This is a slightly scattered entry, as the title suggests. It has, one might say, tendrils in past, present and future.
Let’s start with something in the present progressive tense: I am reading. Those who paid attention to the little thing about books in the right sidebar may have noticed that there’s a rather slow turn-over. Borges, in fact, I leave on the list only as a means of prodding myself; I need to find a good lump of time to give his work the attention it deserves, and until that comes to me, the book sits quietly on the shelf looking at me with slightly menacing good humour. Leaving that one out, though, I have been rather low-key on my reading in the past year, with Good Reads revealing that I only sank a dozen books.
I suspect under-reporting on my part.
Still, for someone who likes reading, and who accepts that reading is a necessary fuel, prop and pre-condition to writing, that’s not so good. The internet has come to the rescue on this. Here’s the plot for this year, as thrown in my face by Facebook:
Ambitious, eh? I’m going to have to do some research on the matter of other writers with the same initials, and thanks to the fruits as yet unsampled of Christmas I now have some good candidates for things I own but have not read. I also intend to cheat now and again, using one book to satisfy several points occasionally, because I’m well aware that being resolved to read makes no more hours appear in any day. Cheating aside though, I’m pleased at the prospect of increasing my text intake this year. I’ll bring in the present perfect tense, although its effect runs back some decades: I have chosen to read.
This brings us to the plain present tense. I have a gift certificate. I am, in fact, extremely tense about this, for the most contrary of reasons. Point of tension number one is the amount of it. After a late November declaration starting with my parents and taken up on all fronts that there’s not a lot of money in the family’s collective economy for fripperies, it seems that my wife and I were the only ones to stick to the policy. Part of the unexpected and sadly imbalanced bounty was this certificate, taken out at the only store in town worth looking at for a pen, and with a ridiculous figure written on it. Its an embarrassment of riches.
This is also, looked at in a different light, the second point of tension. The store carries Lamy. The only Lamy I’m currently interested in, the Dialog 3, is also their most expensive in regular trims. As large as the gift is, it doesn’t cover that pen, nor even put me within sensible reach of it. What else do they have? Let me slightly infringe on copyright to show you…
Click to go to the company’s site. See? It’s not copyright issues, it’s free advertising!
There is this Faber-Castell e-motion (this company, who also make the LOOM, need to ponder their capitals a little). It’s visually interesting… but I cringe at the staining prospects of that wooden barrel. It’s stylish… but it’s not really in the style that I pursue. One hears nothing but praise in reviews for Faber-Castell’s pens, even if it is sometimes a little faint, and I know that they’re extremely willing to be put right in case of disaster… but I don’t want to spend a packet on a pen I’m not really in love with, and those previous ellipses indicate that however polyamorous I am in the pen department, I might regret this addition to the harem.
Same deal. Free publicity!
Also in stock is this Monterverde Regatta. It has, in different tones than the Faber-Castell, the same list of virues, with the possible exception of quite so much crying up by reviewers; I say possible because the name of the pen is less instantly familiar to me than than the other. It goes so far as to replace the worry about barrel staining with a very intreguing and quite positive magnetic cap-holding system, something I don’t have in any of my current pens and which I admit to admiring. However, the hesitations appear here, too. I’m not caught up in the current fascination with visible carbon fibre (I might change my tune if someone would get around to building that space elevator).
Not this time; picture copyright ME! 2015 (although I don’t mind it being used under Creative Commons Attribution).
There’s also the colour scheme. Thanks to a client, I got to spend some time last weekend with a Sailor Professional Gear Imperial Black. As with the Regatta, it has the full stealth trim, and while I think I would have liked it a lot in about 1985, my tastes have changed. It’s just a little too much dark for me. This doesn’t even get into concerns about the effect of wear on the finish. The body might end up looking rather neat as bits of brass appear through the black, but the point is apt to just look squalid. That the finish may wear off the point over time I take as almost certain, given the masking on many of my pens from the 1930s through ’50s. Even the rhodium on today’s pen is letting a little yellow show at the edges, and I baby this thing.
The final point of tension is one of scheduling; the chap at the store more familiar with their suppliers’ catalogues and the ordering there-from keeps not being in the store when I look in. For some reason, he took time off from a retail enterprise in the wake of Christmas! Can you fathom it? This means that the conversion of the certificate into whatever pen I finally settle on (which I hope will not be as protracted an affair as some authors make of it) keeps getting put off– the store carries, but doesn’t currently have in stock, items by Visconti and Diplomat, and with four manufactures to look at, something should appeal to my jaded palate. This at least should resolve soon; I’m told he’ll almost certainly be in on the day I’m planning to next visit.
Oh, while we’re on the subject of choices in various tenses, I think I’ll make one more choice public in a couple of tenses. I was not able to finish Atlas Shrugged on my last attempt upon it (page 99 and I flung it down, based entirely on the writing as the philosophy had yet to manifest), and despite it filling the final tick on that chart, I choose to leave it to one side, and I will henceforth avoid it. I shall persist in not reading it. I hope to have it said at some distant future date that I went my whole life not having read it.
Today’s pen: Waterman Carène
Today’s ink: Iroshizuku Shinryoku