Fountainly yours …

There will be a lot about fountain pens, inks and paper here. It won’t be your regular fountain pen-/ink blog. No elaborate reviews, no ink swabs. Most likely it will just be my thoughts and reflections on going back to analogue life for a bit … handwriting, lefthandedness and stationery.

It might seem like a contradiction — an online blog about handwriting and analogue life. It’s fun to see how well these subjects can be combined online. It’s likewise fun to write about something you really love.

The pen in the picture is my Pelikan Tradition M215. It «grew up» recently and is now sporting an M400 nib.

from Virginia … and around the world

dsc_0881September 4, I ordered a few, little notebooks from my favourite store in Virginia, US. They shipped the same day with USPS [United States Postal Service]. Some time went by, and I began to think it was taking unusually long for them to get here. Did the tracking thing in USPS, they’d been picked up in Virginia … I could follow them to Jamaica, N.Y. but there it stopped. Nothing more happened. Went on to track them in Canada Post, but there was no sign of them.

After some time, I contacted Goulet [the store in Virginia], and they asked me to wait a while longer … it had happened before, that international orders had taken up to eight weeks. So I waited, but after a couple of weeks, I checked again in Canada Post. There, all of a sudden, things had happened. It said the package was being forwarded from AUSSYD. At first, it just looked like a bunch of random letters to me, but then it struck me: It was Sydney, Australia! LOL

But now they were on their way to Canada! I don’t remember when that was, but today I found out they’d checked in in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada! That’s at the other end of this vast continent, but now they’ll be here in a few days. What a journey my little books have been on!

pilot_metropolitanThe top picture, I took today with the Nikon camera — it’s the nib of a Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen. Earlier today, I took the same nib with the iPhone (picture is clickable for better viewing). I don’t know how to judge quality of photos. One would think the one taken with the “real” camera should be ‘better’ quality, but I don’t know … I think the iPhone photo is pretty sharp and clear too?! (I’m not talking about composition or stuff like  that.)

 

clairefontaine

For some time I was really into Midori [Traveller’s notebook]. There’s like a whole ‘movement’ around them. People make  them themselves and call them ‘fauxdori’, they make their own inserts and all kinds of stuff. I’m not into crafts or art –I didn’t feel at home in that world at all. Besides … I could at the most have used it with three, thin notebooks in it.

After I’d discovered Clairefontaine paper, the Midori didn’t hold the same ‘allure’ to me. Also, I’d found a small, online stationery shop here in Canada, and they actually carried more different Clairefontaine books than I could find in Amazon.

I write Morning Pages. This means three full pages every morning … so you fill up a lot of notebooks. I don’t do A4, but rather A5 so it isn’t as ‘bad’ as it may sound🙂

I’d given up on Midori (I had the passport format), but still wanted a good quality, leather cover for my smaller notebooks. After a great amount of online searching I found an excellent manufacturer out in British Columbia, Canada. I couldn’t go for any American supplier because that means you have to pay lots in duties.

dsc_0793Took my chances that the cover I’d ordered would fit the smaller Clairefontaine book. Originally it was made for FieldNotes, and that’s not my preferred brand. It arrived quicker than I’d expected and it fits beautifully. Wonderful quality leather — it’s one of the best purchases I’ve made! It can hold two notebooks, actually, without problems.

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stationery

Where I live, there’s no stationery- or pen store at all. The nearest one would be three hours’ drive from here.

After my misfortune with Moleskine, I guess I started browsing for notebooks online. Somewhere, somehow, I came across the brand name Clairefontaine and noticed it kept occurring quite often. I searched in Amazon for that name, and sent for one book. It came here all the way from Japan.

When I opened it, and just touched the paper — hadn’t even started to write — I was in awe! I wasn’t aware of paper like this even existed!

Once I started writing on it, I was hooked forever … both on Clairefontaine and fountain pens. It was such a different experience and delight! Now I was stuck in the world of fountain pens forever.

Since I’d bought my pen in Staples and they had a very limited selection of fountain pens, I realised my choice had been … hasty. My pen felt too slim and delicate … it felt like holding a spaghetti, and the grip was slippery.
img_3341Now that I’d come to discover Amazon too — that used to be just a place to buy books for me — I started to look into other [Cross] pens. I was still stuck on that brand. I realised this was my new “hobby” or interest in life, so I thought “why not go for a more high-end one?!” The one I had was one of their cheapest in the line-up. Went for a beautiful Century II black beauty. Apparently, these were the only photo I took of it.

At first, it was heavenly to write with and I loved it. I think I still miss it a little … I feel a little tug on my heart strings when I think of it. After a couple of days, it started skipping up-strokes. Eventually it exacerbated to the pen not writing at all! I performed all the usual things you’re told to do, but the problem kept coming back. I still don’t know whether I got a dud, but I returned it and got refunded. snif

As you can see in this picture, I’d already gone down the rabbit hole of Midori notebooks when this picture was taken🙂 I didn’t stay in that hole too long though …

First of May [122/365]

Only two days ago, I mentioned heirloom tomatoes in my blog post, and yesterday they showed up in the grocery store. They were very few, and there wasn’t even a price tag. I bought two, and they taste like sunshine, as Joss so poetically said in FB 🙂.

