In the Interest of Ink

In this lifetime, may we each perform at least one act of kindness which will be tattooed on the soul of another human being.


Mark. Insignia. Signature. Badge. Logo. Stamp of approval.

Whatever the means, it’s permanent.

We write with it. We draw with it. Maybe in notebooks. Perhaps on our bodies.

Have you ever bought a lovely journal and never used it because you couldn’t bear to scribble in its loveliness? I have purchased many in which I’ve never written a single word. I don’t want to mar something I’ve spent good money on. How silly is that? It’s still wasted money if I never use it or pass it along to someone else. I tend to write in cheap composition books. It is if I don’t feel what I have to say is worthy…or maybe it’s because I never received outstanding grades in penmanship.

I have vowed today to make a change. I pulled out this notebook I bought over ten years ago. The intent (and meager attempt, I might add) was to do my morning pages from either Writing Down the Bones or The Artist’s Way in them. I only used a handful of pages when I looked back through the scribbles and ripped out the pages and put the book away. Now, I wonder what I might have written on those pages. What could I learn today from what I wrote back then? I suppose I will never know.

I have seen some of the most fabulous drawings done in ink. I am amazed at the bravery of the artist. Do they worry about mistakes? Maybe they know the beauty of art is its originality. A simple mistake can turn something into a “one of a kind” collector’s piece. It might be considered the mark of the artist’s soul.

Some of us choose to sport our badge with ink marks on our bodies. While I do not possess a tattoo, I have seen some incredibly beautiful ones. How does one choose the symbol that marks a life on one’s body? As my style is ever changing I’d have to stick with those washable rub-on tattoos. I do know people who have gotten tattooed in college and much regretted their choice or location after entering the corporate world. I also know people who thought it out and have remained satisfied with their selections.

We each make our mark in life with ink whether we realize it or not. We make a mark simply by the way we live our lives. We rub off on the people we touch and leave a little bit behind. We carry this insignia throughout our lives and leave it behind when we die. Our statements can be subtle but life changing and affirming. Or our messages can be loud and bold. We might draw, write, or live in color. Some of us simply want to be the black typeface across a plain white page. The ink and venue we choose is up to us.

Our indelible marks will long survive us. They might carry on throughout the generations and possibly throughout the world for all we know. Do you plan to leave behind an autograph or a stain? What kind of a mark do you want to leave?

62 thoughts on “In the Interest of Ink

  1. Lovely, introspective words, Suzicate, as usual.
    An autograph or a stain? “Stain” has negative implications in my mind, so I would hope I leave an autograph. An autograph that carries with it pleasant memories for those I leave behind. That would be my hope.

  2. beautiful longing from your heart – yes, open up that lovely notebook and start writing. You have much to share, your heart is filled with wonder and wisdom, longing to erupt onto the page.
    Walk in beauty, dear soul.

  3. I definitely think you leave a lovely mark with your words and thoughts on this blog.

    I don’t know if I will leave a mark or not (outwardly), but I do hope my heart is forever marked by the love I have found in this life.


  4. LOVE! LOVE! LOVE this post, Suzi!

    ” I tend to write in cheap composition books.”

    HA! OMG…so do I, I kid you not! I have about four on-hand.

    “We each make our mark in life with ink whether we realize it or not. We make a mark simply by the way we live our lives. We rub off on the people we touch and leave a little bit behind. We carry this insignia throughout our lives and leave it behind when we die. Our statements can be subtle but life changing and affirming.”

    I ADORE how you said that!

    And thank you for always leaving your inspiring ‘mark’ on all of us here!

    Have a great weekend….X

    • I’m more of a scribbler myself…my journaling has been more through difficult times. I do much less scribbling now that I blog. I really do want to journal and intend to start…being the procrastinator that I am I’m not sure when!

  5. As usual, great post, Suzi. I always feel I don’t have time to read all the posts of all the great bloggers I know every day. With your blog, I feel I can’t afford not to take the time. Who knows which of your nuggets will hit the mark and help me home.

    When I was in high school, we still used fountain pens. Ballpoint pens were just coming out and no one really trusted them. That was okay with me, though, because, being the extrovert that I am, I loved the bright bold ink you could get for your pens. I carried several with me, each with a different color–turquoise, purple, black, red, brown. I used a different color for different subjects, so it would be easy for me to see at a glance what subject I was looking at.

