InkStains: How To Write A Story Every Day For A Year

InkStains December

This is how it’s done.

I’m sure you think it’s tough, but it’s not. All you need is a stack of notepads – twelve of them, to be precise, if you’re looking to do this for a full year – and some jars of ink.

Get an ink that’s good for fountain pens. It’s easier to clean up if you spill some on the kitchen floor.

In fact, it’s probably a good idea to take preventative measures to protect that table, as well as the floor. Drop cloths or plastic tarps will do the trick. They don’t have to be anything special, just water resistant and uncut. A tarp with a thousand and one pinholes would be just as useless as none at all.

Yeah, nothing special for the tarp, but the notepads – I get mine from a company in Germany that uses a special kind of tree in the Black Forest to make the paper, a fairy-touched tree, old enough that the Brothers Grimm may have rested against its trunk. Trees that have already been involved with stories, storytelling, or storytellers are an excellent, albeit limited, resource, so the notepads aren’t cheap. But they are beautiful. Just run your fingers across a blank page, you’ll understand.

I have my ink delivered from a warehouse in Virginia, where I believe a team – I want to say a team of elves, but I know better – toil day in and day out, sometimes even on weekends, making sure the proper product gets shipped to the proper customer. They do, you must realize, sell other types of inks, and all fine pens, thousand dollar pens, made by craftsmen rather than machines – but all you need is the ink. I mean, any fountain pen will work. You can get one for just a few bucks. No need to break – or break into – any banks for that.

To be honest, the pen is just for show.

Because if you’ve got the magic – the talent, the skill, the drive, the inspiration, whatever you want to call it – then the pen doesn’t really matter at all.

Here are your instructions.

Lay each notepad, face up but closed, on the drop cloth or tarp or plastic sheet on a flat surface. Do a small breathing exercise if you feel so inclined. Open the ink – you did get one bottle per book, right? – and dump the contents of one whole bottle over the cover of each notepad. Do this slowly, and thoroughly, and with some degree of consciousness. Take fifteen or even twenty minutes for the pouring, then tap the cover – not once, not twice, but three times – with that cheap or fancy fountain pen.

Over night, the ink will soak into the pages, as directed by your personal proclivities and channeled through the pen, into books full of stories, stories made of ink stains.

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