At 45, I am considering attending college for the first time ever. Curious about the experiences of other adult learners, I reached out to my friends on Facebook:
Lorraine M. Pasquali: I dove in feet first, like I do everything. After the first class, I felt I had made a huge mistake and cried in my car for 10 minutes before driving home. The workload seemed daunting… I was still working a full-time job Continue Readering »
What fountain pen user hasn’t at one time or another experienced inky fingers? For me, it’s every time I refill a pen. It happens either by accidentally touching the rim of the bottle or when using a paper towel to wipe the nib section clean.
Other ways I’ve gotten inky? If a pen is running a little dry, I will sometimes twist the convertor to push more ink into the feed; if it’s a bit too much, spillage may occur. Dip pens/nibs come with their own type of inky hazards simply from having to repeatedly dip the nib into an ink bottle.
Under what circumstances have you experienced the inky finger syndrome? Anyone ever experience ink problems on an airplane?
Image courtesy of Ragemore on Instagram
Have you ever discovered two similar ink colors? How did you determine your favorite between them? Price? Smell? Flow? Looking for something similar to an ink you can’t find? Take a look at this article on Pendemonium: A Few Thoughts on Fountain Pen Inks which includes helpful notes on similar ink colors.
Image courtesy of pelikanop on Instagram
When I first bought character actor Stephen Tobolowsky’s book “The Dangerous Animals Club” I didn’t initially realize that it was a memoir. (If you don’t know Stephen’s name, you probably know his face because he’s been in over 200 movies – from Mississippi Burning to Memento.) Each chapter is a separate story, (some quite amusing) yet there are larger interconnecting narratives that weave together from the book’s beginning to end. From the very first chapter I instantly recognized Stephen as a gifted storyteller and was more than happy to read about his various experiences -including many from his 30 years in the entertainment industry.
When reading a book such as this, I’m always intrigued by the authors ability to either recall or write detailed dialog. I have a million stories I could write about, but how does one remember exactly what so and so said? If one does not have the memory of an elephant and did not take explicitly detailed notes at the time of the event, does the author simply use artistic license and make things up? I’d be concerned that I’d receive a phone call from Great Aunt Hilde screaming at me something along the lines of, “I never said that you should buy the tuna, It’s always been the cod!”
If you’ve ever penned a short story using actual events from your life, how did you go about writing the character dialog? If not, we can each check out the advice offered at the links below.
Can You Make Up Dialogue In Memoirs Or Nonfiction Books? at Writer’s Relief
Writing a Memoir Like a Novel: Dialogue at This New Mountain
I received an e-mail the other day from Roy M. asking if I knew of any good calligraphy blogs. As I did not, I began to Google around. I found sites which featured eye candy like Gentian Osman’s at Drawing with a Squirrel, Schin Loong’s at Open Ink Stand, and Eliza Holliday’s at The Letterist.
A Place to Flourish offers the anticipations, experiences and reflections of a calligrapher.
But I really seemed to have struck the mother load when I found this post: 40 Fantastic Calligraphy Blogs which has links from calligraphy artists around the world - many who are are largely influenced by the cultures in which they live and work.
Does anyone else know of any good calligraphy blogs?
The image above is my own. That’s Rouge Hematite in a handmade folded pen.
Commonplace books (or commonplaces) are essentially handwritten scrapbooks filled with items of every kind: recipes, quotes, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, legal formulas, etc.
These commonplaces were used by readers, writers, students, and scholars as an aid for remembering useful concepts, or facts they had learned and each book would be unique to its owners particular interests. They became significant in early modern Europe.