    I guess I look at people in my lives that way–in groups, like the ones who are here for a day, the ones who are here for a while, and the ones who are here for a lifetime. Sometimes the lifetimers disappoint me and leave, but later I realize they weren’t really lifetimers at all.

    Whatever I leave, it will probably be bold and bright. Whether it’s a bold and bright stain or a bold and bright signature remains to be seen.

    • Thank you for that lovely comment. I think I’m going to try to try to post Mon, Wed, and Fri….unless I really have something to say. Thinking that if I continue at five days a week I’ll become a bit boring!
      A stain my foot…we will leave a beautiful bold work of art!
      I loved those fountain pens. A couple of times I’ve purchased them and tried to learn calligraphy, but my penmanship leaves much to be desired. However, I LOVE those easy glide color gel pens…oh yes! And especially the purple and pink runs a close second!

      • I can’t imagine you being boring. Every time I go down my list, almost hoping that there won’t be too many interesting posts, I am stopped dead in my tracks, by the quote, or by the picture, or by the opening lines of your post. Sometimes all three.

        However, posting three times a week may keep you from burnout, and that would be a good thing. Otherwise, I say post as often as you want. Your readers will follow you, whatever you do.

        I don’t want to put pressure on you to live up to something. The reason I enjoy your posts so much is that you write from your feelings, from the subconscious mind where all the wisdom is. As long as you leave that link open and accessible to you, your posts will continue to captivate.

  6. Me, too, Suzy! I’ve often picked up these beautiful, leather-covered journals in stores, but never was brave enough to buy one. Somehow, I prefer my ten-cent spiral notebooks. Not that I’m not worthy; it’s more like I’m just changeable enough that I don’t want to leave in bound form something that’s not perfect! Ah, to each his (or her!) own.

  7. I am super quirky. I make my journals by hand, stacking folded sheets of legal-sized paper and coating them liberally with a couple of coats of white glue before adding a layer of gauze to that (this is used to attach the pages to the cover). i make covers out of thin cardboard — wine boxes are great (my secret is out, LOL). I cover these with fabric scraps or interesting paper, and use trimmed down cardstock for end papers. (Not elegant, but serviceable.) Two volumes are made of sheets of the serrated lengths of brown paper Amazon and NewEgg sometimes use as package stuffing. I LOVE that stuff. It’s soft and earthy and wonderful, and irons flat.I feel really good about journaling on recycled paper like this.

    Why do I make all this effort? I’ve realized that my thoughts are valuable. My scribbles matter, to me if nobody else. This is my way of honoring them, and indirectly myself.

    Would I write in a leather-bound volume filled with hand-laid paper? You bet! I’d write whatever came to mind, with no additional care.

    Your words matter too, and we, your loyal readers, esteem them highly. Let the raw ones rip! YOU are worth it!

    • You are gung ho, Linda! I love it that you make your own journals…what creativity and inspiration to write. I had toyed with the idea of making one once…lets just say it didn’t happen. I actually made the cover, but didn’t get any farther. The instructions I was using so to hand sew the pages together before binding them. You inspire me to want to give it another try! However, I’m actually going to write real words and scribbles in INK in the ones I have packed away. Even though I’ve been afraid to use them I still keep the ones gifted to me…and yes, writing in them is the very reason my friends give them to me, I know!

  8. Our poor words. They sit with such patience while we go through our paces. The only thing they want is O-U-T. The older I get, the less those words wait. They melt – or something. 😀

  9. Christie Logan, a character in Margaret Laurence’s wonderful work “The Diviners” once told Morag (protagonist in the story) that he wanted as his epitaph: “He Meant Well.”

    That would do for me.

    Lovely reading again, SC, always inspiring us to be better than we were a minute ago. 🙂

  10. I have used small blank page illustrated cover books of just several dozen pages to write copies of my poems, short humor, a cartoon , short essay and such. They make wonderful hand made gifts for those with whom you are close and appreciate your writing. Ink from one’s pen is like sharing some of the blood of our soul, I think.

  11. Hopefully the dozens of journals I’ve kept since high school will be an autograph of my life. I’ve used all kinds of journals, leather bound, spiral bound, composition notebooks, etc. I guess I just have to get the words out….I don’t really think about them not being good enough, but there’s just too many of them in my head to leave in there:)

    • That’s awesome. I think I never journaled as I wanted because I was afraid they’d be read someday…you can only imagine how difficult it was for me to start blogging!

