Eww! A Rag!

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rag
Pictured: SAILOR “1911” Standard with a 14k gold Extra Fine nib

No. This is not just any ol’ rag. It’s a fountain pen enthusiast’s ink rag. This swatch of cotton fabric represents colors of bottled inks I’ve used over the past four years. Each time a fountain pen is re-inked, the pen and or the nib are wiped of excessive ink. Over time, the ink rag has grown into a story of inks used by this fountain pen enthusiast. This particular rag represents ink blots from various inks like the highly sought after vintage Script Peacock Blue, traditional inks, limited edition inks, and contemporary boutique inks. Eventually, this rag will be mounted in a glass frame and hung on the wall as a trophy. Until that time, this rag will continue to amass a record of bottled inks which grace my fountain pens.

Each blot represents countless hours of fascination observing the flow of ink from a fountain pen nib onto paper. There’s a sense of tranquility and nostalgia as the wrist and fingers guide the nib across the paper, to leave a trail of liquid ink in its wake. Countless grocery lists, notes, and articles written with the many inks have tinted this fabric swatch. This rag chronicles my pilgrimage through the use of fountain pens. Call me old-fashioned, call me a nerd, a weirdo, it doesn’t alter my love of fountain pens and inks. Maybe you call it an “obsession”, I prefer the word: fascination. Until one experiences the sensation of a superbly balanced fountain pen becoming one with the hand; effortlessly guiding a smooth nib across the paper, leaving behind a trail of pigmented liquid in its path; then, you too will realize the allure of the wonderfully fabulous fountain pen.

#DaleThele  #Author #Novelist

Handwriting Novel Rough Draft

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notebookWho handwrites any more?

That’s so old school.

Well, just call me old fashion.

Back in December, I completed the rough draft of CLIPPED WINGS, entirely handwritten in cursive with a fountain pen in a total of eight college-ruled composition books. Why would I put myself through such cruel torture?

Well, I love writing with fountain pens, there’s nothing that can compare with the feel and sensation of watching liquid ink form words on a piece of paper. In 2012 I ran across a YouTube video made by Brian Goulet about how to use fountain pens. Until that point in my boring life, I’d not paid any mind to fountain pens, after all, I grew up in the Bic pen generation. I was so captivated by his videos I watched everything Brian posted online. I searched out other fountain pen vids. It was if I’d been put under a trance, I couldn’t get enough information about fountain pens.

In 2013, I’d entered an online contest and won a genuine fountain pen as my prize. I excitedly filled that sucker with ink from a small glass bottle. As soon as the nib connected with the paper, I was hooked. I had fallen head over heels into the allusive fountain pen rabbit hole. Since that fateful day, I seek out any opportunity to write with pen and ink. Sometimes when I can’t find something useful to write I simply scribble one phrase over and over on any paper I have handy. “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”. Call me crazy and order a tailor to fit me for a straight jacket. I am a fountain pen addict, and I publicly admit it. There, I said it.

With my love of fountain pens, it was just a natural desire to hand write the first draft of my inaugural novel in 2017. Sure I’d written and published a couple of short stories and three novellas in 2010, but they were composed entirely on a laptop. That was years before I became mesmerized by the fantastical world of fountain pens.

I began my new adventure into handwriting a fictional novel rough draft. Not just any novel, but an epic-length southern literary novel. To prepare for the journey, I inked up anywhere from 6 – 8 fountain pens with different brands and colors of fountain pen ink. I also acquired a bunch of cheap college-ruled composition books for fifty cents each – I’m kind of a cheapskate. From Amazon, I purchased a SMUDGEGUARD spandex glove. It’s a two finger glove which fits on the pinky and ring fingers and prevents the transfer of body oil onto the paper as you write. Fountain pens can be persnickety boogers when they come into contact with body oil, it may skip or not lay a proper amount of ink on paper. Smudgeguard also protects the hand from getting all inky by accidentally dragging it across wet ink. Of course, for the fountain pen enthusiast, it’s considered a badge of courage to brandish inky hands and fingers, it just comes with the territory. To prepare for my new task I needed some writing background music, something that would tug at the emotions. I returned to YouTube again where I found and downloaded a large collection of emotional piano and violin music tracks. I don’t think I broke any laws in doing so — if I did — oopsie.

So, I began handwriting the rough draft in cursive, you know what that is? It’s that curlicue style of handwriting that just about anyone born after 1970 can’t read. It’s a private hieroglyphic type of writing which the Baby Boomer generation and generations before used to compose secret messages to one another.

