The Three Hundred and Eighty-Eighth Post: The One Where I Ramble About Pens…

Some of you might know, I have an interest in fountain pens. I went out Sunday to buy a bottle of ink for one of my pens at a local art supply store. They didn’t have the ink I was looking for (Lexington Grey), but I felt like I should get something because I searched high and low for this place and I was not going to leave empty handed. I grabbed a Leuchtturm 1917 small notebook (high end) for about $10. Since I got a notebook, it would not do to get another fountain pen.

It was there I saw disposable fountain pens.

You want to ride the highway? You gotta pay the toll, know what I’m sayin’?

Seeing them was heart breaking. Pilot pen (makers of the only ball-point pens I will ever use) had taken what I loved and adored and turned it into something cheap and worth only the trash can when done. They had taken the notion of a high-end geisha, dressed her in fishnets, a vomit-stained t-shirt and hole riddled cut-off shorts and shoved her out onto a street corner. I was heart broken over this plastic soiled dove.

I bought it. It wasn’t even extra-fine tipped. It was medium. It felt like I was writing with a Sharpie. There was no way I could change the ink or the nib. Holding this pen, I felt almost nauseous. It made thick lines.

Yes. I am a pen snob. My favorite pen manufacturer is Monteverde. My favorite ink maker is Noodler’s Ink and the only nib I will use is extra-fine as I write small and I need for it to be clear. A pen to me is not only a tool, it is a work of art. A cheap pen for me is $36. I own a pen that I bought for $125. I’m saving up right now for a pen that is $1,000. My wife’s caught me (guiltily, I admit) admiring a $7,000 pen. I told her I would like to have that pen for Christmas.

Her laughter was rich, full and very, very harsh.

Anyways, I still have the pen in my pockets with my notebook, and I take it out and look at it. It doesn’t write bad – the ink doesn’t feather or bleed through on the pages. The barrel of the pen looks nice with the geometric pattern on it. It would look better if it were engraved on a metal barrel, but it’s esthetically pleasing to me. It writes smooth for what I got. It’s no Ritma, but it’s not a Bic roller ball.

Did I learn something? What the hell does this have to do with writing?

It has everything to do with managing expectations. I’m not going to write one draft of a book. I let someone read the rough draft of Romance with Advantage and they told me they couldn’t get through the first seventeen pages for all the errors. Rather than be hurt, I know I have a second draft to write. Should I hang up the notion of one draft? No. I should work and aim for that. If I miss that goal, I shouldn’t give up and toss the manuscript aside (like I’ve been tempted to do several times). I must manage my expectations. I get the chance to improve on the tale. Just because I have a disposable fountain pen that was less than $10.00 doesn’t mean I can’t write a good tale with it.

Just because things didn’t turn out right doesn’t mean you should quit.

If only I can remember this all the time.

Well, have a good day everyone – make art with the tools you have. Stay positive and live well. I’m off to work someone on my second horror novel: a haunted house tale called The Truth Will Out. See you all next week.