February 11th, 2010

I have too many fountain pens

(repost as necessary)

I noticed trillian_stars trying to jot something down by the phone last week opening up one pen after another to find that none of them had ink in them. "Why don't any of these pens have ink in them?" she asked. "I don't use any of them," I said. And it's true. Although I have a lot of pens, I only use about four of them (photos and lj entry for the pengeekish). I realized not only is it deceptive to have a coffee mug full of un-inked pens lying about, it's sad. Each of those pens meant something to me at one point in time, they inspired me and to have them sitting around gathering dust is to stop poems from being written, great thoughts from being recorded, it's to stop them from inspiring someone else. These pens should be somewhere else, writing.

So I want to give them away.

Clickenzee to embiggen!

My biggest fear is that they'll just end up in someone else's pencil box, doing nothing so let me explain:

1) these are fountain pens, they will leak ink on you from time to time. you'll have it between your fingers and people will know you're a writer (or they'll think you're a slob, depending on how much they know about pens)

2) You will need to buy ink for them, ink that comes in a jar (fountain pen ink, not india ink), you can still get it at stationary supply stores.

3) Two of these pens are OLD, they were made in the 1940's and they'll eventually need servicing, buying & replacing the parts that will go bad is not difficult, but you will need some modicum of technical skill, or you'll need to get someone to do it for you. There are lots of people who do this.

4) Members of the opposite sex (and members of the same sex) will no doubt be attracted to you like dogs to a gut wagon when they see you in the coffee shop writing with a fountain pen, be prepared to fight them off and answer endless questions about your poetry/novel.

Here's what we have:

1) Esterbrook w/ a 9550 nib, it's a very fine point nib. The pen has been very recently completely overhauled, it's missing the "jewel" at the end -- you can make your own.

2) Esterbrook 2556 nib, it's a fine point, general writing nib. This pen has broken & been repaired several times. It's very dear to my heart -- there's a story somewhere in my blog about how it broke, I was sad, someone in Virginia whom I didn't know heard about it, sent me an email saying how sad he was that such a fine pen had broken. He seemed so sincere, I sent the broken pen to him, a month later, it returned! He'd fixed it BY MACHINING CUSTOM BRASS PARTS. i kid you not. This pen signifies, to me, how awesome the internet is, and how good people can be.

3) A Pelikan 200 demonstrator with a medium nib. This was a graduation present from very dear friends. It's served me well but it bothers me that it hasn't written a letter in years. This is a (comparatively) new pen & it's very freaking cool.

So, how do you get one of these?

Since I want to know that they're going to writers -- here's what to do:

1) Make an anonymous comment here.

2) In the anonymous comment, post a photo of your journals / some pages from your journals so that we can see you are one of those weird people who still writes by hand.

3) Post in that anonymous comment, a writing sample -- part of a poem, a paragraph from a letter, something from your travels something you're proud of (please type this as text in the comment, I don't want to have to read people's writing from images). Not more than 300 words please.

4) You don't need to go to great lengths to anonymize yourself, you can host the image in your own LJ pictures section and link to it, i just don't want to be distracted by familiar names (or unfamiliar ones).

5) If you don't write by hand and don't have a paper journal but you're so inspired by this that it makes you want to take a notebook and a pen and backpack across Europe (or Idaho for that matter, why do people alway backpack across Europe and never Idaho? I'd love to inspire someone to make an American travel diary) -- write about your plans & hope and dreams and we'll count that too.

These aren't terribly expensive pens, they're cash value isn't high, but to think of them only in terms of money is to fundamentally misunderstand this. This isn't about money, it's about making something from nothing. It's about what you didn't write but what you will write, it's about memories that you'll make that will make the world a better place for us all. It's about inspiration.

So have at it -- contest ends next Wednesday. (If you've already got a fountain pen, or a box of them, please consider letting someone else have a go ;-)
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