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The epitome to me of “Writing as Meditation” is the medieval scribe in a scriptorium. The focus on every word, the exact and careful tracing of each letter, is writing on a spiritual plane.

But a focus of that intensity also needs a break. One form must have been the complaints and comments some scribes and copyists put in the margins.   Here is one:   “New parchment, bad ink; I say nothing more.”   The creation of whimsical marginalia was another, with animals as knights, fantastic monsters, and not-so-subtle sexual poses and sarcasm.


The Getty Museum produced a very interesting video on the making of parchment, the materials scribes used for writing and illumination.


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