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Posts Tagged ‘Waterman 52’

An Impediment to Worldbuilding

Posted by Dirck on 24 September, 2021

While I haven’t been doing as much of it as I would like, I still call myself a writer. And as a member of that self-torturing happy breed, I spend a lot of time weaving whole new worlds out of the cobwebs and bits of moss that lurk in my head. One of the tricks to worldbuilding is coming up with something which doesn’t knock someone’s disbelief off the hook, because then it will get all fractious and start asking uncomfortable questions.

With that in mind, here’s an interesting explanation of why you can’t have suns of a particular colour if you’re writing a world with extant physics:

I’ll freely admit this was not a thing I had known until this week. So, there’s me learning new things and (hopefully) staving off dementia for another few days.

Today’s pen: Waterman 52
Today’s ink: Diamine Evergreen


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Posted by Dirck on 16 September, 2021

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 13 September
  • 14 September
  • 15 September
  • 16 September
  • Re-reading “The Lurking Fear” to make notes for a story I mean to write.
  • Also trying to get some updating done on my website.†
  • Nearly done, and getting some useful new insights.
  • Part of a page.

†”Trying” faces more than usual hurdles:

The host is being pestered. If you have a pressing pen question, my slow frequency of updates means that this Wayback Machine capture from January isn’t missing too much.

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Thinking of You on Your Birthday

Posted by Dirck on 20 August, 2015

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 17 August
  • 18 August
  • 19 August
  • First draft of “Old Home Week”.
  • “Old Home Week” continues, and I should tell you the story behind it when I’ve a moment.
  • Yet more “Old Home Week”.
  • Seven manuscript pages
  • Six pages.
  • Six pages
  • 55 min.
  • 45 min.
  • 40 min.
  • 30 min.

Since it’s the 125th birthday of a gentle professional author and amateur racist from Providence, I might as well do a little open thinking about writing, both his and my own.

I’ll let ego take the fore; what’s that story I hint at in the Progress Report?  Well, it promises to be almost entirely uninteresting, but here it comes:  A few months ago, I had an idea for a story and wrote it down.  During my extended vacation, there came to me a mental image of how a story that fits that idea would start, and I nurtured that image until I had leisure to get it written down (for those without one, a school-age child when there’s no school is a magnificent preventative against sitting quietly and writing, so my vacation had almost no writing in it).  “Decorations” followed thereafter.  When I got the story finished, or as finished as it’s going to be until I pass it through the improving mills of third-party, semi-anonymous readers, I found that there was some dissatisfaction in me.  I still quite liked the mental image that had come on me, and wondering if putting the whole thing into a format that would serve a visual medium would quiet my restless heart, I went through the screenplay effort mentioned on past Reports.

Success of a sort.  I certainly think the exercise was worthwhile.  At the workshop I attended at the end of May, our guide mentioned that it is useful to try handling the same story with different points of view.  Usually, this is meant to be more internal to the story, moving from “I walked along the street, carefree, until a squelching sensation underfoot and a rank smell brought me up short” to “Halfway along the block, old Mr. Crun is pausing in his morning constitutional to briskly scrape one shoe on the edge of the curb, while shouting imprecations at the whole genus Canis.”  What I did was a little more meta- than that, moving the point of view from reader to viewer, but the effect on writer I think was much the same.  I saw the story from a new place, and I realized what my problem was.  Success!

…of a sort, because the problem was this: I didn’t actually write the story that the idea described.  That was the source of the dissatisfaction.  Thank goodness it wasn’t a novel, eh?  If you look at the few paltry things I’ve got in the Art Department here, you’ll get a good sense of the sort of thing I habitually do.  I like the shiver of effect more than I do committing a satisfying arc.  This is probably a result of my frequent indulgence in Lovecraft’s writing, and while I don’t think it’s wrong, it’s not always right.  In the case of what I meant to write, I realized I shouldn’t be trying to hang out in Arkham or points along the Aylesbury Pike, but should rather be thinking more in terms of October Country.  I get to begin again, with dials in my head adjusted properly– “Shocking Revelation” is turned down, “Sweet Melancholy” turned up a little past half-way.  As much as I honour the Old Man, sometimes art lies in directions he tended to avoid.

