Saturday, January 3, 2015
So, the writing.
I wanted a fountain pen that I could use in my weekly travels to various writing groups/sessions. I've been carrying a Lemay Studio model for the last year which is lovely; but, it is a little delicate.
Once upon a time, I had a wonderful celluloid pen of great importance to me. I wore a sweater and when I removed it at work, my pen came unclipped, fell to the ground, and the cap was ruined. Tile. Pen. Not a good outcome.
Never travel with something so precious its loss would render you crushed. This pen disaster rendered me crushed. I haven't managed to send it in to the manufacturer for potential repair because I am still crushed nearly thirty years on.
Kaweco is a German pen manufacturer. Their latest in the Liliput line is a solid copper bodied pen which takes international short cartridges.
It is too small to store another replacement cartridge in the pen body so you need to have a reservoir of ink cartridges somewhere handy if you venture away from home supplies. I'll carry a six-pack of replacement inks in a backpack where I carry the full-size binders I use for full drafts.
The cap posts to the body of the pen and is actually threaded to the body when properly posted. This precision attachment allows the new extended body to be adequate for writing as seen in the top picture: pen in hand.
For reference, my hand is only slightly smaller than that of a full grown black bear. It is just as wide. Try finding a glove to fit with stubby fingers and a six-inch palm.
You can see in the pictures which follow: the pen un-posted against my customary text on 8 1/2 X 11 unlined bond; an example of the line with J. Harbin empire green ink; and finally, the posted pen against the same standard text in the earlier shot. My cell phone yellowed the picture unnaturally.
How do I like it?
Cursive is just fine. Printing (gasp) - which is how a great deal of my prose is written so that I can read it when working the second draft - represents a little bit of a challenge. The nib leaves just a tiny bit of wet ink on the stroke resumption when printing. It's a touch more than I like.
Now, I'm using the stock steel nib and I should admit that this is one of my least loved nibs of all time. The gold Kaweco? Joy. The steel? Not so much.
I'll probably change nibs in a couple of months when I make a final judgement.
Overall: fine product suitable for a several hour session of writing. We've all used bic ballpoints for writing term papers and the Kaweco is certainly much better than those plastic implements of destruction. I'd have to be a true monk-scribe to find the Kaweco too small for continuous writing. Three hour session? No worry.
I'm happy. I endorse the product. I recommend it for all my writing friends. It won't break the bank. You can drop it in the purse and be fairly certain to find it at the very bottom (it is a substantial beast in a good way).
Now, the ink.
I'm using Empire Green for my own reasons. You should not. The contrast is roughly that of pencil on paper and for a writer, that isn't good enough for all the horrible little dingy places we jot off a few lines!
Buy a decent dark ink in a water-soluble style. I like J. Harbin because I like the little silver tins in which the ink is stored. I'd say use the black as it is fine, and for the adventurous, Lie de The is a wonderful dark brown with good contrast. Both dry well enough to be practical.
I am off to write on the work in progress. I had some thoughts today on the evolution of the protagonist in my mind and have found the missing bits I needed. Now, to apply them to the page.
It's great when a character finally materializes in your mind. I start with what I think is the protagonist but it can take a hundred pages or more of the first draft for the "fix" to be applied. I have that now.
I hope the "fix" comes to you. Try a new pen. They're delicious. They're fun even when the writing is a slog - and that's when we need the help the most, no?
Use a decent ink. Get ride of that damn pencil. You're a writer, dammit!
Yes I know all about Hemingway. You're not Hemingway. Neither am I.
Use a pen!