dad always carried a pen-knife which my sister now owns. It was mainly used for peeling apples, sharpening pencils, and for tamping down the tobacco in his pipe. I find it sad that the pen-knife is now seen as a weapon rather than a utility item, and is therefore (understandably) frowned-upon.

In other news, yesterday was my birthday and it was very book-orientated. 2019 is definitely going to be a year where I read a lot. I have already determined that I am going to get back into the habit of just browsing in bookshops. It seems to me that I stopped reading a lot at around the time when I stopped browsing in bookshops a lot; I am not sure which one led to the other. However, it does seem to me that when I take the time to simply wander around and look at books, I see all manner of items which catch my eye and I am certain that this can only be of help to me in my desire to read more. My favourite bookshop to browse in was a small independent book store in Norwich called Gliddons which was around until the 1980s. I remember buying my first copies of books by John Fowles, Elizabeth Jane Howard, and F Scott Fitzgerald there, as well as many a sci-fi book from the bookshelves in the basement. Second to that, the big Borders store which opened in Chapelfield in 2005 and sadly departed in 2009, was a favourite. This was a huge book shop for Norwich and I can remember buying many a ‘business’ book there, as well as the first paperbacks I owned of Haruki Murakami novels. The best shops for browsing the books in Norwich now are The Book Hut (independent), Jarrolds (independent, part of local department store) and Waterstones (chain).

Right, I am heading off to clean out a fountain pen then tomorrow I can refill it with a new colour ink, ready for some more letters.


Are you taking part in InCoWriMo this year? Have you done it in previous years? Would you do it in future years? What do you think?