All of which is a very long way of reiterating the importance of reading if one means to be a writer.

I cannot discover the true source of the image; if you click on it, you'll end up whence I lifted it.

I cannot discover the true source of the image; if you click on it, you’ll end up whence I lifted it.

Today’s pen: Waterman 52
Today’s ink: Reeves blue-black

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Posted by Dirck on 17 June, 2014

WHAT: Third draft (which is to say, polishing and gilding) of short stories “Eyeing the Neighbours” and “Old 237”.

HOW MUCH: Both of ’em; the word count, given the nature of the exercise, is pointless

HOW LONG: About 35 min.  I have indeed whimped (sic) out on the second draft of “Yard Light” as I want to try and get an entry or two in for this thing, and I fear the amount of typing that one is going to call for.

…but I really need to get a College of Muses in special setting on the title of that first one.  “Eyeing the Neighbours” is sucky in an almost fractal way.

Today’s pen: Waterman 52
Today’s ink: Herbin Bleu Myosotis

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Posted by Dirck on 11 June, 2014

WHAT: Second draft of short story “Story Time”.

HOW MUCH: 1,129 words

HOW LONG: About 55 min.  It’s nice to get one run out so fast– and next it’s the mighty labour of the second draft of “Yard Light” unless I whimp out and begin third drafts of some things in an effort to creep up on the cliff of submission.

Today’s pen: Waterman 52
Today’s ink: Herbin Bleu Myosotis

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Posted by Dirck on 20 August, 2013

Looking back over the years (!) of entries, I find this to be the anniversary of a glaring oversight which I will now attempt to put right.

There's a kid with a clear sense of how much fun his future offers.

There’s a kid with a clear sense of how much fun his future offers.

Today is the birthday of, if the dubious citations of the internet are to be trusted, the kid in this picture: the eminent weird fiction author and recurrent racist Howard Phillips Lovecraft!

My regard for the writing of this chap is pretty open, and so profound that I can bring myself to overlook some of his socio-political views (an effort helped by some of his other socio-political views).  Often verbose, sometimes stilted, and far too given to Fainting Protagonist Syndrome, the underlying notions in his stories about what constitutes horror, at least in its entertaining arms-length form, are brilliant.  So brilliant in fact that I’m not going to cheapen the effect by trying to illuminate the matter in the short time I have available to me for these writings.

Instead, I’m going to suggest that you sing a round of “Happy Birthday” in a gargling, strangled voice, then treat yourself to a very elegant reading of “The Call of Cthulhu“, one of his best works and most frequently suggested as representative of his approach.  Then, if you’ve got time and are unconvinced, you can listen to a discussion of why people like me trot out the word “brilliant” in connection with a fellow who never got rich on his writing.

If you want to make me the most jealous guy in North America, you’ll follow that up with a visit to the big Lovecraft convention this weekend.  I’ll sit here safely distant from the thriving subaquaous terrors of the Atlantic (as well as the slumbering awfulness of the Pacific’s floor), not at all wishing I were there, learning new ways to revel.

That's right-- you go ahead and smile.  You're loved by millions.

That’s right– you go ahead and smile. You’re the idol of millions, many of whom are not confined to a secret garret by their nervous families.

Today’s pen: Waterman 52 (it’s known he used Watermans, and this is a popular model; I can claim kinship almost as straight-facedly as August Derleth did)
Today’s ink: Noodler’s Tulipe Noire (good for writing dark if slightly purple things, and it creeps….)

