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Posts Tagged ‘Sheaffer’

Down with Gatekeeping

Posted by Dirck on 18 May, 2018

A little change for this week’s film– something academic! A rather good speech, this, on the confluence of reading and writing, and why mocking someone for not having read a given thing is a terrible thing to do:

While listening, I cast my mind back to my own Why I Read moment, and I can’t really discover the lightbulb moment.  The house was always crammed with books, including once got for the infant me, and there was little other entertainment available at the time (you think daytime TV is rough now? Oh, no). If pressed, I might point to an installment in the Hardy Boys series given to me by my grandmother on a sick day; I remember being faintly pleased with having got through it in an afternoon.

Was that grade 1? I believe so.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer 300
Today’s ink: Pelikan Violet

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Posted by Dirck on 10 May, 2018

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 7 May
  • 8 May
  • 9 May
  • 10 May
  • Second draft of “Stuckman’s Miracle Men”
  • The entirety of “Seeds of Empire
  • 3,047 typed words.
  • 1,472 typed words.

That’s a pretty productive week in the fiction department. I also got a somewhat gummed up Parker “51” Vacumatic done and on the way home, and a SERIOUSLY gummed up Speedline filler working in a Vac Debutante which the friend who so often gives me pens handed me about a month ago.

What I didn’t do was get a picture of it or the Esterbrook “Transitional J” she also gave me.  Dang.

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Another Delivery Story

Posted by Dirck on 3 May, 2018

But first, the usual business of a Thursday:

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 30 April
  • 1 May
  • 2 May
  • 3 May
  • First draft of “Stuckman’s Miracle Men.”
  • Second draft of same.
  • 3 manuscripts pages.
  • 2,386 typed words.

Now, let’s see what I got in the mail two days after The Wettest Pelikan:

Does that say “Lamy” under all that tape?

Say, that is exciting!  After eventually figuring out where the flap of the box was through the very thorough layers of tape, I slowly got to the core, the meaty filling.

Why… it is a Lamy!  The box didn’t lie!  Aside: this sort of pen tube might have made a difference to that Pelikan’s packaging.

Yes, indeed, a not-at-all-shiny new Lamy 2000!  Oh, boy!

“Um… don’t you already have one on those?”

Yes. I do.  Or rather, I did.  A very strange fate overtook that pen.  The threads which extend off the front of the barrel to hold the section (picture here, if you need it) broke.  A crack had opened up, following the cut of the threads, which allowed seepage out of the holes the cap-holding ears.  I didn’t realize this was the cause of the problem until I had opened the pen several times to stare at the washer in a state of confusion and then tighten the section back in place… which finally snapped the terminal third of the threads right off.

I claim to repair fountain pens.  But I also, frequently, claim to understand my own limitations.  Seamlessly reuniting broken pieces of machined Makrolon™ is outside my skill-set.  So I sent the pen off to Lamy (which I was able to through their local retailers, since I’m lucky enough to have one of those in my city).  After a rather long wait, I got the expected message back from Lamy’s Canadian distributors:

  • This is not fixable;
  • This is not under warranty.

I had a look in my records last night.  I got my original 2000 in 2011 and thus it is certainly out of warranty, so I have no problem with that… although I do find myself wondering about the genesis of the original crack.  The 2000 has a reputation for durability.  The location of the break is such that I’d think it would only develop if I left the section slightly undone and then really leaned on it sideways.  All academic, though.

Also in the message from Lamy was an offer to get a replacement at… I want to say probably less than wholesale cost, although I don’t know that.  Cheap, in any event. Not trivially cheap, alas, so I had to ponder it a couple of days.  A cheap Lamy 2000 is still not a purchase I have the resources to make with an untroubled spirit.

In the end, the fact that the original was bought as a somewhat self-directed anniversary gift shoved me into buying the replacement.  I am sadly given to romantic foolishness.  Also, I sold a story, remember, and there was some residue left from that to cushion the expense.  Payment was sent to them and pen was sent to me.  Then, it was only a matter of cleaning it so I can put it into rotation in time for the upcoming anniversary, seven years later.

“Wait… clean it?”

Ah, yes.  As I mentioned in the terrible tale of Tuesday, there’s always some in ink ’em.

About half full, in fact. It’s kindly intended, I’m sure, but… well, there’s a lot of crannies inside this thing’s cap.  Aside: Like our new tea towel?  The camera sure does!

