Self Identity

Identity

“What do you do?”
This is a question for which I have no answer. I get asked this often, and it is the prerennial american question, we are defined by what we do. We are our jobs. I don’t have an answer because I don’t get my identity from my job description, I don’t see the connection between what a person does to earn a living and their self description. If one is to answer the question truthfully it can’t just be the description of your day-job, since that is only a small fraction of your duties in life, but that is what the questioner is asking, ‘what is your day job?’

Why does it matter if I scrub floors in a hotel, or meet with investors, or drive a truck? Perhaps your janitor is also an amateur electronics engineer, or the professional negotiator is an aspring actor, or the truck driver writes mystery novels…Of what use is the question: ” What do you do?”

I do everything.

-Ezra

Moleskines Before They Were Famous

Moleskines are now cliche objects of perceived creativity. They have a cult following and are everywhere. You can’t go into a coffee shop without finding someone sitting with macbook on one side, and a Moleskine open beside it.

My first Moleskine was back in 2004 or 2005, I found it by stumbling on a conversation thread on a Daytimer forum. I used to use Daytimer planners religiously, but they were more for job scheduling and not for creativity. I didn’t really journal or keep any sort of permanent notes, I wrote on legal pads and in spiral bound notebooks. The concept of using a permanent notebook for archival journaling was not in my mindset.

I did write a lot at the time, but it was exclusively on the computer and was fiction writing only.

Now I use Moleskines everyday. They have become constant companions to me and I reply on having them near to capture my day and whatever scraps of poetry I come up with.

During the 8 or 9 years I have been using Moleksines they have become very popular, and now you see them everywhere. I remember when they were mostly unknown, and actually bound in Italy, seems like they have lost out for becoming popular.

I miss the days before they were iconic and everywhere.

 

 

In Love With The Return Key

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My first computer was an ATARI 1200XL
I was in seventh heaven! I can still remember the smell of the plastic when I opened the box,
(it was used, but still in the box) and I remember the sound that 5-1/4″ floppy would make when it was seeking.
I had an INDUS GT drive (which was pretty fancy for its day) and I had an ATARI tape drive as well. The tapes were fun, you were supposed to use ‘real data tapes’ because they were of higher quality, and would retain the data better, but I never could afford them: so I just used erased music tapes. (which never lasted very long)
I would spend many hours up at night laboriously typing BASIC commands, and learning how to write programs myself. I had a few books, and some old Atari magazines to go on, but a lot of what I learned was by experiment.j

I would craft this work of art, and then when the last line was done, I would pause a second, and then type: RUN, and press the return key……………..

That moment of expectation, and the (often unpredictable) results is an aspect of computing that I miss. Now I am grounded in expectation of what a computer ‘should’ do. I don’t modify my experience; I don’t create new programs.
I do use the computer to create, and to code, but on another level; in a more sanitized operating world. Sometimes I miss that wonder and amazement from executing my program just to see what it would do.

-Ezra

Dreary Winter

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Now in the midst of dreary winter, while the hills wear their white mantles, I sense a withering of will, and a drying up of muscle. When buds burst into leaves, I also break out in motion, powering against the rusted pedals, to rush down that path of leaves; rustling. .

Wintry winds tear at my coat, seek to reach my guarded soul, And follow me into my bungalow to snuff out my little flame. When Summer, oh summer, comes, I shall ride the streets of sun, catch the warm rays upon my back, spreading a glow through my winter shrunken frame.

-Ezra Hilyer

The Value Of The Pens In My Case

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$190.75

That number is the value I place on creativity. Or a hinting at the value I give to my writing. That is the cost of the pen case, and pens I carry everyday.
I use these pens like tools, they are the hammer and saw of my mind, the wrench that I use to fasten my mental state to the parchment of my life. Each of these tools has a function different than the others, and like a carpenter; I have a lifetime of choosing the tools that fit my work best…
There are 6 pens in my pen roll.
From right to left; they are:

Lamy Safari Yellow Fountain Pen, with EF Nib. (I have black ink in it. This pen is for dark thoughts, and deep dreams)

Kuretake No. 40 Sable Hair Brush-Pen. (Black Ink here as well, this is for expressive moments, and light flourishes)

Kuretake Letter Pen (This is by far my favorite pen, I use it for letter writing, for recording my thoughts. the tip is fine, and lets me move as freely as my thoughts. I keep Sepia Ink in this one.

Lamy Al-Star Graphite ( I have a blue-black ink in it, and have the 1.1mm Calligraphy nib on it. I use this pen for writing poetry, and for long thought out quotes. There is something about the calligraphy nib that drives me to write well, and poignant. I don’t doodle with this pen.)

Pentel Tradio Stylo with Blue Refill (This is a pen that lets me draw, scribble, and jot. A Pen for light moods, and free thoughts)

Kuretake Water Brush (This is not a pen in the true sense, but I use this in conjunction with my Winsor & Newton Bijou Box to full the world with rainbow colors).

