The life handles
And fountain pens
One morning I read a bit of Epictetus. The part about how we're given two handles to use to grasp life situations stuck in my mind. So as I sipped my coffee I thought about what I read and worked on a paraphrasing in my mind while drawing a rabbit in my sketchbook with my fountain pen. Why a rabbit character? Rabbits are known to be shy, easily spooked by situations, so to emphasize the hesitancy around which handle to grab I chose a rabbit. When my drawing was complete I wrote my paraphrased understanding of what I had read. Yes, I could have quoted directly from the book but I wanted to do the mental exercise of “summing up” for myself.
Here's a closer look at my page that got finished during one breakfast session.
During another mornings breakfast I tried to remember a quote from Kurt Vonnegut that I thought might relate to the concept from Epictetus about choosing our response to situations. I thought about rummaging in my fully packed shelf of Vonnegut titles … but it was early, the coffee was hot so I googled the quote instead and wrote it in my book. Then I drew a bird I saw in our yard along with an imaginary hedgehog and landscape.
A third morning I awoke thinking about Iceland and the phrase they use for almost any situation. It seemed in keeping with Epictetus too. I googled the exact spelling for the Icelandic phrase, wrote the words on my sketchbook pages first then I drew the dogs and, inexplicably, fish wearing shoes. (If you're curious about this Icelandic phrase here's a fun article https://www.pursuitcollection.com/stories/%C3%BEetta-reddast-wisdom-for-turbulent-times/)
A fourth morning I awoke thinking about Dr. Bob Hoke's phrase “The best response to difficult situations is to go on and live well". (I had recorded that in his book that I illustrated https://store.bookbaby.com/book/dr-bobs-emotional-repair-program-first-aid-kit1) That too related to what I had read in Epictetus so as I drank my coffee I wrote my thought in my sketchbook. A ballerina toad dancing along a fountain pen seemed to fit my thoughts.
My friend Neera, who writes a newsletter I enjoy called “A Whimsical Writer” often includes books she recommends that relate to creativity. Here's a link to her newsletter in case you're curious:
So borrowing the concept from Neera here below is my favorite book about drawing and writing with fountain pens. I find that a good quality fountain pen is a joy to use in my sketchbook; it makes lines smoothly and it's refillable (less plastic waste) with my preferred kind of ink.
Note to self: be mindful about the handles I grab this week. And Þetta reddast!
Thanks for reading A.M. Sketching! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.