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Posts Tagged ‘Montblanc’

Posted by Dirck on 15 June, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 21 manuscript pages.

No profound thoughts this week; I do find myself having to tamp down impatience to be bloody well done this first draft, and not just because I’d like to get onto the back-up-able phase and silence worries about fire, flood and nesting rodents.  The calendar pages are flying off the wall!  Other stories want writing!

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Posted by Dirck on 8 June, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 26 manuscript pages.

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Unfashionable Political Views

Posted by Dirck on 5 June, 2017

A funny thing happened here over the weekend, and of course, “funny” can be variously interpreted.

…as in “unusual or uncommon”:  I got about thirty times the usual amount of traffic.  The behind-the-scenes stats reveal that this is a result of sudden notice being taken by people considering fountain pens on Reddit.  More to the point, people were looking at an old entry in which I write in a fairly loose manner about my Soyuz accordion-filler, and coincidentally about western perceptions of the way things got made in the old Soviet economy.  We can put this down to a freak spasm of the internet, of course; the all-seeing eye of humanity’s collective online presence passing over something of mine in such a way that I actually noticed it.  Apart from the strange up-tick of status, no big deal in the grand scheme, although there is an odd inward twinge of pride mingled with performance anxiety.

…as in “amusing”:  Because my stats let me look at the Reddit entry… well, I looked.  And then I had a giggle.  At least one of the commenters there urges me to get over the fact that there isn’t a Soviet Union anymore, I guess because I express doubts about capitalism being substantially better than Marxist Leninism.  The giggling is that someone would think I was pining for the good ol’ days of the Cold War based on the fact that I’m not convinced that capitalism is super-awesome (on the basis of income inequality, environmental degradation, and that even the IMF isn’t enchanted with all aspects of current fiscal thinking), or even, good heavens, that I was pining for a chance to join the fellowship of the long queues for black bread and dodgy vodka.

Seriously, no thanks.  In as much as my memory stretches back that far, I also remember the sort of literally life-or-death risks people would take to get out of the Soviet Union and its satellite states.  I may not be a capitalism cheer-leader, but if what called itself communism in the USSR is the alternative, I’ll definitely stick with what I’ve got.

For the record, I think we’re in the throes of some kind of socio-economic paradigm shift brought on by corporate capitalism’s inclination towards cannibalism; I’m not much happier about that than I am with the current state of play, because paradigm shifts tend towards discomfort.  I’m also in no position to suggest what that shift is towards, since they’re inherently opaque from one side, and I just hope that when it settles it’s something a little more humane than what we’ve got currently.  If I were to express a hope, it would be utterly Utopian, something like Scandinavian socialism writ large with some of the more benign aspects of the Federation of Planets thrown in… but that’s wishful thinking.

And, no doubt, I will offer some amusement for someone else, now that I’ve written all that down.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Stylist (a company that practiced (GASP!) profit sharing with the employees!)
Today’s ink: Montblanc Royal Blue (giving away my paradoxical inclination towards monarchy as a foundation of government!)

PS: I also have a notion that the failure of my humour to transmit properly might be down to a shift in the terrain.  In 2012, when that entry was written, post-Soviet Russia wasn’t an entity we were taking anything like as seriously as we’re taking it in 2017.

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Public Acknowledgements

Posted by Dirck on 8 March, 2017

I have mentioned time and again that this pile of words was born out of a need to distract myself from the perils of eBay.  Since I began it, all those years ago, that need has slipped under the waves– I have found other and more useful distractions in the shape of fiction writing, and have become increasingly alarmed at the ratio of income to demands for payment in my household.  Sometimes, however, a peek into the den of temptation is required, and therein lies today’s story.

In December, I was contacted by a fellow that needed some point-work done on a Parker 75 and a Montblanc 149.  The former has some resistance to dismantling in its fabric, but I know its ways and can overcome it.  The latter, though… to get that apart needs special tools.  However, as coincidence would have it, I had just been reading on the forums about a place for those of us not anointed with the white bird splat of approval to get functional tools.  Where?  An eBay storefront belonging to someone with machining skills.

Here was the impetus as well as the opportunity to order the tool, or rather tools, because they vary with era, and a wrench capable of drawing out the piston mechanism as well.  So I said yes to the fellow with the pens and placed the order on eBay.

