• Martha J Allard

The color of my ink: Navigating my way out of Covid.


I love fountain pens. I love watching the shimmer of the words as the ink dries in the wake of the nib across the page. I love the stains on my fingers, a writer's tattoo.

My most recent story is about, in part my devotion to pens and ink. It's called "Notes of Love and Death." It's out in the world right now, being considered.

Full disclosure: I wrote it with a rollerball pen. Black ink.

All winter I wrote pages and pages in notebooks, late at night when I couldn't sleep. I couldn't help it. it was miles and miles of black ink, every word seemed to confirm the thing that a friend said about the pandemic, that it was like watching the end of the world in slow motion.

A bout of the virus early on lost me a job that was toxic. I couldn't prove it was Covid because Michigan had no tests. My Doctor told me to go home ad stay in my room. It was like being suspended in a world between worlds where there was nothing but me and my symptoms. I made it through when so many people didn't and then the months still dragged on.

I won't recount them, you were there.

So. About the ink. I filled up my pen and started another story. This time it's about seeing Baba Yaga at the dollar store.

I feel as though I'm remembering who I was, before. How I wrote. The black ink notebooks are in a pile in my room. When I read them over there's some "good stuff", but very little joy. It's like the ink was as heavy as I felt, stuck in that world between worlds.

This new green ink notebook is with me now.

I hugged a friend for the first time after we'd both been vaccinated. That was such a strong feeling, I was shocked, and I think we all feel like that member of the landing party that takes their breather off first.

For me, green ink is the first step back, and forward at the same time. To something lighter.






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