This is not another tomato post, though … just wanted to share this little piece of information, as I was happy to find them.

In all my practicing now, with the fountain pen, and reading online about handwriting, I’ve been thinking about my childhood. When I was young … let’s say up until thirteen or so, writing and stationery … that was what I loved in life. My favourite store in town was the stationery store. How I wish there was still a store like that! It was small, warm … dark wood panel on the walls — I can still smell it, in my imagination. The owner was kind, and always allowed me to take my time and browse. I had lots of pen pals, so I frequently bought stationery. Some were perhaps a little childish, with flowers and little hearts … others were just cream coloured linen. I liked to just touch that type of thick paper, and to write on it, and for some reason that colour was my favourite. Bought oodles of nice notebooks there too, and used them for journals. Some of them might actually still be around — packed away in some box.

The thing was, I always felt I was alone about this passion of mine. As none of my friends was into it, I was the only one … I didn’t know too many people back then. The reason this came to mind was a link that took me to Pinterest. That, in turn, showed a whole treasure trove of people who are interested in both handwriting, fountain pens, stationery and notebooks! There were thousands of them, posting cool stuff. Imagine if The Web had been around in my youth — my mother’s finances would have been ruined 🙂.

Now, I won’t be going on about this again and again in my blog here, just because I’ve reclaimed my interest for handwriting. I’ll stick to my “n0-niche-theme”, instead of posting silly samples of my progress. I see enough of that stuff, when people have taken on a new hobby. I’m just so happy to have found out I’m able to write with a fountain pen.

st_petriToday is obviously 1st of May. In Sweden, that’s a holiday, and my mum and I always went out for dinner … “smörgåsbord”, which is the Swedish word for a big, huge buffet, with traditional food . You can eat yourself silly for a quite reasonably amount of money. Often the weather had gotten warmer, I could put on spring clothes — quite often, also something new! It’s nice to reminisce the good times 🙂. The picture shows the restaurant, where we always went. I took it when I was home back in 2011, so it’s an autumn picture. This beautiful, old building, is located next to the Cathedral, and owned by some kind of society … similar to Freemasons or Rotary. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photo of the interior — it’s absolutely magnificent.

Happy May to you all, out there, in the blogosphere! 🌷

 

 

 

 

Letters and stationery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA friend and I have, just for fun, taken up the old habit of writing letters to each other. Real letters … with a pen … on paper! How about that! 🙂

It’s a lot fun, actually! Sitting down, with a nice stationery that I’ve chosen, trying to get some decent handwriting back … The last part is the hardest — I think all these years of ‘no writing’ has caused atrophy in my left hand or something. Speaking of which; yesterday was International Left-handers Day LOL

Picking up a real letter, without plastic window on it, to myself in the mailbox feels special. Takes me back to younger years. Would kids nowadays know what stationery is? Twenty, thirty years ago, there used to be a huge selection of them, and there were even speciality stores for them. It was almost like choosing a theme for WordPress 😀

We’ve been at it for a couple of months, so I’ve written a few letters now. One thing that struck me at an early stage of this ‘experiment’: I have no «Sent folder»! I can’t go back and see what I wrote!

email

My email account is the hub of all my activities on the web. I don’t see email going away any time soon, even though I had the impression during my trip to Sweden, that texting on the cellphone seems to have taken over for some.  About two years ago, Google [of all companies] came up with something called Google Wave. They made a huge deal of it; stated that it would be «the email killer», nobody really knew what it was all about because it was ‘invitation only’ and very few had seen it. I got one, and was excited for about an hour, until I started to ask myself what I would use it for. Besides … «email killer?!?!» … I needed an email address to use it in the first place. It didn’t last long … not one year, if my memory serves me right. They have sunset it now, just as they will do with Google Buzz, by the way. Using ‘sunset’ as a verb was a first for me, when I read it.

So … email in all its glory … will probably hang around for a long time. It’s good, it’s free, it isn’t intrusive … you write, read and reply when you feel like it.

One thing about email that I’ve sometimes thought about though — it’s so damned easy to hit the SEND-button prematurely. How often haven’t one wished that you could take it back and edit or even erase the whole thing?! In the old times, we brought out our stationery to write a letter — I loved my cream colored, thick stationery with my name embossed. We read and re-read before closing the envelope. Most of the times I do it now too, with email, but there have been times when I wished I could take it back. One thing that I really think one should avoid is to write emails when you’re emotionally affected. If that urge ever comes over you, just take a deep breath and wait until the following day.

These were just a few reflections on something that we use most every day, and there are now 21 days left of this year.