Wednesday, January 13, 2010

When Is Enough Too Much?

The other day I came home with a new bottle of ink, and going to put it with the others on my shelves, I couldn’t find any room. So, I decided to rearrange things and see if I couldn’t squeeze more room out of a new arrangement. Ten minutes later I had a sprawl of ink bottles and boxes across two tables, and I stood back gaping at it all, amazed at what looked liked gallons of ink. Could I ever use all that ink? When was the last time I filled a fountain pen with Tangerine Dream, or Nicolaus Copernicus? What was I going to do with eleven different shades of red ink, eleven of blue and twelve of green? All that, and it didn’t even cover half of what I saw spread on the two tables.

When does enough become too much? Talking about a hobby, a passion for something, maybe even a mild obsession, limits can sometimes be hard to set. Or is that only for some of us? In my own case I have little doubt that it often goes beyond sound reasoning, and I convince myself that I must have this or that to enhance my ‘collection.’ Naturally, every little bit we add on brings a deeper understanding, or at least that’s what I tell myself when I buy the next bottle of ink or the next fountain pen.

I’ve said in these blog pages before that most often my mood determines what color ink I choose to write with. It really is strongly connected to the nature of present feelings or sensitivities. The green I choose on Thursday may be an attempt to turn the current of my disposition, the violet a go at rousing myself from the doldrums. If I’m in sober spirits then I reach for the black or dark brown. I will admit to writing multi-colored letters, each paragraph a different and exotic color of ink. No doubt a frivolous exercise, but in fact it usually impresses the person receiving it. In this sense, it is possible to think that ink becomes a toy, or a plaything. All of these examples fit into what I believe are guidelines that define a hobby. If it doesn’t push you to find new layers, then I would worry that boredom is just around the corner. Seen from that angle perhaps enough is never too much.

Unfortunately, for some of us there is a worry that we’re spending too much money when a little economic budgeting is required. More often than not I listen to the little budget-bird in my head for a week or two, then close my ears to its peeps and run off to the pen shop for some more, more, and more INK! Somewhere out there is a new shade of green I absolutely must have.

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About Me

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America