Per Wiki, commonplace books are not diaries nor travelogues, with which they can be contrasted: English Enlightenment philosopher John Locke wrote the 1706 book A New Method of Making a Common Place Book, “in which techniques for entering proverbs, quotations, ideas, speeches were formulated. Locke gave specific advice on how to arrange material by subject and category, using such key topics as love, politics, or religion. Commonplace books, it must be stressed, are not journals, which are chronological and introspective.” – Nicholas A. Basbanes in “Every Book Its Reader: The Power of the Printed Word to Stir the World”
And in the words of Jonathan Swift: “A common-place book is what a provident poet cannot subsist without, for this proverbial reason, that “great wits have short memories;” and whereas, on the other hand, poets being liars by profession, ought to have good memories. To reconcile these, a book of this sort is in the nature of a supplemental memory; or a record of what occurs remarkable in every day’s reading or conversation. There you enter not only your own original thoughts, (which, a hundred to one, are few and insignificant) but such of other men as you think fit to make your own by entering them there. For take this for a rule, when an author is in your books, you have the same demand upon him for his wit, as a merchant has for your money, when you are in his.” —from “A Letter of Advice to a Young Poet”
Would you like to read more about commonplace books? Try these links:
How And Why To Keep A “Commonplace Book” at ThoughtCatalog
Commonplace Books at Harvard University Library
Scribbling With Style on OZY
Yellow Rhodia Paper at Pencil Revolution
A Minimal Pen with a Twist at Fubiz
A Celebration of The Stop Doing List at Danielle Laporte
Pilot Ageless Future Gel Ink Pen Review at The Pen Addict
Rhodia Mouse Pad Note Pad at Office Supply Geek
Can the Right Tools Help You Write Better? at Writing Forward
Stanley Kubrick’s Annotated Copy of Stephen King’s The Shining at Open Culture
Journaling lessons learned at Plannerisms
Hero Has Cloned The Lamy Safari at Pentorium
7 Inspiring Quotes About Writing at LifeHack
Shaw Pens – The Bessemer Ballpoint at No Pen Intended
2014 – the year of very many books about Urban Sketching? at Making a Mark
Writing and the Creative Life: 18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently at The Creativity Post
Gorgeous images of the new Pilot Metallic VP at Ink Nouveau
22 Manly Ways to Reuse an Altoids Tin at The Art of Manliness
Art Journals at Quo Vadis Blog
Ink Review: J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen at The Well-Appointed Desk
Guide to Choosing a Highlighter Pen at JetPens
Wolff’s Royal Sovereign pencil samples in a tin at Palimpest
iHanna’s DIY Postcard Swap Spring 2014 at iHanna
Start Shipping! Enjoy Free Shipping on Orders $45+ at European Paper
Image courtesy of marcieello on Instagram
Fredric Pitts: Review of two Rhodia No. 19 pads of lined paper – one white and one yellow.
“When I sat down to write with these two papers I will admit that I had preconceived ideas about how the experience would go… and I was wrong. I thought that the white paper would be great for fountain pens and, thus, my favorite. The yellow, reported to be toothier, would be great for pencil but not fountain pens and I rarely use anything but fountain pens. On both pads the lines are nicely spaced for my hand and the page has lots of real estate to write upon which is great for the desk top, not really my favorite size for travel. Continue Readering »
Are you a doodler?
By allowing yourself to be creative in a way that is not dependent on any particular outcome, you can focus on the process itself and simply appreciate your hand moving the pen across the surface of the paper.
The next time you find yourself waiting at the doctor’s office, the DMV, or when picking up your children after school, I’d like challenge you to reach for a paper and pencil and allow yourself to doodle. If this is something you don’t normally do, I think you might be surprised at how calming and meditative the process may be.
Image courtesy of butch_gordon on Instagram
As a writer slash artist, I have a lot of different kinds of paper on hand for writing, drawing, sketching, painting, etc. The major differences (IMHO) between these papers is the surface. (Weight also plays a big factor) Drawing and sketching papers typically have some degree of “tooth” which helps to enhance the appearance of dry media like pencils, charcoal, or pastel.
When working on paper that isn’t smooth, there is an audible sound as the writing/drawing implement is moved across the paper. I don’t mind this when I’m making art but sometimes find it distracting when I’m writing – especially when using an extra fine nibbed pen on a toothy paper.
Have you taken notice of the sound your pen/pencil makes on paper? Do you choose specific pen/pencil and paper combinations to enhance or avoid the sound?
Image courtesy of _leisurely_ on Instagram
“7 year old AJ writing with a pen that was manufactured when her grandparents were children. Esterbrook J series.”
In a time where children are bombarded with a billion different distractions every day, it warms my heart to see this young girl patiently putting nib to paper.
