Tools & Talismans #99 — Patti Digh

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I am a woman of pen and paper. I process by writing things down. I'm always delighted that swirls of ink can hold such meaning. So among my tools and talismans, you'll find pens and paper that thrill me: My Japanese Hobonichi planner is made of Tomoe River Paper, thin and sturdy, a perfect canvas for both fountain pen and watercolor. I've loved multi-color pens since I was young, those blue-barreled plastic ones from the 6th grade where one click sent me to a whole different mood. The newest is my Japanese multi-color pen a surprise from a friend in Japan, holding the most magical colors of ink to separate lines of thought. I'm a visual thinker — the travel brushes and watercolor set were gifts from my daughter, Emma. I use them in my Hobonichi to capture the day, and to think. With strong metal clips, my dark brown German Roterfaden ("red thread") holds the Hobonichi and other notebooks. I carry it everywhere I go, loving the weight of it in my hand.

When I sit at my desk to write, I see Mailchimp, a gift from my dear friend, Laurie, who recently died, a reminder of how much I love and miss her, and a reminder of her invaluable advice over the years — and of her humor: she sent him to me after a particularly overwhelming month of difficult email. And I see a small glass bird that belonged to my fourth-grade teacher and was given to me by her daughter when Mrs Smith died, some 30 years after I was in her classroom. We had kept in touch all those years. The collar of Perry, my dog who died suddenly a few months ago, is a reminder — like Mailchimp and the small bird — that life is short and precious and full of love and hurt, all of which makes us fully human. My Five Minute journal frames my days, asking me morning and night to reflect on what I cherish, what I wish for, and what amazing things have happened — every single day. And lastly, a simple fountain pen, my writing instrument of choice for decades.

Patti Digh is a Writer, Speaker, and Social Justice Activist