23 May 2008

the things we'd never imagine

Isn't that a lofty title? I love to stumble upon things I'd never imagine. Here's one --

I commented on a post about marginalia at 60 going on 16. I love marginalia. In fact, marginal glimpses into what others want to remember are often more memorable than the actual book! I also love green ink, which I mentioned in my comment because the color of the marginalia in the original post was green.

Well. Who would have imagined that green ink has an actual connotation in England? My first clue was contained in a comment by Juliet, of Musings from a Muddy Island, whose "heavens!" was both emphatic and puzzling.

Had I read
Lucky Jim, perhaps I would have remembered that the hero receives "ill-written" letters in green ink. (Note: no "perhaps" about it. I always notice references to ink, pens, paper, and notebooks. Always.) But how could I have known about the "green ink brigade" that writes letters to newspapers in England?

  • “The expression is the more-or-less affectionate description given by journalists and politicians to the people who write them eccentric letters, often in block capitals and frequently underlined in multicoloured inks. For some reason I have never heard satisfactorily explained, the most obsessive of these correspondents seem to prefer green."
A quick Google brought me here. I want more! I'm off to Google some more, and take some notes - yes - in green ink.

(Incidentally, I also stumble on less-enjoyable things. I stumbled down half a flight of stairs last week. I didn't break anything, but the fall was an insult to my spine, which has been curling itself into a combination of a double helix and the golden ratio for decades. My spine, alas, is far more creative than the rest of me, and far less tolerant of insults. Just one of those things.)


Juliet said...

Little did I know, when I idly typed the word 'heavens', that it would lead to puzzlement and a flurry of Googling in Long Island! The things we'd never imagine, indeed. That article sums it up very well, I think - thanks for pointing it out. Do let us know if you discover more about green ink. (In typesetting - in the UK at least - green ink was always traditionally used by the setter's reader to mark corrections or queries for the attention of the author or editor, but that's a different story altogether.) Sorry to hear about your unpleasant stumble - hope it's getting better.

KSD said...

OW! I've got a pair of lightly used crutches you're welcome to borrow.


Carrie K said...

That's fascinating about green ink.

Healing yet? Ouch.

Aunt Kathy said...

I tried to post my comment in green letters but alas blogger wouldn't stand for that.

I am however not green with envy over the pain from your fall, too many aches and pains in my world. I hope you feel right as rain already

Barbara from Nova Scotia said...

I must google pink ink...

60GoingOn16 said...

I had no idea when I wrote my marginalia post that such a fascinating transatlantic exchange would ensue. I hope there will be many more . . . and I haven't quite finished with marginalia.

Like Juliet I hope that you soon recover from the less pleasant stumble. Try Arnica (cream applied topically and in tablet form orally). Trust me - I'm a homeopath!

sunt_lacrimae_rerum said...

I hope that your back is better. They are really wretched things--can't live with them; can't live without them.

Your exegesis on green ink is utterly fascinating! Thank you so much!

Booklogged said...

I'm sorry about your back pain, but you did write a wonderful paragraph about it. I'm GREEN with envy at how well you express yourself. Absolutely, expressive paragraph.

Loved to learn about the green ink stuff, too.

nonizamboni said...

Enjoyed reading your lively posting back and forth about marginalia. Checking in with you is always a great reminder of the joy of a life apart from the ordinary.
Dear Green Ink friend, take.good. care!

adrienne said...

I loved the information on green ink - it was fascinating! I use it when I'm writing a draft of whatever to indicate that I need to substitute this part for that part, move this bit over here, etc. However, I'm so sorry about your fall - I hope you are feeling much better now. Take very good care of yourself,