Did you know that the famous Disney artist Carl Barks was an enthusiastic user of Esterbrook pens? He particularly used a Nº 356 model to ink and letter his famous Donald Duck comic-book pages. (Per Wiki)
“…I drew direct onto the drawing paper with a Scripto light blue pencil, and inked with a 356 Esterbrook pen. My wife inked the dialogue with an A-5 or B-6 Speedball, and blacked the solid areas with a #2 sable brush.”
Interested in Esterbrook fountain pens? Check this out: Esterbrook.net
Image courtesy of BookBoy on Instagram
Earlier in the year, I’d written a post about New Pens for the New Year and Jane Herman took the time to write about her wanting to try a new pen and then discovering an opportunity to test it in person. Be sure to visit Jane’s blog, Jane the Writer.
“For some time, I’ve been eying these Papermate Flair pens, but was reluctant to buy the whole set without the opportunity to try one first. My chance came yesterday, when my sister and I stumbled upon University Stationery just two doors down from the movie theater where we’d spent the afternoon. The bins of individual brightly colored pens waiting to be tested and the piles of Rhodia notebooks and pads caught my eye immediately in this high-end, but cramped independent stationery store in the neighborhood of NYU. It didn’t take much to convince my sister we should pop in, and like a kid in a candy store, I tested pen after pen after pen, even though I knew all along that the blue ultra fine Flair above would leave the store with me.
The pen, a gift from me to me, got its test run in the office today and passed with flying colors. The ink is smooth, the color vibrant, the line fine and sharp, and, best of all, it doesn’t bleed through the pages in my brand new planner! If this experience is a sign of things to come, 2014 is off to a great start!”
What new pens have you purchased this year so far?
While I was working with cadmium orange paint yesterday, I began to wonder whether or not the color of our signature Rhodia orange covers has a specific name of its own. I will check with Karen Doherty, the marketing VP for Exaclair and report back my findings.
In the meantime, would you like to try and guess the official name of Rhodia orange?
Therapy can be costly, and our friends aren’t always available or capable of holding space for us- while our notebooks and journals stand ever ready to serve. I first started journaling in 2005 and can now look back and see how valuable writing was to my growth process.
In the book “The Artists Way“, author Julia Cameron describes a practice she calls “Morning Pages” in which you regularly dump the junk out of your mind and into your journal – effectively freeing up space for clearer thinking.
In “Dark Side of the Light Chasers” Debbie Ford says, “Journaling is a good tool to help process your emotions. It encourages whatever comes into your mind to flow out onto the paper. It allows the emotional toxicity in our bodies and minds to express itself freely. Once we can grant this toxicity being and allow it to exist without judgment it will be released.”
I wrote with great consistency from 2008-2011, yet very little in 2012. Things picked up in 2013 but not as much as I would like. Lately, I’ve been thinking more and more about writing and am ready to once again make regular time for it.
Do you have a regular writing habit? Do you make time to “dump the junk?” Is this a process that has proved valuable for you?
Image courtesy of sookyung on Instagram
Rhodia Meeting Book at Office Supply Geek
J. Herbin Encre Rouge Ink Review at The Pen Addict
Preventing Hand Fatigue During Long Writing Sessions at Pentorium
More on Finishing Notebooks at Notebook Stories
Pilot Vanishing Point Fountain Pen – White Body, Black M Nib at No Pen Intened
Sharpie Ultra Fine Point Permanent Marker at A Penchant for Paper
Review of the Clairefontaine Calligraphy Pad at Life Imitates Doodles
15 Quick and Dirty Writing Tips at Writing Forward
Faber-Castell brings two new colors to the affordable Loom lineup at Fountain Pen Geeks
Margaret Atwood’s 10 Rules of Writing at Brain Pickings
Review: Rhodia No. 18 Uni-Blank Pad at The Well Appointed Desk
Sketchbook Exercises at Nordljus
Family Connection — Another Reason To Write Our Memories at Writing Through Life
Faber-Castell Loom Fountain Pen at Write to Me Often
Intro to the Monteverde Impressa Fountain Pen at Ink Nouveau
Rotring 800 0.5mm Pencil Review at Ed Jelley
Image courtesy of laurazigman on Instagram