What's in My Pen Roll
On the weekend, Jon went out to run a few errands, the babies both took an afternoon nap, and I spent a few glorious minutes re-organized my stationery supplies. The pangs of withdrawal, the anxiety, my fingers itchy to have all my pens together again. (Can you tell it's been a while?) It's been a bit hectic here for the last few weeks, with the arrival of the baby, follow-up appointments with the midwife, Scriptus, beginning to get some big shipments for the holidays. I've left notebooks here and there, fountain pens all over the apartment, a few with ink in them for several weeks or longer because I hadn't been writing very much, and my desk a complete mess. It was nice to clear off some desk space, put away things properly, and finally clean out a few pens. There really is nothing like having all of your tools taken care of and ready to use: either cleaned out and put away, or freshly inked and ready to go, organized nicely in your pen roll or pen case or wherever you keep them. I guess it's partially the guilt I feel when I know my pens have ink slowly drying up in them (or, even worse, the horror of temporarily misplacing a pen that you know has ink in it and searching everywhere), but it's also the feeling of potential, all my words and thoughts ready to transposed at the snap of a cap. We've gotten a lot of new inks in the shop recently, Kobe and Bungubox, or even the Kyo No Oto and Kyo Iro, or Caran d'ache inks, and while I haven't had much time to test them out, I decided to mostly stick with a few old favourites to get me back in the saddle. TWSBI 580 AL Turquoise F - Rohrer and Klingner Blau Permanent TWSBI Mini AL Gold B - Diamine Tudor Blue Vintage Parker from Scriptus - J. Herbin Lie de The Sailor 1911S Transparent M - Pelikan 4001 Brown Sailor 1911S Anchor Grey B - Diamine Terracotta Lamy Vista F - Kyo No Oto Aonibi (#5) The swab for the Lie de the is directly from the bottle, but the writing sample from the Parker is a bit off, as I think there must have been some residual black ink in the pen that mixed with the brown. Just don't look too close, and squint a little. This Diamine Terracotta is one of my favourite inks, but I've actually not had it in a pen since I wrote about it on the blog two years ago. It's one of those things where I got into this business because I loved stationery and writing, but with running the shop and needing to test out and try and know all of the products, I sometimes don't get to spend as much time as I'd like with favourites. I know, I know: what a problem to have. On my Vista, I have a 14K fine nib. I certainly don't mind a steel nib, but I wrote with Jon's Imporium and really liked the nib. I'm normally not someone who particularly likes fine nibs, although I have a few, but this nib had just the right amount of ever so slight bounce and flow and feel against the page. Jon had to order a new 14K nib for himself. And this is Diamine Tudor Blue, in my TWSBI AL Mini Gold, broad. Both of these are fairly new to me, but I love them both. The Tudor Blue is a darkish blue but still clearly a blue (rather than a blue black), and has some subtle shading. And the AL Mini is a great size for me and I love the hint of gold. So these are them! Three blues and three browns, my pens for now, this cool and slightly grim season between the beauty of fall and the rush of jingle bells. I don't think they'll last to Christmas, with inks for Christmas cards and Christmas notes still to come, but I'm enjoying this new set of writers in my pen roll.
***In any case, I hope you're all doing well, and finding a little time to enjoy your favourite rituals in life, whatever they are. I'm reading a book right now that describes a morning scene of the ritual of making coffee for a woman who has lived alone most of her life: grinding the beans, boiling the water, watching out a window. Before the day begins, she breathes in and out and takes her first sip of coffee. It feels like it'll be a while yet before I can embrace solitude in my life - without searching for socks or a hungry baby or trying to get a load of laundry in - but I'll take the rituals I have when I can get them. Traditions, processes, the things that make up and enrich our days and lives. The process of organizing, and decluttering. Taking the time to clean out pens, put some away and choose the right inks for the rest, to match the season and my mood and what's ahead. Date and place on the first line, waiting for all those dreams to come out of my pens onto the page.