Growing the Pen Hobby

I have not purchased a new pen for several months now. My current arsenal is satisfying me quite well and frankly my toy budget is still in intensive care. I believe in the adage of it being better to give than to receive so last week I launched a writing instrument care package to someone near and dear to me. Not a lot of money but I can tell you it’s hard to submit an order from my friends at jetpens with a shipping address different than mine.

My purpose was to show some pen love to one that may not be quite as convicted as I am and share the joy of putting ink to paper with something that is not so disposable. They may not take hold as firmly as I have but they get a surprise goody package and who can’t use a few more writing instruments flung around the house. Everybody wins and my excitement grows to see what they think of that next step up in writing stick quality.

I pulled a similar stunt earlier this year with a long distance pen pal in Australia. He sent me back a note flowing with gratitude.  His employment situation had not allowed a new pen purchase in quite a while so he really appreciated the gift. That was far more valuable and lasting to me than a few meager dollars that pen would have fetched as a sale.

I would love to hear about any donations you have made to the pen hobby or any other hobby for that matter to try and grow the legion of enthusiasts.

Remember….write something nice

Paper or Keyboard?

Paper or Keyboard?

I got a new cell phone this weekend. I pulled a 50 year teenager move and got the new iPhone 5S on its first day or release. Fortunately the purchase line was not stretched around the block but at 8 million units sold the first day I think Apple did ok. Being a regular iPad user the app store was not unfamiliar territory to me so I spent some time looking at all the apps available for the new iOS7.  Lots of productivity apps to make one’s phone indispensable for all our daily habits such as to do lists, journaling, shopping lists and so on.  I admit, none of them tempted me. I continue to thoroughly enjoy my paper calendar, pocket Clairefontaine notebook and TWSBI daily journal.  I’m tempted to say it’s simply because I’m a pen nut but I have read many of the articles published about why we journal with the permanency and value of the written word.

I enjoy going back to my lists, journals and calendars to see where I have been. The challenges I have overcome and what I have accomplished motivates me and helps focus my mind on the positives.  I wish I would have started at 10 years old but I’m glad I started when I did.

My new phone answers calls, makes calls and sends a text message here and there.  That’s just fine with me so in that regard I guess I’m more 50 year old than teenager after all.

Have you been tempted by technology to replace pen, ink and paper?

Remember: Write something nice….

Inked this Week

I realized when somebody asked me “what color blue do you like” that I had forgotten what was loaded in my current rotation. Good excuse as any to do an Inked This Week post.

blog post 9-23-13

What are you laying down on paper this week?

Remember….write something nice!


What if the dog isn’t lazy?

I can build things out of wood. That should not be confused with I can DESIGN things out of wood. Artistic and creative I’m not, but I love to build things. One of my fondest memories that may help illustrate this point is many years ago my wonderful sister and I were looking over an 8 foot high seawall and trying to figure out how to get stairs down to the water level. That may sound easy except the normal home center stair steps would have put the last step about halfway across the canal which may not have set well for the guy navigating his cabin cruiser out to the bay.  My sister is creative and I could cut and assemble anything she came up with so after most of a day we had stairs down to the water. I think she even consulted some new high tech tool called the internet while I was manning the circular saw.

Today I still enjoy wood but equally enjoy writing with my pens. Trying out a new pen or ink typically produces the boring pangram phrase “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”.  Yes I had to look up pangram, but that phrase has helped me rekindle my interest in cursive writing and even simpler, gives me something to write.

I am talent jealous when I see a lot of pen or ink review. So many pen people are very creative with their pen and paper. I have started to collect some of the doodles and simple line drawings they produce when they show off an ink’s color and other characteristics. They are fun to draw and I thank my fellow bloggers for those and always give credit to the original creators when someone comments on my attempts to build on variations that are not such blatant copies of the original.

Do you have any favorite doodles you use to play or test pen and ink?

Remember: Write something nice…

Get a Grip!

My mom and dad taught me a lot of things.  Many of those things I have vivid memories of learning, whether it was mom teaching me how to spread Jelly versus Peanut Butter to make my first PB&J sandwich or my dad in the garage teaching me the difference between metric and inches. All of these lessons have shaped who I am. I don’t remember when I first learned how to grip a writing instrument. I suspect I was very young and possibly in grade school back when handwriting was actually part of the curriculum. I’ve never really had a reason to change my grip and I would never say the grip I use is right or wrong but I know some grips are more cooperative with the physics of fountain pens.

I’m fortunate my natural grip is conducive to fountain pen usage but recently while making my Sunday morning bagel run I saw what appeared to be an ardent journalist at a table whose grip placed the writing instrument almost perfectly perpendicular to the paper. It caught my eye and got me wondering how that grip came about. It looked quite different to me but I’m one who believes if we were all the same what a boring place the world would be.  With a rollerball, ballpoint or pencil I doubt there would ever be a requirement or motivation to change one’s grip but I think a fountain pen is much more sensitive to writing angle in relation to the paper along with pressure on the instruments tip. With my first fountain pen I was worried that the scratchiness I was experiencing was because my grip needed to change. My study revealed my grip was fountain pen friendly which then turned my focus to the real problem in the nib. If my grip was the culprit I’m not sure what I would have done.

Makes me wonder  who may not be able to experience the joy of a fountain pen because of a trained grip that is not fountain pen friendly.

Does your grip hamper or help your penmanship?

Remember: Write something nice….

Pen Color = Ink Color

My belt color always matches by shoe color. Except when I slip on the old sneakers or running shoes that have never technically run. So I understand about matching accessories but I wonder if it applies to pens?  I hope green ink in a brown pen is not a pen fashion faux pas. This came to mind recently when I experienced an unusual ink burp in my TWSBI 540. After scribbling a few words I thought my fingers were bleeding but upon closer inspection the color on my fingers looked suspicious like one Diamine Ancient Copper ink color. Sure enough, I looked at my pen and saw some ink around the nib unit inside the plastic collar. Not a normal home for ink. The real test I use to see if I’ve had an ink mishap is rinsing out the cap and this time proved my suspicion accurate as watered down orangy water flowed from the cap.

I have learned to accept these types of mishaps as my pens get jostled around some from office to briefcase and back home.  No big deal that a quick flush and dry can’t cure but then it’s the big decision on what to re-ink with.

That got me thinking about ink color. I really didn’t need another blue ink in my daily rotation and what I was holding was a very blue pen, flushed and wanting to write. The Ancient Copper that came out of it was a pleasant brownish orangy that I really like but it definitely doesn’t go with blue. This never bothered my before and I’m not sure why it does now except I really have no other sample ink or other color I’m just really eager to try.

By coincidence I was refilling my big pen at the same time. The 1.2 readers of this blog are probably familiar with the woes I’ve had with my Pelikan M1000. It still will never be my favorite pen but I have learned to accept it’s quirks until I can build up the trust to send it to a nibmeister.  In the meantime the fine folks at Chartpak suggested I try Pelikan branded ink so I ordered up my first black inks with their regular grade and the higher line Edelstein variant. The big Pelikan didn’t seem to care but I found black ink lacking in character and fun. I was somewhat glad they were samples and the pen finally ran dry. Which led me to sitting in front of two pens deciding what ink to reload.

My blue TWSBI remains dismantled and drying but the Pelikan?  Diamine Amazing Amethyst in a black pen. The pen fashion police are on high alert!

Do you do any pen color ink color matching?

Remember: Write something nice……