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Can’t Spell Nemesis Without…

Posted by Dirck on 28 September, 2012


Whatever had done my son in on Friday and got my wife down to the point that I had to leave work early on Wednesday to make sure Patient Zero wasn’t neglected has finally battered down my barricades.  That most ancient of human enemies, living in close proximity to other humans, has claimed another win.

As I don’t have a film picked out, why not have a chuckle at underground humour in a very literal sense?

Today’s pen, in as much as today has a pen: Waterman 52 (I may well dig into the standby crowd rather than risk this pen to a spasmodic gesture)
Today’s ink: Lamy blue-black

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Not Fade Away

Posted by Dirck on 26 September, 2012

Among the diversions of the weekend, by far the least congenial was the salvage operation mounted upon my parents’ basement.  You see, last Friday my mother discovered an unexpected spring in the laundry room; the feed from the main had broken directly under the foundation of the house.  I will do no more than suggest the joys of that evening, and of my father’s subsequent discussion with his insurers.

Happily, there was little of importance that got a fatal dampening.  My main loss was a set of Discover magazines covering roughly 1983 through ’89, and since those were laid aside before the notion of “look it up online” came about, I am able to resign myself to the throwing out.

Well up the list of things of the category, “Thank God that was on the other side of the house!’ is the wedding album, which includes three telegrams of regretted absence and well-wishing.  Next to this on the shelf was a little book bearing the title The Story of Our Baby, illustrations copyrighted 1929.  It was thus ten years in print when my grandparents picked it up to record the birth of my mother.

I’m probably naive in thinking that not including the family names prevents internet predators for… doing something inconvenient to me and my family.

The details are filled in with a fountain pen, of course, as the events being recorded are more than a half-decade ahead of the general emergence of ball-points into the North American market.  I am thus even more fascinated than a normal person at this item of family history.

To ink, first.  That first line, the baby herself, looks somewhat like what I expect modern Quink or Waterman blue-black to work itself into, while the rest are rather more like what a respectable modern blue-black (Sailor springs to mind) holds as.  However, let us recall that these lines were laid down in spring of 1939, and that not months but decades of fading have passed.  I’m not quite sure what to make of that first line; it may, I suppose, be an early example of the Quink formulation I’ve only recently despaired of.  The rest is in what that ante-bellum context called a blue ink.  Possibly even washable blue.  This is why we fanciers of vintage sometimes are found in quiet corners, weeping.

Inevitably, my thoughts turn to the pen, or pens, being used.  If I were like Sherlock Holmes, I might be able to say what was doing the writing (which is to say, if I were fictional; there’s limits to what the lines can tell).  Since my grandfather died before I started Kindergarten, where his pen went is a dark mystery.  I have a notion he used a Parker, founded only on the desk-mount 21 I wrecked during a bout of pre-teen “how’s this work” foolishness.  I can’t imagine that he stuck with the same pen from then until his last days, since he was as moved by fashion as most men of his age.  However… the things he wrote in the wedding album, twenty-five years later, are remarkably similar.

In both line and colour.  Stupid modern inks.

Today’s pen: Waterman 52
Today’s ink: Lamy blue-black (which I exempt from that last bit; this is a deeply 1935ish ink)

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Big(gish) Numbers

Posted by Dirck on 24 September, 2012

An interesting weekend.  My son brought home something from his pre-school, although apparently my immune system has met it previously.  I’ve been delving into some Italian pens I’ve not previously met, through the kindness of a previous client who was pleased enough to let me work on them.  I had an uncharacteristic first-person garage-sale triumph, which I will go into at some length tomorrow.  I hoisted a pint (and a quarter) with a friend who is about to take the Oxford history department by storm.  I also looked at the stats of this effort and my main site, and found some stuff worth pondering that is not concerned with children’s television.

