journal entries

Survival Tools for a Pandemic

It’s kind of hard to write about your regular sex, gender, kink, and relationship content, when to be honest, I’m primarily spending my time on hobbies and art and expression.

I’ve heard multiple people talking about how essential hobbies are during sheltering in place and the COVID pandemic, and it’s been absolutely instrumental to me. I’d already started developing a serious study of the Tarot, but that has continued to deepen this past year, and I started to research (and purchase) fountain pens, too. I have written off fountain pens for a while because my handwriting is very small, and the tips tend to be bigger than is comfortable for my handwriting. A few years back, I started asking, are there any smaller options? And ended up with a Pilot Vanishing Point, which, I was told by pen experts at the art store, was the smallest tip possible on a fountain pen.

Now, almost a year after starting to research the fountain pen world on my own, I know that isn’t true — there are a lot of extra-fine tip options. And, beyond that, there are flex nib options, which allow line width variation, and are the 14-year-old in me’s dream come true about calligraphy options. I’m still learning how to write fancy script, but I’ve been spending quite a bit of time on drills and exercises.

I also bought a typewriter recently. Someone (hi) gifted me a typewriter when I lived in New York, and I sold it when I left, which I somewhat regret now but that’s just part of it all. I found a 1936 Smith Corona standard on Etsy recently and bought it, paying the extra shipping to send it all the way to Alaska. It’s been such a pleasure and I’m so excited to use it for more art journaling.

Here’s a video clip, mostly for fun. It literally is just almost fifteen minutes of me writing on it.

Other than the typewriter, the fountain pen and inks, and the tarot (which I’ve written about here a bit before), I’ve been adding more art elements into my journal, particularly with washi tape and a pile of Tim Holtz papers and “ephemera curiosities”, and some other additives, that get glued in to the journal. I’m still “bullet journaling,” as the kids are calling it these days, and while I’m learning a lot from the general “bujo” community (and stealing their ideas), I still struggle to call it that since I was making my own weekly spread before it was commodified like this, and I wish there was another name for it (that didn’t attribute it to a white man “inventing” it). I’ve got a personal Instagram account that has some of these things posted, in case you are interested in this type of art, too.

Some examples:

This is definitely the first time I’m sharing journal pages without sharing what’s on them! But mostly I’m blurring them out not because they’re too personal but because they’re just a lot of me blah-blah-blah-ing, I’m saying “I like this ink in this fountain pen but I wish the line was thinner” or “I don’t know what to write about”. After writing here for almost 15 (!!) years, there is little that is too personal, but this is too … casual? Too much blah.

As someone who has dabbled in the solopreneur-entrepreneur-creativepreneur-make-your-entire-life-into-a-business thing, it was years ago that I realized I needed hobbies in addition to my work, and I’ve been actively pursuing things that weren’t just related to this website and my online projects. But COVID has been a new level of
focusing on hobbies, for me, not just because I’ve had a bit more disposable income (yay!) because I’ve been living in a family home since July (yay for no rent, boo for no community). I am grateful to have this as an option, though it’s been very hard to be far from my queer chosen families in Seattle and San Francisco, and I miss … everything.

I have loved paper crafts and hobbies about pen and inks for a long time, since high school, or even before, but I’ve been taking it to a new depth this year, and that’s felt really good. I’m leaning on them, creating things, writing, putting colors and styles together in a way that I’ve never done before. I don’t know if they’re going to “lead anywhere,” or if they’ll be useful here, or if I’ll ever use them for something, or even share them. But I’m really glad to be practicing these skills and hobbies, even still.

Published by Sinclair Sexsmith

Sinclair Sexsmith (they/them) is "the best-known butch erotica writer whose kinky, groundbreaking stories have turned on countless queers" (AfterEllen), who "is in all the books, wins all the awards, speaks at all the panels and readings, knows all the stuff, and writes for all the places" (Autostraddle). ​Their short story collection, Sweet & Rough: Queer Kink Erotica, was a 2016 finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and they are the current editor of the Best Lesbian Erotica series. They identify as a white non-binary butch dominant, a survivor, and an introvert, and they live outside Seattle as an uninvited settler on traditional, ancestral, & unceded Snoqualmie land.

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