  12. I confess, I have a stack of beautiful, blank journals, too. The only time in my life when I kept a daily journal was when I went to Europe for a semester of college. It was an assignment. At first, I did not enjoy doing it, but by the second week I was keeping two journals .. the one I would turn in to the professor and a personal one for me. I have gone back to my words to relive that trip several times .. that journal means a lot to me.
    Therefore, I have no idea why after that trip I never continued the practice. I have scraps of papers and notes I have written when I get a good idea or can’t sleep because my brain is too busy …. but, those beautiful, brand new journals remain untouched. Strange.

      • I did not get the one for the professor back .. that was one incentive to keep a second one. The journals were very different. The professors journal was mostly about places we went and things we saw and how it related to what we were studying (History, architecture, art).
        My journal kept track of what I did each day, more descriptions and personal thoughts. Many perceptions and thoughts about what I was learning about other cultures and about myself. And the crazy (not school related) adventures I took with friends.

  13. I have a notebook in my beside drawer that I got in 1999. I think it has less than 20 entries, but they are all powerful because I tend to write when I am filled with emotion with nowhere to let it overlfow except out of an ink pen and onto a page. Reading it can be overwhelming, but I doubt that I will ever throw it away and ever now and again when filled with emotion I take it out and write.

    Permanent marks in life…there are many…I try to make them positive but I also know I’ve left some permanent marks that have hurt. Great post.

  14. I came across a journal in a mag
    and was so in love with it I bought two.
    A pair of Dragons fight on an embossed
    polly resin cover. The cheep wire spiral
    fell apart soon after I opened it. So I bound
    the pages with tape, threaded them together
    with himp, and shoved a cardboard coat
    hanger tube through it to create a binding.
    These books are a repository of what I
    feel to be my finest poems, but if I wanted
    I could attach the cover to something else
    – I love those detachible covers. They
    are so forgiveing! I had never re – bound
    a book in my life but feel I was pretty good
    at it. Also – I do an ink drawing in pencil,
    then ink it, when the ink drys I erace all
    evidence that I cheeted. 😉

  15. Beautiful post. I sort of feel like our reputations are a “tattoo” our lives and when we “smear” our reputations it’s like having to cross out a mistake that was penned in ink because we can’t erase it. The image may lessen with time but the mark still remains.

  16. I don’t write. I am not a writer.

    While I understand the idea of an autograph vs. a stain, that is limiting the thought to the idea that all stains are not welcome or some are not intentional. When I first read stain . . . even though I knew what you meant the idea of beatifully stained wood came into my head. Or staining — as in dying a beautiful fabric. But I know what you mean, I just jumped to another way of thinking about it because I always marvel about so much thought that goes into “when I am dead I want to leave behind . . . .”

    I sometimes feel I must be the only person in the world who doesn’t think about what I am leaving behind when I die. Oh . . . wait . . . I DO think about what I will be leaving behind when I die and it goes back to your last post . . . I feel sorry for whoever is stuck going through my “complicated beings”/closets.

    • When we live with the intention of doing right by others and ourselves each day, we never have to worry about leaving stains…only those who are extremely selfish or have ill intentions will leave a stain and generally, they wouldn’t care. You are leaving your beautiful mark each and every day!

  17. I also have several notebooks that are so pretty I don’t want to write in them or I want to write something as special as they are, something I’ll be proud to look back on. I think it’s great you’re opening yours up, I hope you find something great to write in it!

    • I love the idea of writing in a journal, but then I’m torn with the idea of “messing” them up…and the idea of people some day reading it. Maybe I shouldn’t worry because my handwriting is probably not even legible!

  18. I’m so relieved, and pleasantly surprised to find I’m not the only one with a stash of beautiful but empty notebooks. I had some that I had kept for several years before deciding that they had to be used – in one I began writing in quotations, poems or words that inspire me in some way, and in another some of the more meaningful text messages I have received on my mobile phone; those sent by my son on the births of my granddaughters for example, that I may otherwise have lost. As for the rest, there’s a new year coming ….

    • I have used a couple to “rewrite” poetry in and also to store quotations, but the majority have remained empty. I love the idea of your recording those messages for your grandchildren. I’ll remember that for when I have grandchildren.

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