…and as of yesterday, I was thinking that I would have to send an apology to the pen-owner for my inability to deal with his pen, as the tools were clearly never going to appear.  “I will,” the inner voice said, “hold off until Friday to send this note.”  Patience and timidity combine, then, to make way for joy– the package with the tools in it arrived today.  It is postmarked for December, so it was definitely sent briskly; apparently this global shipping crisis is affecting the mails as well.  Or, possibly, Canada Customs are giving a parcel of mysteriously-shaped bits of metal a long hard think before passing it through.

The joy is tinted, though, because the window for providing eBay feedback is closed.  So, let me share with you the note I dashed off to the vendor:

I mean it, too, and am making good here on the promise.  They’re as professional a set of tools as you could hope to find, and I’m delirious with glee at the prospect of unsanctioned rummaging in the guts of Montblanc pens.

While I’m at this, I think I should also do my small part to boost the Google results of Custom Pen Parts, since I’m very nearly as happy with the small purchase I recently made from them– my Pelikan 140 is back in circulation thanks to a part they provided, and their PFM fore-seals are really hard to tell from the factory originals.  I don’t doubt the rest of their catalogue is as satisfactory.  I mentioned this a little while ago, but I don’t think I mentioned it vigorously enough.

Are these, a cynic will wonder, paid endorsements?  Not at all.  Any money connected to this contented burbling has moved away from me; I feel I’m repaid in quality goods, but the fact that I’m saying it out loud is perfectly non-commercial.  I’m not uninterested, but I am the dictionary definition of disinterested… except to the extent that it serves my own interests to see their enterprises flourish.  Quality tools and parts for elderly pens?  YES, PLEASE!

Today’s elderly pen: Sheaffer Imperial Triumph
Today’s quality modern insert: 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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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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Posted by Dirck on 28 July, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 25 July
  • 26 July
  • 27 July
  • 28 July
  • Second draft of the “Swimmer’s Build.”
  • Second draft concludes, just shy of blotting out the sun with its dimensions.
  • Second draft of “Final Girl.”
  • …which is much shorter.
  • 610 words typed, and the end is at last in sight!
  • 715 words, for a total of 9,983 (sorry, feedback readers!).
  • 881 words.
  • 907 words (at least 60% done).
  • 50 min.
  • 60 min.
  • 50 min.
  • 55 min.

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Would You? Could You?

Posted by Dirck on 20 July, 2016

Not too long ago, I was working on a Montblanc 149, the burly gargantua of that company’s expensive output.  It actually hung around my place for about a month, because paradoxically it took longer to arrange an in-person handing-over to a local client than it would have to pop it in the mail.  I’ll digress for a quick explanation– it was her grandfather’s (an early ’60s version, if I’m understanding the signs correctly) and she was on a fence about whether it was worth the cost of getting it running again, because sending it off the the company’s quite able repair service costs rather a lot.  Getting me to free a stuck piston?  Less so, although since I lack the tool to dismount the point, the piston could still do with lubrication.

In any event, I was able to do a little semi-illicit writing with what is for many a Grail Pen, the summum bonum of pen collection aspiration.  I learned two things from the experience.  First: I have no problem whatever writing with an oblique stub.  The slight angle of the tipping hardly called for any amendment of my usual approach to a piece of paper.  Good to know.

Second, and even more important: had I the resources to lay my hands on a Montblanc 149, I would devote them elsewhere.  This is not (just) because I incline to agreement with the position that the pen is unjustified in its expense– indeed, “if I had…” dismisses that head entirely, since it implies all other material needs and wants are dealt with.  It is a nice pen, pleasing to look upon, impressive of dimension… and that’s where it falls down for me.

It’s too damn big.

The raw diameter of the section is such that I never felt comfortable in my grip.  Perhaps, over months of devoted practice, I would lose that sensation of not having closed my fingers sufficiently around it; it is said, after all, that a wider item is easier on the joints than a slender.  However, I’ve got plenty of moderately-sized pen at my command right now.  Those months of dedicated practice would be to gain an end I already have plenty of means to realize– physical enjoyment of the task of writing.  I’m already there, so why make the journey?

In light of this realization, I open the door of speculation.  If not the Montblanc, what of other modern Brobdingnagian pens?  Interestingly, my dear OMAS Arte Italiana is almost as wide, but apparently the tiny fraction of difference is sufficient that I don’t get the same almost-cramp from using it.  It is thus not impossible for me, having unearthed a hoard of pirate dubloons (very sneaky pirates of the 17th century would travel 2,500 km inland to hide their chests), to go out and buy huge pens meant to impress.  But… as much as I like my Pelikan M600, I don’t know that I’d bother taking two giant steps up the Souverän ladder to the M1000.  Pockets are only so big.

