What's up at Ravens March.

Vintage pens-Handmade books-Silly statements

Slightly Steamed Up

Posted by ravensmarch on 24 April, 2015

Before I get to the fun part of today’s entry, an honest question to the passers-by who drop in a gander:  In the past week, the mechanisms that tell me from where and how often people come to look at my site tell me that I’ve had something like two dozen visits from Facebook.  A curiousity-induced click on the link back gives me nothing more than Facebook’s access point, unless I’m logged in, which produces my own front door at that lodging.

The question is, I suppose… have people been saying things about me?  I’m not a real social-media-animal, having grown up before the collapse of privacy, and while I’m not too worried about what is being said (being, as are all of you, a blameless paragon of probity and uprightness), there is something uneasy about hearing one’s name being whispered in a vast crowd.  One rather wants to know what’s up.

Now, on to today’s short film, which is somewhat thematic with my current feeling of being an excluded outsider:

I always have to work to not pronounce it “shuggoth“, of course.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Agio
Today’s ink: Herbin Bleu Pervenche

Posted in General Blather | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by ravensmarch on 23 April, 2015

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 20 April
  • 21 April
  • 22 April
  • Choose Your Own ect.
  • Six manuscript pages.
  • The same.
  • Seven pages (!).
  • Five pages.
  • 40 min.
  • Also the same.
  • …in only 40 min.!
  • 35 min.

I’m not sure whether to be proud of having managed that last session or cranky that it was so truncated.  I should be happy it wasn’t zero, I guess, given a fairly fraught week.  Heck, look how late I am posting this!

Posted in Progress Report | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Propaganda Pictures

Posted by ravensmarch on 17 April, 2015

Another interesting little look at the past today; a film to help Sheaffer’s pen salesmen cope with the problems they’re facing in 1943.  If you’re not particularly interested in the war materiel excuse for having almost not pens to sell, skip about ten minutes in.  The whole thing supports something I mentioned some time ago about the reason decent fountain pens are (relatively) expensive.  You may find yourself, at the end of it, anxious to get your hands on a Sheaffer …for some reason.

And remember– in an airplane, a pen should always be opened in an upright position.  Words to live by.

Today’s pen: Faber-Castell e-motion
Today’s ink: Montblanc Royal Blue

PS– I wonder what the trademark owners of today’s ink would think of the policies Sheaffer pursued regarding their franchisees?  Mad liberal frivolity, no doubt.

Posted in General Blather | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by ravensmarch on 16 April, 2015

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 13 April
  • 14 April
  • 15 April
  • 16 April
  • Choose Your Own ect.
  • Five manuscript pages.
  • Ten pages.
  • Six pages
  • Four pages and loads of Google-y location research
  • 30 min.
  • 55 min.
  • 40 min.
  • 45 min.

Posted in Progress Report | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Balancing Act

Posted by ravensmarch on 13 April, 2015

A quick note, because I haven’t looked in properly lately but I’m also getting anxious to be on to the next thing and would like to attack the current project some more today.

That next thing will be, or should be despite the cries of ideas waiting to get some paper under them,  applying commentary received via my membership in Critters.org, a site which offers a chance at being both giver and getter of critical comment on precious gems of deathless prose, without having to pay any sort of money for the privilege/curse.   The only requirement is that you actually do some critiques and that you not be pointedly hurtful while about it– “diplomacy” is the word the site uses.

On the giving front, it’s interesting to see others’ embryonic and even nigh-full-term fetal writing projects, as one reels from feeling utterly inadequate in the face of authentic shining talent to an almost insupportable smugness about one’s own powers.  As in most things, finding the middle path is probably the best policy.

Due to the pacing of the process, I’ve only had two stories looked at so far, and as such have only had one to which slightly hurtful things have been said which I might dismiss (somewhat) as a revenge from my own honest opinions (which I might have couched better).  There is a similar wallowing between extremes, though, as we find the surprising intelligence that not all people respond the same way to a given stimulus.  Let me share a few samples of what the first story brought in:

Smiles, dancing Prostration, weeping
  • “This one gave me cold shivers.”
  • “I thought the opening was really strong and
  • “…the story doesn’t have much of a hook….”
  • “I’m afraid the larger point eluded me….”

Easy to say of the right-hand column, “Those people are idiots and I shall ignore everything they said.”  Right?  Well… except for the fact that some of the more specific problems they had were also visible amid the heaps of praise from the clearly brilliant and perfectly insightful people.  And the unkindly-described idiots were frequently quite articulate about where the problem lay.  Usefully articulate.

The balancing act is, as ever, internal.  Don’t let pride up-end the table, or block the light, or whatever the best metaphor is.  Apply yourself to the condemnation as well as the praise.  Listen instead of yelling back.  Remember that precious gems of deathless prose need a certain amount of cutting if they’re to shine.

This writing stuff is actual work.  Who knew?

Today’s pen: Faber-Castell e-motion
Today’s ink: Montblanc Royal Blue

Posted in General Blather | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Stark Raving Russian

Posted by ravensmarch on 10 April, 2015

Today’s film drifted past me in the course of the week, and I can’t think of anything better to celebrate the apparent return of authentic spring than with a mad short about something driven by a spring?  Also, if you’re anything like me (and who, given the choice, would be?), you have zero clue where to get LSD and no money to spend on it anyway, so this counts as a next-best selection.

There you go.  Horizons expanded.  Now we can all wait for the terrifying flashbacks.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Stylist
Today’s ink: Herbin Bleu Pervenche (the nice weather has made me run riot)

Posted in General Blather | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by ravensmarch on 9 April, 2015

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 6 April
  • 7 April
  • 8 April
  • 9 April
  • Choose Your Own ect.
  • Six manuscript pages.
  • Seven pages.
  • Eight pages.
  • Seven pages.
  • 30 min.
  • 35 min.
  • 45 min.
  • 40 min

I had to make up for last week, right?

