Papier Plume Ivy 108 and Lake Michigan Summer: Ink Giveaway Winners

Congratulations! Gerry G was selected as the winner of Papier Plume Ivy 108 and claudia barcellos was selected as the winner of Papier Plume Lake Michigan Summer. Please contact me through the link on the blog with your name and address by April 25 to claim the prize. (Or let me know if you’re coming to the Chicago Pen Show, and can pick it up there. I will add some extra swag.)

Thanks to everyone who participated. The remaining bottles will be for sale at the Chicago Pen Show, May 4-7. Most importantly, Go Cubs.

Here’s the Ivy 108 list.

Screen Shot 2017-04-18 at 8.20.45 AM

And here is the Lake Michigan Summer list.

Screen Shot 2017-04-18 at 8.24.16 AM


KWZ Rotten Green: Ink Giveaway Winner

Congratulations, mjelson, because you were selected as the winner of KWZ Rotten Green. Yay! Please contact me through the link on the blog with your name and address by April 22 to claim the prize.

Thanks to everyone who participated. I hope you get to try Rotten Green at the pen show or otherwise.

Here’s the list below. If a name appears twice it’s because that person entered both on the blog and on Instagram.


Screen Shot 2017-04-15 at 10.35.26 AM


A Very Serious, Not At All Tongue-in-Cheek, Fountain Pen Dictionary

Penjoyment. The state of good cheer that arises when pen and ink make writing fun.

Pendless. Your wishlist.

Penabler. All your pen friends. Or you drop them.

Penergized. That hopeful, exhuberant feeling that arises when you walk into a pen store or pen show or start browsing online — or even when you think, “Today’s the day I’ll clean out some pens.”

Penthusiast. How you describe yourself to your spouse, just before you start having merchants ship to your office.

Penthrallment. The knowledge that you must have a certain pen or ink, and it will be the last one you ever buy.

Penuui. Boredom with writing instruments, either the last one you bought, or all of them.


1. The unexpressed, uncomfortable feeling that, while you really couldn’t be happier that your friend got this sought-after fountain pen or ink, now that she has it, you feel left out, and your pens and inks seem second-rate in comparison.

2. If the possessor isn’t your friend, the feeling needn’t be kept secret, and can be expressed with a witty dig at the object or the possessor, or both.


1. A person with whom you send letters back and forth.

2. A person you have owed a letter to for three months. See, Penemy.

Penemy. A person who used to be your penpal, until your replies became so slow.

Penitent. A person who replied too slowly to her penpals.

Penvelope. A real word, for an attractive but expensive leather pen case that you consider buying when you have bought too many pens to contain any other way. If you have at least two Penvelopes, see, Pensanity.

Pensanity. Peak pen purchasing madness.

Penlightenment. The state of feeling satisfied with the pens you already have, which must last longer than three months or until you save up for the next one.

Pend. The end of this blog post.



Happy International Women’s Day

Yeah, no real post today, I’m on strike. It’s International Women’s Day.

Ha. I wish. What mother could ever go on strike? Although I’ll note that Classic Fountain Pens is closed today “in respect for the work women do here and around the world.” Nice! Shout-out to them.

Whatever International Women’s Day is, I’m for it, even without a strike. On the website, it says the idea is “to help forge a better working world
 — a more inclusive, gender equal world.” That’s nice.

I think “gender equal” isn’t necessarily a concept that really applies to fountain pens and ink, but I think the fountain pen world is a pretty inclusive place. So three cheers for fountain pens and inks, and the people who work in, and enjoy, fountain pens and inks.

Nobel Prize in Awesome

This is so cool: Bob Dylan was just awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Wow.

Bob Dylan, born Robert Zimmerman in Duluth, Minnesota (a freezing cold, very small city on the shores of Lake Superior), and raised in the Iron Range of Minnesota. Only a year of college at the University of Minnesota before he moved to New York City. Singer-songwriter. Nobel Prize in Literature winner for 2016.

I think this is fantastic, energizing, out-of-the-box thinking by the Nobel committee, who picked the perfect recipient if they were going to pick a musician. Dylan is a genius at what he does, and he’s always forged his own path as musician and lyricist. Ironically he’s been a huge influence on other artists, but many times he’s had to drag the befuddled and protesting audience behind him.

Look up what happened when Dylan “went electric”: the “don’t change things on me” folk crowd went ballistic. Or when he made his (great) country-influenced album. The rock crowd groaned. Dylan didn’t care. He just went on making some of the greatest and most influential popular music of the 20th Century.

Now the complainers are fuddy-duddy “serious literature” snobs who somehow have missed one true thing that’s all around them. Popular music is an art form. And over the last six decades it has mattered as much to worldwide culture as traditional literature.

So, yes, I think the Dylan choice is right and deserved. But it’s also a shot across the bow and a wake-up call. Like literature itself can be.

And I bet more people will talk about the Nobel Prize for Literature today than they did in years past, when the winner was the brilliant J.M. Coetzee or the sublime Alice Munro or even the wonderful Gabriel García Márquez.

By all means go read one of those. Or your favorite Nobelist. Or your favorite non-Nobelist: I nominate the great Jorge Luis Borges. Or  even a future Nobel candidate: I like Murakami.

But this is also great.

Scribbles and Scratches

Sailor Kin-Mokusei writing sample

Of course you can’t read that, but that scribble is meant to say “Sailor Kin-Mokusei,” and it’s on the edge of a scrap of paper I found this weekend as I started to put together a review of Kin-Mokusei ink. I dug out a little photo, blew up the relevant part, and here it is.

The orange Kin-Moksei is one of the eight Sailor Jentle Four Seasons inks that are soon to arrive in stores outside Japan. The brown-green ink you can glimpse just above Kin-Mokusei is Rikyu-Cha, which is another.

I know it’s not a proper photo, but that’s okay for me, because this scrap of image shows why I love Kin-Mokusei.  It’s a bright and shiny yellow-orange with lovely shading. It looks happy and exuberant, but also organic. For a bright ink, it’s actually subtle.

I will write a proper review with proper photographs and perhaps words that make sense. It’s just that those take time. And we had the Cubs. The cross country meet. The sun coming out for two whole days in a row. So much good.

But this scrap reminds me of something good, too. To take the time to enjoy the little things you come across unexpectedly — the scraps and scribbles, the unplanned encounters, the song you hear on the radio, the wrong turns leading somewhere interesting. Anything that makes you smile, or gives you an “aha” moment.

Even if it’s just a little scribble of ink. After all, that’s why we love this silly stuff.