I had a good idea what it was when it arrived. Certain objects give themselves away behind thin wrapping, and by sound. Though, this was not one of the "shake it up" presents and I refrained from violently agitating the package (because it just looks silly to onlookers).
So, with my stack of bills, an Imprimis pamphlet, a small box from Chanel for my wife, and the USPS package, I walked back home from my apartment complex mailbox only half wondering what it was. I placed everything but the USPS package on the counter and headed for the office.
I opened the package, and found a Moleskine notebook, a Varsity fountain pen, a Pentel 0.5mm mechanical pencil (2B), a pack of colored filing tabs, and a handwritten card.
The card read:
"Merry Christmas fellow Viner!
For you, I have chosen the tools I use the most in my life. I relish the connection between my mind, my hand, my pen, the paper.
I will leave it up to you to decide how you want to use these tools – be it for writing a masterpiece longhand or having a fancy place to keep your grocery lists. I do hope you find it useful.
Best wishes to you this holiday season, and a Happy New Year too.
Me (guess! :) )"
A thoughtful and kind note by a complete stranger it was. I've not received anything that impacts me mentally in quite some time, as I do so enjoy things that have classic authenticity. I also enjoy handwritten notes and letters, as it does appear to be a lost art since printers have been sold on the cheap and spellcheck usage has overcome dictionary usage. The art of writing dwindles in the light of disappointment (not that I'm e.e.cummings or Ernest Hemingway in any fashion).
The notebook contained a leaflet about the history of Moleskine notebooks, and I've read them before; about their worldliness and how those who use them typically find a certain treasure in using them. I have already been through several storyboard and sketchbook Moleskine books and find them to be…comfortably appealing and on a tactile level, just seem to inspire me in ways.
As luck would have it, when I do write anything longhand I try to only use a fountain pen. I love the free flow of ink that fountain pens produce as it encourages a natural style of writing with elegant flowing characters and letters that I do so enjoy (when I do write anything). Recently I acquired an Alexander Von Humboldt Mont Blanc fountain pen. My father had given it to me upon going back to college, despite my argument that pens are usually given between scholars as a show of respect AFTER they do something profound, he insisted that it was for a time to come (pffft…). I haven't used it, but have used fountain pens before and love how they feel in my hand.
I've also an unnatural fancy for mechanical pencils. I don't have a pencil sharpener, nor do I like their messes so I often opt for a good solid mechanical pencil. I use them at work constantly when I have to draft hardscape concepts, at home when I make time to draw, or when I need to draw a masking line on a plastic model windows prior to painting…nothing beats a smooth crisp line rendered by a .5mm mechanical pencil when permanent lines are not required.
And, if the handful of people on Newsvine who've ever really read anything I've written (and I do produce a fair amount of drivel I suppose), it is painfully obvious (to me) that I'm structurally disorganized. I have ideas, and concepts that I'll write out, and they may or may not be well put. Irrespective of this I have issue with putting certain 'like' ideas and concepts together to get better cohesion and, if I were to use the notebook I would suppose that the filing tabs may help me better organize my ideas, though I strongly suspect that I'll likely use each color to represent a kind of idea or to identify what type of concept something is.
But through all of this, it isn't so much what I was given (and I do really like it all, sincerely), but the significance of these items to the Viner who sent them, and what roles they have played in technology today that make them of sentimental value to me.
See, pen and paper predate every common form of communication tool today, and as far as I can tell it is one of the few tools that get everyday use, evolved very little in form and function, and no one thinks twice about the absurdity of this. Whereas tools like a caliper, abacus, or slide rule are still used, they are industry specific and, in their own right – antique, much like my 1921 Victrola – no one uses carbon 'records' and it's been awhile since non-DJ's used wax and acetate 'vinyl' records, but it represents a time and place. Sometimes I still fire it up and play "It's been a long, long time" by Harry James (it's a Fox Trot recorded in the early 30s) and dance with my wife, but I digress…
Paper and pen, were used by Kings, Emperors, Monarchs, Dictators, Czars, Caesars, peasants, fiefs, vassals, knaves, men, women, children, heterosexuals, homosexuals, Whites, Blacks, Asians, Jews, Muslims, idiots, geniuses, young and old. It is a non-discriminatory device that can be used to convey any and everything. All ideas stem from – pen and paper – from award winning movies to a phone number scrawled on a napkin from that seedy bar on the bad side of town… it is an Alpha and Omega…
I've not yet used these tools for anything, as part of me wishes to not disturb the freshness of them or waste precious page on trivial notions and ideas, because anything with history behind it should be valued not as an item but as for what it represents. Though, I do have an idea as to what I'll write in this notebook first – a letter to my wife (she misses the times I'd write her love letters, and her birthday is coming up)
With that, I'd like to thank the Viner that sent me these gifts, and while you do not know me (or maybe you do), I'd like you to know that these tools, the tools which you value in your daily life are also important to me. Not because you sent them, though they lose no value in light of the fact, and not because they are a gift, no… They are important because in their own right they represent the last remaining form of communication that ties the world together in past and present fashion. And, while when sending these things you may not have known on what level your recipient would have interpreted them, it is how they were interpreted… and I thank you with sincerity, that you would share a portion of yourself with someone whom you've never met and may have never even known was on Newsvine to begin with. May you too, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
-Shawn K. Gordon, Sr.