Learning to Accept

The wisdom of the ages. When new to an enterprise, your head quickly gets filled with bits and pieces of knowledge, some of which you realize you are taking on faith until you actually experience an event yourself that exemplifies the lore. I completely believed when told that the fountain pen writing experience was a combination of nib, pen, ink and paper. But I didn’t understand until I wrote with my TWISBI 580 AL inked in Iroshizuku Ina-H0 in a Life Noble notebook.

My deep felt love for my TWISBI mini was not carried over to the 580 (which I rail on about here). I loathed it with the stub nib on it (fire hose anyone?) and was not much happier with the fine nib. As for Ina-Ho, it is lovely but impractical. I had only a small sample so I did not want to flush it down the drain and I decided to switch out the stub nib for the fine. I thought I would lose the shading but it would give another use of the ink for comparison. I felt I had wasted it already so had nothing to lose.

I was writing in my Life Noble notebook when I had to stop and comment:

This is the first paper on which this pen has acted as if it has a fine nib. And the first time I have ever enjoyed using this pen. Put that together with this amazing ink and it is delicious. Delicious.

And there you have it. A pen I disliked, an ink I had no time time for. Put them together and write in a Life Notebook and it is such a joyful feeling I have to take time out of my journalling to note how fantastic it is. I ended up writing six pages. I literally did not want to stop writing. img_0382-1


That finial is the reason I could not buy an Ecco even though in the back of my mind I suspect I would prefer it to the AL. That is how crazy I can be. I cannot accept the flat plastic end of the Ecco, not when put up against the beauty and detail of the Classic and 580.


Saturday Afternoon

All of my cups are overflowing: two new pens, a ton of new inks, new notebooks. New art journal challenge. Not keeping up the pace.

Not even sure if I wrote about my Custom 74–but since it’s “newest pen” status was kicked out from under it pretty darn quick, it will have to wait. Last Saturday I picked up what I thought was a Faber-Castell but turns out to be a Graf von Faber-Castell Tamitio Rosé. Snobs, pay attention. GVFC is the luxury line of Faber-Castell. Go me!

I was at Take Note and noticed the pen because it was pink. Actually had to swap out a rollerball for the fountain pen. The barrel is a bit of a tight fit over the converter but it works. To my credit, I did want a Faber-Castell (even though I idiotically thought it was a French company. I wanted a French pen) and what very very little research I had done on the matter suggested that even their entry level pens had notable nibs. I have to admit, the nib grabbed me immediately. It helps that it is a medium. Since I have gone over to the broader side of life there is no doubt whatsoever that a medium nib is a smoother experience. Period. This was stretching it a bit because the western medium is a thicker line than the Japanese medium but once the pen was in hand I don’t think it would have mattered if it was shovel size. It was glorious!

After I got home, I started doing my research in earnest. That is when I learned about the “Graf von” one upmanship. I was thrilled to see that both Stephen and Azizah agreed that the nib was good. I was puzzled that neither of them could post the pen. Mine definitely clicks in place as do others that I read about. For me, it makes no difference. Despite pastel pink appearances, this pen is heavy. The pastel is some finish over metal. Throwing the metal cap on it makes it too long and heavy for me to handle.

Ah, to handle, there is the rub because on this point Stephen and I are in total agreement. It is almost impossible to write with this pen and certainly impossible to write for long blocks of time. The section is ridiculously short. I don’t find it difficult to grip the barrel because of the fluting which is soft and not cutting but difficult because I hold a pen close to the nib. To do that with this pen means also holding some of the barrel at the same time and it is the discordance of having two sets of materials under my thumb so to speak that causes me dis-ease.

From their web site:

The slim metal barrel promises stylish writing pleasure whose fine fluting is a real eye-catcher. Its surface also attests to its meticulous craftsmanship: the technically-innovative varnish created specially for the “Tamitio” is applied several times and imparts it with a durable, noble, matt look. Highly polished front and end pieces accent the barrel to great affect just like the subtlety engraved “Handmade in Germany” seal of quality.

The pen is thin and the hold is precarious. I have gone through an entire converter’s worth of ink in a week (!) and have not yet managed to produce an entire paragraph of consistent cursive. It slips and slides and I squiggle and squirm.

