Hitherto in the long back time when the Pundit fashioned himself the new Hemingway, ahem, he learned of a new pipe offering, known as the “Author.”
Oh, almighty thundering yes, the Pundit must have it! It was as if Homer, Plato, Shakespeare, Mark Twain, and Hem all said in a heavenly roar:
“Go forth and write young Pundit with your new pipe, the Author!”
To say the gates of stary lights opened and cherubim played angelic instruments isn’t too far removed from reality.
The Pundit was as stunned as if he had been kicked by Faulkner’s mule (for the uninitiated you will just have to look that up).
Overnight, the Pundit ordered two or three of the Authorial pipes, mainly from Savinelli, where I first learned of the pipe style.
The Author is just a perfect pipe for the writer. It has been referred to as the big brother of the prince or a subspecies of the apple shape.
Its origins are not factually known, but it has been made quite popular by Savinelli’s 320 shapes over time.
Other manufacturers make the Author as well. But the Savinelli to the Pundit’s eye is the leader of this pack. That’s probably because his first Author was the Savinelli 320KS.
The Author is a superb smoking pipe with its plump bowl and sporting a cylindrical shank that is often as long as the bowl is tall. The usually thickish stem fancies a quarter bend mostly, tapering off and rounding at the lip of the mouthpiece.
And what is very nice is that the bowls are thick and deep, allowing for wads of your favorite blend for a long, pleasant smoke.
Just right for writers, such as Hemingway, who famously is alleged to have said: “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”
Ah, yes. It ain’t as easy as Hem makes it sound. It’s not as hard as, say, a gandy dancer section gang putting in railroad tracks, of course. But writing one true sentence is the internal battle that makes it difficult.
Joan Didion, one of my favorite authors (who didn’t smoke pipes, but allegedly smoked cigarettes) said this about her toils at the typewriter:
“The impulse to write things down is a peculiarly compulsive one, inexplicable to those who do not share it, useful only accidentally, only secondarily, in the way that any compulsion tries to justify itself. I suppose that it begins or does not begin in the cradle.”
This was from her highly popular collection of essays, Slouching Towards Bethlehem.
And now that the 15th annual International Pipe Smoking Day (IPSD) has come and gone, it is an excellent moment to reminisce with a cozy Author, pen and pipe in hand.
Also, if you will, please pardon the Pundit for a bit of pipe personification and a teeny bit of sentimentalism.
We pipe smokers know a thing or two about friendships and love. How many times have you turned to your favorite pipe in a fit of worry?
You pack it with a delicious Virginia combo blend and retire to your favorite chair.
You and your friend chase off the concerns and relax. That’s what friends are for, right?
I can’t count the times I’ve gotten out a beaten, battered old-timer, scraped, nicked, and a bit cranky. I fill the old boy with a tasty blend and fire him up again and again.
He never fails to perform. Ever.
That’s one of the reasons I panicked not long ago when I could not find a dear meerschaum given to me by my brother-in-law years back. It had to be in with the herd but wasn’t.
After a high and low search, my sorrow became quite real. The meer was not here! Not in a box of pipes I keep for emergencies. It wasn’t in a closet with the remainder of the herd.
It was gone! But how could that be? I do not trade, sell, or get rid of a pipe. That’s why this was so unusual. Just when I needed the meer to cheer me up a tad, it was lost.
After a few days of fruitless searching, I decided this required a deeper dive into the herd.
You may not be the meer nerd I am, but I love coloring the white goddess over years of puffing. I sort of keep track of time and the years by how the meer is growing patina.
This ancient meer was dark, and as beautiful as a setting sun. It has been with me through the good and tough times. I actually named this meer the Ice Goddess for some reason known to me years ago.
Ah, but she is gone. She is still among the missing. My search continues. I keep one space open in a pipe rack.
I call it the “missing pipe formation!”
Now for a few notable March births and deaths of pipe-smoking authors:
Edgar Rice Burroughs, a sci-fi author, was born Sept. 1, 1875, and died March 19, 1950; He is probably best remembered for his 1912 pulp fiction, “Tarzan of the Apes.”
Raymond Chandler, son of an American father and Irish mother, was born July 23, 1888, and died March 26, 1959. He was best known for his detective novels, one of his earliest, “The Big Sleep,” introduced the detective, Philip Marlowe, who appeared in later detective novels by Chandler.
And now for the crème de la crème, Johann Sebastian Bach, born in Eisenach, Germany, March 31, 1685, and died July 28, 1750. Best-known and perhaps best-loved for his orchestral music such as the Brandenburg Concertos and keyboard masterpieces.
Check out Chuck Stanion’s outstanding piece on Bach in his August 30, 2019, Pipe Line column on SmokingPipes.com
And a parting quote from the famed classical composing maestro and pipe-smoking Bach: There’s nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself— Johann Sebastian Bach.