What's up at Ravens March.

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Go Away.

Posted by Dirck on 26 August, 2016

Fridays here are almost always host to a film, which when I began was a conscious effort to replicate the sense of glee felt by school children (at least, those in my generation) when the day’s activities included passive absorption of moving pictures.  Well, today I realized that the terminal guidance phase of back-to-school insertion is underway, and to mark that I’m going to do something a little different.  I’m going to encourage you to leave this site, and go read some comics.

A friend recently showed me this site, and… well, it may be a small virus I appear to be nurturing, but there’s something about the combinations of words and pictures that makes me weepy at the end of just about every comic.  And because it’s the right sort of weeping, the kind that fertilizes the inward sprouts of humanity, I want to share with you.  So, off you go, have a good cry.

Today’s moistened pen: Pilot 78G
Today’s intermittenly-blotted ink: Diamine Midnight

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Posted by Dirck on 25 August, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 22 August
  • 23 August
  • 24 August
  • 25 August
  • Third draft of “Swimmer’s Build” done.
  • First draft of “A Considerable Saving of Labour”…
  • …which is bubbling along nicely….
  • …apart from Regular Job intrusion on my time.
  • A very little fixing of typos and shifts of tense… times 32 pages.
  • Seven manuscript pages.
  • Nine pages.
  • Six pages.
  • 45 min.
  • 55 min.
  • 55 min.
  • 35 min.

I’ll also mention another story acceptance, which had also somewhat affected my ability to concentrate on the day’s writing.  As with the previous, I’m going to withhold details until things are more solid (both are more of a non-Newtonian fluid, currently, but setting is underway), but having two acceptances strike within two weeks of each other is making me feel like I might actually be causing some sparks when I bang words together.  A gratifying sensation indeed.

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The End of the Growing Season

Posted by Dirck on 19 August, 2016

I believe I’ve mentioned that there is a fairly rural bent to the rhythms of my home province, which is generally a good way of remembering where food comes from, although there is a price to be paid in pick-up trucks and country music.  We hear much of crop projections (good year for wheat, you market speculators), and how well things have grown.

All of which is very, very tangential in its connection to this:

Happily, my wife is in favour of a fuzzy fella.

Today’s impeccably groomed pen: Jinhao 159
Today’s fur-free ink: Herbin Éclat de Saphir

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Posted by Dirck on 18 August, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 15 August
  • 16 August
  • 17 August
  • 18 August
  • Second draft of “Palindrome” done.
  • “Screening Process” second draft.
  • …and done.
  • Third draft of “Palindrome.”*
  • 1,074 words, not all of which stuck, for a total of 2,847.
  • 1,326 words (this one calls for less care than the previous).
  • …with a total of 1,494.
  • Adjusting the total to 2,829
  • 50 min.
  • 55 min.
  • 30 min.
  • 45 min.

*This story has forced me to care as much about word choice as poets do (or at least, should); I’m only now at the point when I dare to show it to my test-readers.  If I had any talent in that direction, it would probably be better as a poem than prose, for reasons hinted at by the title, but… well, as Harry Callahan once said, a man’s got to know his limitations.

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Self-directed

Posted by Dirck on 12 August, 2016

Given that I’m still cruising on the good news which I got yesterday (tentative, tentative, no assumptions until fruition…), the only message behind today’s bit of animate nonsense is this:  “Gosh, it’s been ages since I’ve seen that.”

A good lie down seems like a fine idea on a Friday afternoon, though, doesn’t it?

Today’s pen: Sheaffer “TM” Triumph
Today’s ink: Herbin Lie de Thé

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Posted by Dirck on 11 August, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 8 August
  • 9 August
  • 10 August
  • 11 August
  • First draft of “Palindrome” and of “Screening Process.”
  • First draft of “Screening Process” finished.
  • Second draft of “Palindrome.”
  • More second draft.
  • Two and six manuscript pages, respectively.
  • Ten pages (thumps chest, Tarzan-wise).
  • 950 words typed
  • 868 words.
  • 60 min.
  • 60 min.
  • 55 min.
  • 50 min.*

*Some of today’s writing time was devoted to enjoying a large chocolate chip cookie, my prize to myself in the wake of what I will call a tentative acceptance of one of my stories.  I phrase it thus because until the actual publication, anything may go wrong; the acceptance is phrased in definite terms, but still… I’m trying to keep excitement down to a pitch where it doesn’t blow the ears right off of my head.

When the story appears, which I’m told will be before the end of September (and in a smooth-running world, a good deal sooner), I will certainly be festooning this place with links, so all may share in my glee.

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Sensible Talk to Make you Sad

Posted by Dirck on 5 August, 2016

There’s an AWFUL lot of political chatter drifting across the border from the US.  Here’s some more (and if you can’t face it, I’ve got a new story up on my other front that you may enjoy).

Yep.  Still scared of what that election is going to produce.