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Horror Stories, Fun and Otherwise

Posted by Dirck on 1 May, 2018

I start with fun, although I promise the “otherwise” isn’t too terrible. The fun horror is something I announced already on my fiction front, but I should shout it here as well– Pseudopod, the eminent horror podcast, has published my story Free Balloons for All Good Children, both as a text and in audio form.  I’m delighted with the results, and I want to share as widely as possible.

Now, for those who have either resisted the urge to scramble over to Pseudopod for the good stuff, or are now returning from that enjoyment, let me tell you a story of true domestic horror. On the strength of being paid for a story (see previous), I treated myself to a glance at eBay.

This is not the horror.  But you’re right to be shocked.

The outcome of this fall into weakness was the purchase of a Pelikan P1 with a rolled gold cap and the Continental Tires logo stamped on the barrel.  I’m not a particular fan of that company, but for a that pen at a price I can afford, I am willing to be indifferent to the presence of its mark.  The transaction concluded with a tracking number being sent me that had little use other than to prove that it had been handed to Deutschepost and should eventually arrive.  No later, it was suggested, than the 26th of April.

It did not.

It arrived yesterday:

The box, as found on my doorstep (with redactions because of Internet).

You are probably saying to yourself right now, “Gosh, that box seems a little irregular in its outline.”  You would be correct.  I took this picture before opening, because I thought I might need to talk to Canada Post about compensation.  Not the seller, I hasten to mention; that good soul did as much as a reasonable person might to prepare the pen for the trip.  They even spelled my name right, which is almost unheard of.  I am an unreasonable person when it comes to pens, and I might have done a little more, although I’m not sure how effective even my own packing habits would have been in the face of whatever happened to this poor parcel. Because I think it would be fair to say, perhaps even accurate to say, that it had been through the wringer.

I don’t think this is what they mean by “ordering some flat-pak”.

My heart sank a little, looking at this.  As I carefully cut through the tape and began excavating the contents of what had once been a box, I discovered that the deeper I got, the damper things were.  Moist, even.  On the way home to find this object, I heard on the news that there were floods underway in the eastern part of the country, and that lies between me and Germany. Perhaps I should consider myself lucky that this small item was not swept away from human sight by mighty nature.

In fact, I do, because in the clammy embrace of an appropriate quantity of newspaper, I found this.

Damp, but then pelicans are waterfowl, aren’t they? All that wet is on the outside of the bag, seeping out of the newspaper meant as padding.

There you go. Not all the horror stories I produce lack a happy ending. The pen is now dried off, cleaned out (because there’s always some ink left in ’em), added to my page for the model, and in standby to enter the rotation. Sometimes luck does indeed smile in my direction.

Happy May Day, everyone.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer 300
Today’s ink: Pelikan Violet

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Chortling to the Oldies

Posted by Dirck on 27 April, 2018

There was a bumper crop of NEWS this week, and this prompts me to retreat into comedy which is at least two decades old to be topical.

The past is a different country, isn’t it?

Today’s pen: Sheaffer 300
Today’s ink: Pelikan Violet

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Posted by Dirck on 19 April, 2018

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 16 April
  • 17 April
  • 18 April
  • 19 April
  • First draft of “Stuckman’s Miracle Men.”
  • Lucky Day,” a draft-and-a-half flash.
  • 26 manuscripts pages (four of which didn’t work at all).
  • 999 typed words.

Just a little note on the pens to finish off– I found myself wondering why the Parker doesn’t get into the cycle more often when I filled it on Monday morning.  Two hours later I was reminded.  There’s a factory-original vent hole in the cap at exactly the level of the point, ensuring without fail that it will dry out before next use.  Someone at Parker UK in the mid-1960s really dropped the ball.

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Posted by Dirck on 12 April, 2018

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 2 April
  • 3 April
  • 4 April
  • 5 April
  • Second draft of “The Monster in the Cabin,” which is, despite appearances, a much better title.
  • Bag of Bones,” which is a result of a Steal-a-Title Challenge I decided I should get in on.
    • 3,627 words typed.
    • 1,040 words.