My online presence has passed a couple of milestones.  This little screed now has over 800 posts, which is as nicely pointless as a thing to remark upon as can be hoped for.  In having made that dizzy and non-metric quantity of entries,  I find that a certain number of people (many of whom are probably not concerned with children’s television) have looked in.  This is not a particularly stunning development, but what drew my interest is that the number of look-ins here has just been surpassed by the number of look-ins at my main site since its renovation in November of last year.  That’s exciting, although I damp the excitement by not sharing the actual numbers (because I suspect they’re low, in absolute terms, and I don’t want to attract derision).

Well, what do bloggers do when a slightly abstract and meaningless collusion of circumstantial mathematics descends upon them?  They give stuff away!  It’s been an age since I did something like this, but in addition to the slightly abstract ect. I find I’ve got a duplicate of a pen that someone might not buy on their own but is honestly worth sharing.  There is a small catch, though.  In speaking with my Oxford-bound friend, a test which he’ll be sitting almost immediately came up, a sort of academic cricket game which spans two days, but which in a past form was even more terrifying as a major component of it was writing a long essay on the theme of an apparently random single word.  Well, that sounds like a great way of proving that the pen is going to a writer, so I’m proposing a test of skill in a smaller scale.

Let’s get specific– what you might get is a Wing Sung 233, in a pleasing burgundy colour, which has had its flow and smoothness seen to.  It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a surprisingly good pen, and it can be YOURS for only a little mental labour.  Leave a comment on this post, fit for public consumption, which considers this word: Octagon.  Because I don’t want to see anyone devote doctoral-level effort to this small prize, the minimum length of entry is a single correctly-formed paragraph.  Everyone who fulfills this stern qualification will be given a number based on the order of appearance, and a winner randomly drawn from that pool.

How long to you have to act on this?  Let’s say… two weeks.  The draw will be held at noon CST on the 8th of October, which means I’ll have to rouse myself from the stupor of Thanksgiving to give thanks to all entrants in words and one in the form of a free pen.  Is everyone ready?  Off you go, then!

Today’s pen: Waterman 52
Today’s ink: Lamy blue-black

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Posted by Dirck on 20 January, 2012

I got a new pen in the mail.  Unusually, is it indeed a new pen, an item of the largesse that seems to flow without hinderance from the Fountain Pen Geeks, a Sheaffer VFM.  I have not yet have time to form an opinion on it, but… my son loves it.

He came to see what I was about when I was opening the outer shipping box, and when I slipped the actual box from its protective sleeve (these things are, whatever else their qualities, extremely well-packaged) he lit up and snagged it from me.  I suspect that it is a longstanding interest in the colour orange that drove this action, the pen being a “Maximum Orange” example, although my less rational elements whisper, “See!  Even a young child knows fountain pens are worth coveting.”

He opened the box, drew the pen out from under the elastic that held it down, uncapped it (ignoring the gasp and full-body clench from his dear dad), recapped it, and replaced it in the box, every stage attended by a delighted grin and as much care as a three year old can muster.  Then he tried to take it out again.  The clip caught under the elastic.  The cap stayed in the box.  The son, realizing things were going astray, thrust the pen back… askew!  The point ran against the inner cap.

My son is… oddly strong.  He routinely takes a four liter milk jug in either hand for a run around the house, merely for the joy of it.  I say this only partially in brag, because it’s an important context matter for the next thing I say.

He really tried to get that cap on.

The point did not bend, which is a mark in the “pro” column for the VFM.  It did, however, go a little sideways on the feed.  I’ve recentered it, and all seems well, but I hadn’t the heart in me to see if it was running properly.  Perhaps this weekend.  For me, the move from joy at acquisition to regret of (possible) loss was compressed into a ten minute space.  With the thermal stress this week has offered, I’m surprised I don’t fall into jagged shards.

Today’s pen (kept strictly away from Mighty Joe Youngster): Waterman 52
Today’s ink: Lamy blue-black

post-scriptus:  For those of you who feel this reveals something about my attitude towards modern pens… well, perhaps subconsciously.  I put it down to a lapse in judgement brought on my equal parts parental indulgence and hypothermia.

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