Today’s pen: Parker 180
Today’s ink: Lamy Black

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Posted by Dirck on 4 August, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 2 August
  • 3 August
  • 4 August
  • First draft of the “Palindrome.”
  • …in which I am attempting to be…
  • …clever possibly beyond my powers.
  • Seven manuscript pages.
  • Eight pages.
  • Eight more.
  • 60 min.
  • 55 min.
  • 50 min.

But what of Monday?  It was a long weekend; perhaps not true where you are (I know Newfoundland was business as usual, to add to its other small woes), but such was the case here.  Pens were not idle, the e-Motion and the final dregs in the now-resting OMAS going into long-delayed correspondence, but that’s extracurricular.

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More OMAS, Maybe.

Posted by Dirck on 2 August, 2016

A quick note about an exciting development– a little while ago, I mentioned that OMAS was being shuttered.  I didn’t mention directly that it was being done in a very hostile way, and that there was little hope for the company to emerge from the flames of its destruction.

Well, we hear that there is an egg in the ashes, and that it may be a phoenix.  Over the weekend, there was a post on the FPN from the chap who gave Eversharp a bit of a shove at the end of the previous century and what looks like a more permanent reanimation a couple of years ago, revealing that he had successfully concluded a negotiation with the disgruntled Chinese owners of OMAS for whatever had not yet been irretrievably smashed.

He also noted that to run up some of the necessary capital to refloat OMAS, he’s planning the sale all the unsold finished pens now in his hands, limited editions included, at various discounts running from comfortable up to ridiculous.  Even at a ridiculous discount, my own funds don’t run to OMAS buying but if you’ve got some spare heaps of cash to devote to what is for the pen world an excellent cause, the rebirth of a long-standing pen-maker (and employer of specialized artisans) under benign management, keep an eye on omasoutlet.com; the site isn’t functional yet, but should be soon.  You may get a grail pen in the bargain, which you had thought lost forever!

Today’s pen: Sheaffer 1500 Lifetime
Today’s ink: Skrip black

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Ventriloquism!

Posted by Dirck on 29 July, 2016

That’s what it’s called when a dummy speaks, right?

I thought, in lieu of the usual Friday Film Feature, I’d recount a tale by way of making up some of the entertainment-of-visitors deficit I’ve run up on this blog.  A tale of a lost pen.

A humorous tale of a lost pen, I should say; let the smelling salts stand where they are.

I had intended to use today’s pen on Tuesday, but it was not where I expected to find it.  This was slightly distressing, because one of the few habits I have that is reliable is returning a pen to the in-battery facility; a small correspondence box with a drawer for a half-dozen pens in its base, which itself rests in a profoundly rustic Welsh dresser which came to me through my parents’ protracted move.  Since this pen doesn’t sit comfortably in the drawer, it gets to sit on top of the inks which take up the space one is meant to stick letters in the box.

I didn’t even have to open the glass doors on the top of the dresser to establish that the pen wasn’t where it should have been.  But of course, one does, and roots around.  Did it get in behind? No.  Down the side?  Nope.  And that was it for the easy possibilities.  We then start the unhappy game of I put it down somewhere foolish.

Our house is… cluttered.  My son builds railways on all horizontal surfaces.  We haven’t yet finished the integration of crap from the parents’ house with our pre-existing crap.  We have to use plastic containers full of Lego, roughly shoe-box size, to keep the insane diabetic cat off items of furniture we don’t want her to mistake for a litter box (if we’re not sitting on it, then it’s a litter box).  Setting down a pen without attending to where one sets it, even a relatively large pen, makes for problems.

So, when not attending The Regular Job and not otherwise engaged in cooking, washing, or cleaning up after the flippin’ cat, I was peering under things and into corners, all to no avail.  I was becoming resigned to the idea that the pen would not be found until the slow campaign of making the house a place for living in (insane diabetic cats already with 14 birthdays on the clock can’t last forever…) removed whatever it was hidden by.  This wasn’t a devastating blow by any means, as (i) I’ve got plenty of other pens to fall back on and (ii) this one cost less than burger at McKing&W.  I wasn’t happy, as I’d hardly had any use out of the thing since its recent arrival, but I could cope.

Coping only had to struggle on until this morning, as it turned out.  It turns out that it was in the pocket of a shirt worn on Sunday.  Not much worn* either, which is why it got hung up rather that chucked in the laundry… unlike the shirt from Saturday, which I had roused out of the hamper and given a pat down, because my search was wide-ranging if unscientific.  Hooray!

Some minutes of pointless self-castigation then followed.

There was something to learn from this incident.  Not that I have all too human failings in the areas of retention and looking after my stuff– that has, alas, been well-known for a long time.  It is the simple and happy discovery that the cap seap on this pen is very good indeed; almost a week standing point-up, but not a moment of hesitation when I opened it up to start writing this morning.  Not bad for a pen that costs the same as a ride on a city bus.

Today’s inexpensive, elusive pen: Jinhao 159
Today’s ink: Herbin Éclat de Saphir

*”Not much worn” meaning duration of contact with me since last washing.  It is, in all honesty, profoundly worn and is a “Weekend when I don’t expect to interact with others” item of clothing.

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