Posted in Progress Report | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Messiah Complex

Posted by ravensmarch on 2 April, 2015

But first, because it’s Thursday:

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 31 March
  • 1 April
  • A cancellation at the dentist
  • Choose Your Own seemingly endless project….
  • Just a cleaning.
  • Seven manuscript pages.
  • All afternoon.
  • 40 min.

Not much accomplished this week, and if my idea of this current project as a litmus test of my readiness to engage upon a proper novel has any merit, I’d do well to leave the novel aside a little longer. This is a little too much committment to a single concept for me, and it’s really just a heap of closely-connected short stories.

But enough of that. Because tomorrow is a holiday, I’m treating today as Thursday and Friday.  If I were more of a theologian, I could probably work it into a trinity, but I know my limits.  The trinity notion is an outcome, of course, of the sort of holiday we’re enjoying tomorrow, although in our house it’s more about pagan rabbits flinging sugar about than it is about non-terrifying returns from the dead.  I’m not unmindful of the religious affiliation of the day, though, and I thought for a change in my usual programme here I’d offer as the Friday Film From Fomewhere (fic sic)  a review of one of my favourite films about the resurrection of an ill-treated saviour.  Plus the unnecessary and profoundly mishandled recent remake.

I understand Keanu is, as a person, genuinely nice.  It may be why he keeps getting roles.

Today’s pen: Pelikan (in hoc) Signum (vinces, and yes the declension is a mess)

Today’s ink: Noodler’s (brown like chocolate) Walnut

Posted in General Blather, Progress Report | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Odd Criteria

Posted by ravensmarch on 30 March, 2015

You who look in here with some regularity will remember that a while ago I was mulling how to dispose of a gift certificate I got last Christmas, and somewhat more recently there was an allusive mention of that mulling having reached its end.   Just to remind you, here’s the sort of thing I was decided to not get one of:

Ick!  Arg!  Hideous!

Ick! Arg! Hideous!

This will probably lead to some head-scratching when I show you a picture of that which I have ended up with… which I will do now:

Ooh! Ah! Bee-YOU-tee-ful!

The ideal* reader is at this point is saying either, “But… it’s… the same,” or, “What possessed you to…?”  I won’t simply hide behind the notion of human inconsistency, although you might want to look at it as the cleared ground around the actual defenses of my action.

I will point out that apart from the current entry’s efforts at comedy, I didn’t decline that wooden e-motion (by the way, what is with Faber-Castell’s model-naming practices, anyway?) because it didn’t appeal visually, but rather because I fully expected my own clumsiness to mar it with a dollop of ineradicable ink on the grain.  The resin version is not susceptible to that sort of disfigurement, which means I will have to try harder.  I did say it was a little outside my personal style, and that does get us back into the realm of inconsistency, but it’s within what I believe my tolerances are in that direction.  It is a nice pen to write with, in my subjective and tolerant opinion, trained as I am to enjoy pens of diverse sizes and shapes, and the point is hard to fault… although I will touch on it once more before we finish today.

There is also the inner keep of this supposed ring of defenses I have, over whose thick door and imposing portcullis is chiseled the important motto, “Just ‘Cuz.”  I had, on the day I was looking through catalogues, all but dismissed the e-motion before I saw this particular finish.  One I saw it, I found it had taken on a siren aspect, and in the end I was lured to the shore.  This “parquet” motif, which one might also call “basketweave,” reminded me of something of which I am extremely fond.  I mentioned on Friday last that I’m a recovered Star Wars fan, remember.  I will also own to being an inactive and low-key Browncoat, with a good eye for backgrounds:


Where did they put cargo on the Millenium Falcon, anyway?


Now, one last element of foolishness to end the day on– the pen I am even now carrying I ordered with a bold point.  “Bold?” said the nice man at Paper Umbrella?  Yes, indeed, said I, because it gives me the material needed to convert the point into a stub, rendering the writing more dashing and the pen more interesting.

However, I was not thinking of how very nicely finished Faber-Castell points are.  The urge to reshape has started to feel like an inclination to vandalism….

Today’s seed of foolishness: Faber-Castell e-motion
Today’s ink: Montblanc Royal Blue


*”5.  something that exists only in the imagination.”  It’s a pretty archaic use of the word, and thus just about the last noun definition Dictionary.com offers for it.

Posted in General Blather | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Force Majeure

Posted by ravensmarch on 27 March, 2015

A confession, which doesn’t reveal much inky blackness of my past:  I was a serious Star Wars freak when I was a kid.  I was at just the right age when the first film came out, and already inclined to the genre.  I use the past tense because I’m also one of those accuse George Lucas of taking our childhood memories by surprise and beating them into unrecognizability with his egregious “first” trilogy; I still like Star Wars, but the passion has cooled substantially.

Today’s film brings on another, slightly darker confession; I kind of liked the Empire.  I think it’s just because their kit looks cooler, because I certainly didn’t want them to win.  In fact, once I started looking into history properly, this early fondness helped me to formulate a baseless correlation between how good a uniform looks and the underlying wickedness of the regime it served (the Waffen SS had really  good looking outfits…).  Having James Earl Jones and Peter Cushing on side helped a lot, too.

All of which is by way of explanation of the presence of today’s film.  I’m letting the me of 1977 have control of the board for a few minutes.

What this needs for perfection is some voice acting provided by too few people, based on a script that’s more concerned with justifying mouth-movement than the action surrounding it.

Today’s correct-to-period pen: Parker 180
Today’s sort-of-thematic ink, if you translate the name: Herbin Pousièrre de Lune

Posted in General Blather | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 173 other followers