I will admit that I’ve actually spent some moments giggling and clapping at the scale of the latest story– not only being able to get to “show it to the readers” stage so quickly that I can actually remember what the weather was like when I began, but being able to hold the whole of the narrative in my head easily.  All the more giddy to find I had sufficient think-tokens left in my reserves to work on a second story at the same time!

Something else I got around to setting myself up with this:
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com
I’m not going to give it any more time on this branch of my online existence than this mention, but over at the writing preserve, it’s now an inescapable fixture in the sidebar.  I do not expect it will make me a rich person.

…but I will hope, every so slightly.

The sharp-eyed will notice that I’ve done away with the “Duration” column of the chart.  I know none of you care how long I’ve been at the task on a given day, and I’m finally convinced my own inward monitor that however long it it, it’s long enough.

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Posted by Dirck on 29 March, 2018

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 1,481 words typed.

Say, that wasn’t much of a week, was it? Oh, but it was busy. You see, this fellow…

The darling Hercule

…has been going increasingly mad from loneliness since the death of his closest and final chum, Oberon.  It’s not that we humans neglect him, but we do not speak his language well. Last weekend, we finally found him some companions.  We had been looking for either siblings or a cat that was very friendly to other cats.  We ended up finding two of the latter:

Names TBA. We’ve just met them. Also, someone else took this picture.

They are, as far as anyone knows, not related.  But they clearly get on well with other cats.  They were, in fact, required to be adopted together by the rescue group whence we got them.  The older one is great with cats, but shy with people, and thus was hard to adopt.  After he had provided support to the younger during a phase of convalescence from the illness which took his mother and litter-mates (which sounds like Victorian melodrama, but is all too true), the idea of separating them seemed monstrous.

Of course, when brought into our house, they vanished like a dew.  I spent part of Sunday convinced that the little fellow had been killed by some unknown hazard in our basement.  By last night, though, they were both at least visible, and the big guy has apparently convinced Hercule that no one is going to get eaten by anyone else.  Progress toward a happy household.

However… none of this has a lot of bearing on the low word-count.  What brings that about is the fact that one of the words typed this week was END, all by itself at the bottom of a page.  Very nearly 90,000 words, which is a great deal more than I thought the manuscript ran to and a pretty good number for a novel.

This years-ago version of my son is SO PROUD of his dad’s persistence!

This doesn’t mean I’m done, alas.  There’s a little polishing of the whole before it gets put in the hands of feedback providers, then reacting to that feedback, then hiring a professional editor to do some horrible things to my ego… at the end of which I will start sending query letters out.  If this seems a timid and over-baked approach… well, yeah, but since it’s the first novel (bar the ones I never even tried to publish) I’d like it as shiny as possible before pestering gate-keepers with it.

It is done enough that I can get on with some other projects, though.  Hoorah, hoorah!

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Posted by Dirck on 22 March, 2018

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  •    3,416 words typed.

My effort to get some work done on weekends was done in by attending a writing workshop.  Still, that’s a pretty good week, and I think it’s rather more words than are left in the first draft.  If I didn’t have a couple of {INSERT SCENE HERE} markers lurking about midway through the current draft, I would be entirely certain of having it settled by this time next week.  That marker is, by the way, how I dodge any hint of writer’s block; put the foot down on the gas and shout “I’ll deal with it later!”

It’s still looking pretty likely.  Then, I think before I give it a final skim for utter illegibilities prior to unleashing it upon my well-loved beta readers, I’m going to put in a couple of weeks of down time, leaving it to rest like a steak fresh off the fire.  I may even talk about some pens, despite the mad clamour of short stories that desire my attention.

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Posted by Dirck on 15 March, 2018

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  •    4,723 words typed.

I have the brazen effrontery to be slightly disappointed with this week’s production.  One day was a little shy, because a change in the precise manifestation of a character’s motivations had some serious effect on a particular scene, almost of “Oh, right, Pennywise does NOT just hand each kid a loot bag and a balloon giraffe here” proportions.  That said… man, oh, man, am I ever close to the end.  It’s not impossible, if I work like a whole platoon of steam-driven digging robots, to see me done by this time next week.  More realistically, though, two weeks.  At which point I will tip over and catch fire (in the way a steam-driven digging robot might).

Also, for the purposes of 99.9993% of anyone visiting my site, I have it sorted out.  There’s some decoration on the headers that resists correction, but all the pictures, text, and links are useful… to the extent that they were before the problem started.

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