I got all these pens from Jetpens.
-Ezra

Pilot Frixion Eraseable Pens Review

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This is the 24 pen set from Jetpens, they are the Pilot Frixion Pens, that are not yet available in the US, but they should be. They are a bit pricy at $50 a set, but there is a bunch of ink in each, so they should last a good long while. I bought them about 7 months ago and I have been using them regularly since, and they are still going strong.

The colors are great, they are more pastel than bold, and the colors show up very well. They write wet, but surprisingly they do not bleed through no matter how thin the paper ( I have tested them even on thin rice paper) which makes them great for lots of things.

Naturally they erase well, and can be written over many times. I also have the highlighter version, and they are just as usefull, it’s good to be able to highlight and be able to erase it again if I choose the wrong color…

-Ezra

Of Pens And The Subconscious.

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Several years ago, I purchased a yellow Lamy Safari with an EF nib. I used it constantly, and carried it with me just about everywhere. I would fill out my paperwork at work with it, and use it on my Moleskine.
In any case, it went missing last spring, and I had to switch to another daily pen. I missed it, but kept hoping to find it, and so I never replaced it..

Fast forward to last week: I was cleaning out my closet and found a sweatshirt that I hadn’t worn in a while, so I decided to wear it that day. I had it on when I suddenly thought about my missing pen, and decided to order a replacement. I went on Jetpens, and ordered a white Lamy to replace my lost yellow one.

Didn’t think a thing about it until that evening when I went to take the shirt off, and guess what I found in the pocket? My missing yellow pen.

I have been wondering since: if my subconscious was trying to tell me that my pen was in that sweatshirt, and I misunderstood and just took it as a chance to replace it? I mean somewhere deep in my brain I must have known that I left the pen in the pocket, and so that bubbled up into my consciousness somehow….

In any case, I decided to not cancel the order since I really will lose the pen again at some point, and the white looks so good on my iPad after all……..

-Ezra

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Ode To The Composition Book

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The lowly school composition book, the simple tool that has been used by so many.

A few days ago I picked up a $1 marbled composition book to record the progress of a current project, and upon picking it up, I was flooded with memories, it brought me back to my school days.
That black and white marbled cover and familiar size, the single signature of pages, and the cheap, but sturdy construction is unchanged in the 15 years since I last held one.

I have been into the whole ‘Moleskine thing’ for about 7 or 8 years now, and have looked down on the cheaper notebooks as inferior, but perhaps that is just pride, after all it is what is inside that counts.

I chose this one specifically because it was cheap, I wanted to use it to record notes on a messy experiment, and knew it would get wet, and smudged, so I didn’t want to put one of my precious Moles through that, but I wonder if that desire to keep my notes clear and clean and precise is a downfall?
When I first started to use the Moleskines, I only had one size: the pocket size, and I carried it with me everywhere. I put it in my back pocket, and sat on it, I had it with me every day I was working in dirty wet conditions, and the edges would get wet, and the ink would run. Just about the time I filled one up, it would start to come apart. Those first 3 or 4 Moleskines are ragged and torn, the covers are stuck on with gorilla tape, and the markers are frayed.

Now I have a bit more sedate life, and more of a clean work environment, I also don’t carry my moles in my pocket, but rather in my bag (which is always with me) and so they are in much better shape when I am done with them.
Conversely, I don’t use them as much; having them closer to my hand makes me more likely to use them in the few moments I have standing in line, than if I have to unzip my bag, and then open my pen case. Now I tend to use my notebooks for longer stretches, but the tendency to just fill them with instant inspiration is gone.
Now when I am waiting in line, I reach for my iPhone instead.

These lowly composition books are really jewels in a way that Moleskines can never be. Because they are cheap and readily available, the bar is set low, and there is no hesitation to use them.
I won’t stop using my Moleskines, as they are a wonderful tool that I have grown quote attached to, but I intend to get a few more of these ordinary cheap little books, and I intend to use them.

-Ezra Hilyer

The Amateur Writers Guild

 

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On a whim; I went searching for traces of my old website ‘The Amateur Writers Guild’.

Keep in mind, that is has been about 10 years since I last visited the site, and I assumed that it was long gone. But thanks to the Internet archive site archive.org I was able to go back in time and see some of it as it was in 1999, and 2000 (the height of its popularity) and was even able to find an old logo from that era (not my final revision to be sure) I put it at the top of this post. This was at a special time in the history of the Internet, (when I started the site in 1996) where it seemed that users were starved for content, and there really were not that many sites online. I had tons of interest, and had submissions all the time.

I should have been better at keeping up the site over the years, but after about 3 or 4 years, I let it die, and everyone just faded away. I went to the URL (it was hosted on a free host, as I was a poor kid) and it is still there. There is really nothing other than the entrance page left, but oddly it is at the top of the Google search for the title of the site (even though there are others with the same name) This makes me desire to re-start the venture, ( with a new name perhaps) and get it back on its feet again. I have the experience, and the know-how, I just don’t know if I have the time.. Last: here are a few category buttons from the old site:

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This is VERY Web 1.0!

-Ezra Hilyer