One final item to ponder before I wrap up for today.  Almost the moment I had formed my opinion about the Montblanc, I when and bought a Jinhao 159.  Eventually a quiet moment will beckon, and I’ll have time to add this pen and its maker to my site, but for the moment let me sum up what would appear on a model profile for the 159: it’s a loving reproduction of the Montblanc 149, but for a different clip and a missing ink window… oh, and it’s a lot heavier.  I apparently haven’t got my powers of insight turned up quite far enough to sort out why I would do this to myself.  Even if the Jinhao cost a grand total of $3.00, shipping included, and is thus well within my means… well, see above and it’s heavier, which is never an inducement to me.

Until something better appears, I’ll cling to the ring-buoy explanation of satisfying curiosity regarding build quality.  For $3.00, it’s a pretty good pen….

Today’s not at all widebodied pen: Parker 180
Today’s ink: Lamy Black (gotta get through those cartridges!)

 

 

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The Imbecile Confession

Posted by Dirck on 10 March, 2016

But let’s start with a strangely-configured progress report:

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 7 March
  • 8 March
  • 9 March
  • 10 March
  • Attending to the uncreative aspects…
  • …of creative writing.
  • As above, plus first draft of “Human Endurance”
  • Second draft of “Human Endurance”
 

  • See explanation below
  • Total of 641 words.
  • Two…
  • …solid days of it.
  • 45 min…  of writing.
  • 35 min.

So, what’s all that about, then?  Well, it all started last Sunday, when I went to a writing workshop under the direction of a Hugo-winning Canadian author.  The workshop had nothing at all to do with how to find a market for what one wrote; it was all about how to lay a solid foundation for a novel, based on notions the fellow had developed in the course of writing a lot of SF, but which apply to most genres as well.  Jolly useful information, too, but what developed out of it was what I can only think of as blindness resulting from a curse or a brain lesion fell away.  On Monday, I found I was able to uncover all sorts of paying markets for the sort of stuff that I write.

Had I looked previously?  Indeed so.  Not only that, but I had looked in basically the very same places I investigated on Monday on those previous attempts.  Having made this startling… I will say “discovery” because it was new to me, even though already well inhabited and supporting thriving cultures, I decided to get properly serious about making some submissions to places that offer money for stories.

Money for stories.  Fancy that!  Exactly what I have been trying to discover the alchemical principles for!

There is a substantial element of regret in this discovery, as over on the fiction site I have been rendering some of what I think of as pretty good stories unappealing, because most markets want stuff that hasn’t appeared anywhere previously.  I knew I was doing this, too, but in my earlier innocence, I saw no real alternatives by way of becoming known at all as a writer of fictions.  Had the blindness lifted six months earlier, I would have a lot more shot in my locker.

The way in which I intend to address this startling discovery of the obvious is probably self-destructive too, although hopefully only in the short term.  I’m going to carry on here much as I have done, intermittently becoming the sort of specialized interesting I once was while mainly just letting the world know that I’m plugging away and still rotating my pens.  Over there, I’m going to stop being quite so profligate with my new material, which is where the self-destructive comes in– little flash fictions, such as that one I did up today, will appear in what I intend to be a pretty regular way (long intervals, though) while longer stories will get driven around the markets in search of a paying audience.  Once they have found a paying audience, and served their time of exclusivity, I will then post them on the fiction side of my online world; I will then be able to include an annotation along the lines of “Originally presented in the Fall 2016 edition of A Rather Splendid Periodical that Pays Good Rates to Authors“, which will be ego-boosting for me and hopefully drive some more eyes in their direction(s) so they may continue to pay the creative types.

Once I’ve got as many stories with of those annotations as not, I may begin to feel less like a great blundering infant.  I hope so.  These diapers look ridiculous.

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Posted by Dirck on 3 March, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 29 February
  • 1 March
  • 2 March
  • 3 March
  • Second draft of  “The Mermaid’s Husband”.
  • Second drafting like a lion!
  • A little reworking of “The Blue Room”, then persisting with “The Mermaid’s Husband”.
  • Crossed the finish line– time to go to the pits and get my fingers changed for fresh ones.
  • 909 words.
  • 1,384 words.
  • 1,049 words on the latter… maybe 200 on the former.
  • Total of 7,206 words.
  • 45 min.
  • 55 min.
  • 50 min.
  • 55 min.

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