Pelikan M600 Green o’ Green with KWZ Rotten Green

Pelikan M600 Green o' Green with KWZ Rotten Green

Pelikan M600 Green o’ Green with extra-fine nib. This is basically a disguised Ink of Day post about KWZ Rotten Green, an ink that I’ve been enjoying a lot. It’s an attractive dark green, but I mean very dark and with very little shading.

Rotten Green seems excellent for work, because it slides through as an almost-black. But it is green, so between this and KWZ Thief’s Red, it’s like Christmas in July here. I guess a Bad Santa kind of Christmas, what with the rotten thieving going on.

Rotten Green is a very wet ink, so an extra-fine nib is a good match.

KWZ Rotten Green ink writing sample

And here’s the pen, because it is Pen of the Day, after all. I’ve always liked this unusual resin.

Pelikan M600 Green o' Green fountain pen closeup

Red Wednesday

KWZ Thief's Red ink

Better than a Red Wedding, am I right?

I’ve been using a new-to-me red ink recently, because I want to review it. And I don’t mean Montblanc Shakespeare, but a second red ink. Which then prompted me to ink a third red, for comparison. And I have a J. Herbin “Rouge” going as well. So, four reds.

Apparently red is the new blue for me.

I wonder if I could spin that into a t.v. series? Perhaps a lucrative sponsorship opportunity? Or the chance to meet Bono. Any of those appeals. So, you know, call me.

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House Rules: Ethics

Caran d'Ache Chromatics ink bottle boxes

Okay I’ve gone all Scarlett O’Hara, wishing I could flounce out of an internet fountain pen forum because of a thread where a number of people were implying, if not stating outright, that fountain pen and ink reviews are necessarily biased, useless and unethical.

So let me just make a statement here about what I believe, and how I behave.

I use things and talk about them on the blog. Sometimes I do a formal review. Sometimes I do less formal pieces.

Here’s how that works.

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Ink Snippet: Montblanc William Shakespeare Velvet Red

Montblanc William Shakesepare Velvet Red ink and bottle

My Montblanc William Shakespeare Velvet Red ink just arrived, which makes for a happy Thursday at Fountain Pen Follies.

I could be all laid back and cool, and pretend I haven’t been checking the front porch since Monday for my order from the lovely people at Pen Boutique. But that would be a lie. And anyway, no one would believe me.

Here are some first impressions and some quick photos.

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Ink Review: Diamine Gerbera

Diamine Gerbera writing samples

Diamine Gerbera. This is an interesting and attractive orange ink from Diamine’s Flower Set, which looked so different in the two pens I tested it in that I am tempted to dramatically subhead this review A Tale of Two Pens.

Admittedly Diamine Gerbera isn’t really “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” It’s too nice an ink for that. And I’m from the Midwestern US, which is like being from Canada; we’re not that dramatic

But A Tale of Two Cities is slightly more exciting than the average ink review, what with the Reign of Terror going on, tumbrils rolling through the cobbled streets of Paris, and heads rolling into baskets. Heck, that’s the sort of atmosphere and tone that would liven up any ink discussion.

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Ink Snippet: Pelikan Edelstein Topaz

Pelikan Edelstein Topaz bottle

I am gingerly stepping back into the blue pool with Pelikan Edelstein Topaz. This ink is an old favorite of mine. It’s a nicely flowing, nicely lubricated ink, with great shading and a lovely color. And it cleans up easily.

I’m almost at the end of the bottle, which brings up the usual mixed feelings. It’s always nice to use up a bottle. But I’ll miss Topaz until I replace it, which won’t be until I’ve worked down my stock of blue inks some more.

Aurora Optima 360 Monviso

We’re going out on a high note, however. Pelikan Edelstein Topaz makes a very nice match for the Aurora Optima Monviso. The ink flows so smoothly that the Aurora stub nib writes like a dream. And in turn, the stub nib’s line variation makes the most of Topaz’s color and shading.

Pelikan Edelstein Topaz writing sample

This was my second bottle of Topaz. I have given friends samples, and recommended it, and used it in a Mystery Ink round. I still recommend it. And I’m enjoying it while it lasts. It is perfect for summer.

Pelikan Edelstein Topaz nearly empty bottle



I’ve been struggling with something about fountain pens lately, which I will call the “mehs.”

Time really flies in the summer, but on top of all the usual fun, I’ve had a succession of things that have combined to bring me up short. On the pen front, my Monviso arrived, which was very nice. On the ink front, I realized I was sick of blue inks, which for me is beyond strange. Then, on the life front, we had some hard things. The hardest was when our beloved 12-year-old Labrador Retriever suddenly became seriously ill with pancreatitis, which meant round the clock nursing by us and a lot of veterinary intervention, since she could not eat and drink, or even stand up, on her own.

I saw a thread on a forum where some people were expressing the thought that “you are what you own.” So sad. Meanwhile I kept seeing nice pens, new and used, popping up for around $400 to $500. Oh and the Montblanc Shakespeare pen came out. I love Shakespeare. That pen is more than $900. It doesn’t actually have anything to do with Shakespeare, of course. It has to do with parting people from more than $900.

Speaking of Shakespeare, he’s always there with an apt phrase. Hamlet opens with a scene where a watchman at the end of his shift says, “For this relief much thanks: ’tis bitter cold / And I am sick at heart.” Here, the weather is hot, and I’m only nonplussed. But as always, Shakespeare’s words resound more convincingly.

I do enjoy pens and inks, and I have since I was a kid. When I like the pens I use, my job is a little more fun and my day a little brighter. But, as a hobby, there are negatives. The fountain pen hobby does revolve around the acquisition, ownership (and sometimes selling) of, stuff. And that can be warping, and that can be hollow.

Not that I think that stuff is bad or buying stuff is bad.  Actually, I think that life is short and we should delight in every part of it that we can. I don’t feel bad about getting to own some nice pens — I feel lucky.

It’s just that there should be a balance in everything. I’m also the person who reads Thoreau’s Walden every year. My mantra (not from Thoreau) is: “Life is not a having and a getting, but a being and a becoming.”

And yet I devote free time, and some discretionary income, to fountain pens and ink, which is essentially about having and getting. So, sometimes when I’m reminded of that, it brings me up short.

Right now, I’m a little sick of it. I have never thought “you are what you own,” and never will. But does it matter if I spend time in environments that foster that?  Do I contribute to that? Seeing pens on the internet every few weeks that cost $400, or $500 or $900, is that a positive? Or is it out of whack? When none of this is important. Do I remember that often enough? What do I do about it?

So I’m wrestling a little. On the bright side, at least our dog is doing well. Her life has actually been saved, which is a staggering thing to contemplate, and a good way to spend your time. Important things, like that, make me think, “just forget pens.”  It was nice to watch Serena Williams win Wimbledon this weekend. The BBC made a great video of Serena reciting (part of) a Maya Angelou poem. I would rather listen to that.

Because it doesn’t matter who comes to mind: Maya Angelou, the Ramones, Stephen Sondheim, Henry David Thoreau, Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot. They all say the same thing. Be and become.

Serendipity: Ink and Pen Department

J. Herbin ink bottle nearly empty

I adore J. Herbin inks (well, most of them), but I can admit that the bottles, while lovely, are not always easy to fill from, especially as the ink level declines.

However, there are some pens that are so perfect in every way that they adapt to difficult conditions like I would adapt to winning sixty million dollars.

The Parker 51, ladies and gentlemen.

J. Herbin ink bottle nearly empty