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I found that handwriting was much more convenient than to lug a bulky laptop around everywhere. I could take my composition book and a couple of fountain pens along wherever I went. I wrote in coffee shops, on public transit, waiting in lobbies between appointments, and I could even write when I was in the toilet if I wanted. The downside, fountain pens do not hold an indefinite amount of ink. It was not uncommon to be writing happily along and run out of ink in mid-sentence when I’d simply grab a replacement inked pen. I’d go through from 6 -8 inked pens each week. Every Sunday I’d clean and refill the next week’s supply of pens. So, that’s a quick overview of how the rough draft of CLIPPED WINGS was written – by hand, in cursive, with fountain pens, in college-ruled composition books. Could I get much more old school than that?

A sampling of pens and inks I used to write the rough draft:

Sheaffer 1960’s vintage “School Pen” …………… Pelikan 4001 Dunkelgrun Ink

Fountain Pen Revolution “Himalaya” …………….. Chesterfield Amethyst

Platinum “Plaisir” ………………………………………… Sheaffer Peacock Blue

Levenger “True Writer” ………………………………… Waterman Mysterious Blue

Lamy “Safari” ……………………………………………… Diamine Eclipse

Sailor “1911” ………………………………………………. Levenger Cocoa

Esterbrook “J-Series” (vintage) ………………………Monteverde Moonstone

Parker “Sonnet” (60’s vintage) ………………………. Cross Violet (limited edition)

Waterman “Carene” …………………………………….. Waterman Serenity Blue

Pilot “Metropolitan” ……………………………………… Parker Blue/Black

Happy Writing!

#DaleThele  #Author #Novelist #LGBT

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Waterman Carene . . .

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Waterman Carene

Waterman “Carene” fountain pen is an elegant and classy pen making me feel as if I’m composing an epic tome. The Carene is a deep black luminescent lacquer finish barrel with electroplated palladium trim with a shape inspired by the streamlined symmetry of the world’s finest yachts. The french translation of “carène” is “hull”. This quality fountain pen features a highly lacquered barrel and extremely smooth in-laid rhodium-plated 18k solid gold extra fine nib. Heavy weight (brass base), yet ergonomically balanced for writing comfort. The pen can be fitted with a Waterman cartridge or a Waterman converter for use with bottled ink. The timeless designed Waterman “Carene” fountain pen is made in France.

Note: I’m currently hand-writing the first draft of growing into my skin with my Carene, filled with Waterman Mysterious Blue bottled fountain pen ink on 8.5 x 11.75 canary yellow legal pads.

Pilot Metropolitan . . .

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Pilot Metro

Another of my fountain pens: The Pilot Metropolitan (a modern Japanese manufactured pen), black sleek, smooth-shaped pen great for everyday use. This pen features a stylish matte finish with a glossy middle band. The brass cap and barrel give the pen a comfortable weight and balance. Combined with its smooth-writing Extra Fine stainless steel nib, this makes the Metropolitan a pen that is well-loved by fountain pen novices and expert users alike. The pen uses an ink cartridge or an aerometric (squeeze) converter, I have opted to use a Pilot Con-50 converter which has a greater ink capacity. Currently, it is not inked, I prefer filling with Waterman Brown fountain pen ink, which makes for a great letter writer and complements my cream Original Crown Mill 100% Cotton stationary. (Pilot Worldwide distributes the same fountain pen in the UK market under the name: Pilot “MR” Fountain Pen)

Hero 616 . . .

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hero616
Here is another of my go-to pens, the Hero 616 in black plastic and chrome metal is a Chinese manufactured fountain pen which pays homage to the great Parker 51 model fountain pen. The pen is well copied in detail even down to the Parker arrow clip and the steel “jewel” crowned cap. The thin metal cap is etched with separated groupings of 7 pinstripes and has the Chinese characters for “Hero” and the model number “616”.

Once the slip cap is removed, the clutch ring at the join of the barrel and hood is displayed. However, unlike the all-metal ring of the original 51, the Hero ring serves as a small ink-view window, enabling one to see if there’s ink left in the reservoir (a feature that would have been convenient on the Parker 51).

Unscrewing the barrel reveals the pump-style filler similar to the aerometric filler of the original Parker 51 for use with bottled ink. The pen holds a surprising amount of ink and is a smooth writer for such an inexpensive pen. It’s lighter in weight than my Parker 51, yet both pens are comfortable writers. I have the Hero 616 filled with Sheaffer Purple fountain pen ink and use it regularly for general writing.