I got the pen at a really decent price. They didn’t have the Intuition which looks like it has the section the Tomitio needs. So, I should dislike this pen because it just doesn’t work for me. Wrong. The snap chrome cap is sheer joy to cap and uncap. It is so stinkin pretty. And the nib is like ice skating. I just have to learn to do figure skating instead of the pick up shimmy that I am playing. I will soldier on!

Mired in Possibilities

Doing my best not to get too disheartened by getting this site together. At the present moment, everything is in flux. Too many possibilities, choices, options. Trying to see this as a positive; admittedly, swimming very hard upstream against the current of my own personality.

A lot of things are working: I like my ink journal set up albeit I am going to start adding swatches to it. Or else add a small book of swatches. It is not possible to readily compare more than two colours when using a full size notebook. Even better, I can repurpose a lovely recipe card holder I have to hold ink swatch index cards.

I like my Midori set up. I use it which is the point.

I like my daily journal set up which is anything that I am currently trying out. I have used Leuchtturm 1917, Life, Moleskine and Midori and a few others. It does not bother me that they are all varied. In fact, I like it. I have pushed through a barrier here and continue to journal daily regardless of mistakes, blots, messiness. I have even done a few multi-coloured entries which is pretty much beyond the pale for me. It is all good and more to the point, it is all forcing me to carry on. Just carry on.

What isn’t good at the moment is my pen journal. I only have 22 so doing that over in a format that pleases me better will not be a hardship. This blog is not so good either but the main sticking point is my ugly photographs. Trying to push that forward, too. My Everyday Carry is a hot mess. I am not sure what it is going to take to settle that down. It is a fight between aesthetics and function. Wrestling mightily with it.

In the meanwhile, I have started colouring with my inks. I got an extremely cheap colouring book for Christmas. The paper is horrible! But, it is ring bound which allows it to lie flat and the paper is so thick that ink does not bleed through. It is a good way to use up ink in pens that I want to re ink.15940693_1842551512631872_8523785703124422560_n

Pilot Custom 74

Yes, another new pen. I tried to take a picture but I will have to try again. It was ghastly! I did not intend on buying a new pen. I had my shorts in total knots arguing with myself about purchasing a Montblanc Noir et Rouge. I had tried it out twice. I admit it might be my grail pen. Regardless, I just could not swallow the purchase price which is over $1,000.00. It stuck in my throat. On Saturday I finally decided. I was not going to do it.

So, with a clear conscience I headed off to Wonder Pens with the intent of buying a new nib for my Kaweco. I hated my Kaweco.  I also needed to purchase a new Leuchtturm or two. My ink journal was almost full and I am filling up my journal pages like crazy. And I wanted to try a few more ink samples: Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses, Diamine’s Imperial Purple, Lamy’s Dark Lilac and Noodler’s Apache Sunset.

What I actually purchased was a Pilot Custom 74 Medium Nib in the clear orange colour, a full bottle of Apache Sunset, and a sample of BSIAR. So much for shopping lists.

Wonder Pens does not stock the soft cover Leuchtturms. They did have Life Notebooks. I had to throw away $25.00 to try them. I had never heard of them before. They deserve their own entry and will get one. Let us just say it was $25.00 well spent. The BSIAR is already gone. I eyedroppered my Ahab and it virtually just ran out the end. I concluded I had very much mistaken where to place the feed. Sob.

I explained to the salesperson that I had bought my Kaweco there but had no receipt. I wanted a new nib because I hated my Kaweco. I was sure it had baby’s bottom (actually, I had written in my journal before I set off that I suspected that it could also be a feed problem). The salesperson disappeared into the back room with my pen. Some genius back there fiddled around with it and it writes 90% better. They adjusted the feed. I have no doubt it would write 100% better if I was more patient. They urged me to write as much with it as needed but my patience is just not that great. I am pretty darn pleased with 90%. So much so that I have chosen it to be my EDC this week. That is a huge leap forward.

While I was waiting for my pen, my eye caught a holiday gift set in the display case. An orange Pilot with a bottle of Apache Sunset for a reasonable price. I knew nothing about the Custom 74. Nothing. But I have complete faith in the Pilot brand. As part of my journey to the broad side, I chose a medium nib. So far, I can’t really review the pen as I inked it with Apache Sunset as soon as I got home and that is not a good ink to test a pen with. It is just too “out there”. I am going to load it with Iroshizuku Syo-ro (Dew on Pine Tree) when I am done this post and give that a try.