When Interests Collide

Why hello there! Things have been scarce around these parts, as I’ve been busy narrowly avoiding being crushed by a falling tree on my birthday, looking at Mt. Hood from new angles, and learning how to saddle stitch leather.

This summer, I spent nearly every free weekend in the outdoors, sometimes motorcycling, sometimes camping, and oftentimes both in the same trip. Wilderness runs deep in my blood, and I needed this summer to get back into it after a few years without many wild travels.

ANYWAY, a few days ago I was watching a wonderful documentary called “Alone in the Wilderness” when I spotted what appears to be a Sheaffer Lifetime PFM(?) with a Triumph nib:

The gentleman pictured using this fine implement is Dick Proenneke, one of my heroes. In the late 60s, Mr. Proenneke built himself a cabin in a remote part of Alaska with hand tools and hard work, and then spent the next thirty-five years homesteading in the wilderness, observing and filming the weather and wildlife, and keeping detailed journals — apparently with a fountain pen.

If this at all appeals to you, the documentaries “Alone in the Wilderness” part 1 and 2 are worth checking out from your local library, along with the book “One Man’s Wilderness“.

I do love it when my interests collide.

I’m Back!

I’m back to blogging and back home. I gotta admit, it took a couple of weeks to get used to being back in the States.

My partner’s surgery went perfectly and recovery is proceeding nicely. The both of us offer our utmost thanks for all the well wishes y’all sent our way.

In pen-related news, this Nock Co case was waiting in my mailbox when I arrived home:

My favorite colors are orange and blue and this case POPS. I love it unreasonably.

Before I left for Bulgaria, I made sure to clean all my pens except for the ones I took with me — and this Kaweco Skyline Sport, which I left inked with a cartridge as an experiment of sorts. I’m happy to report that it wrote perfectly despite being capped and unused for 10 weeks.

You’ll have to forgive the dumb hashtag. After nearly 40 hours of travel to get home, I couldn’t think of anything witty to write.

On a housekeeping note, I’m changing my posting schedule to Tuesday and Friday.

The Year In Economical Penstering

Yes, I just used “penster” as a verb.

I also just misread my own headline as “Economical Pestering” — which might be a perfect alternative description for this blog. Indeed, I wrote a great number of words about inexpensive pens this year, and a surprising number of you stopped by to read them. Pestering works!

You Read These Posts The Most

  1. When Your Grail Pen Is F**king Expensive
  2. Six Months with a Hobonichi Techo
  3. Maybe the Jinhao 992 Ain’t All It’s Cracked up to Be
  4. Snap Judgments: Nock Co Seed A6 Case
  5. The Kaweco Sport Puts a Workhorse In Your Pocket

Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that the most popular post I wrote this year was about expensive pens.

This Pen Deserves to Boast

The Wing Sung 618 is my Economical Pen of the Year. No other pens came close. I waxed rhapsodic about it right here.

This Pen Deserved More of a Roast

Every time I see a Jinhao 992 I let out one of those big, long sighs that starts deep within the Disappointment Plexus, travels up past the Hopeful Heart, and out the Opinion-Emitting Sound Hole. The 992 is a lovely nib trapped in bad plastic. Jinhao ought to source better plastic and charge twice as much — the result would still be a great deal.

My Thanks to This Gracious Host

Most of you found this site via a link on Ana Reinert’s most excellent blog The Well-Appointed Desk. Of course, this titan of the stationery blogosphere does not need a link from my humble demesne, but she’s getting one anyway, along with my thanks.

Also: a bunch of you have been flipping my posts to your Flipboard magazines. I haven’t been able to figure out who’s been flipping what, so thank you to all of you, whomever you are.

They’re Always Good For a Witty Riposte

A quick shoutout to Laura at Fountain Pen Follies for consistently making me snort my morning coffee all over my keyboard this year. I’ll be sending you my AppleCare and dry cleaning bills tomorrow.

Another shoutout to Fangs and Clause for being crankier and funnier than the million other writing blogs I follow. You will not regret clicking that link, looking on the sidebar, and reading everything listed under “How Do I…?”

A final shoutout to the 201 fountain pen and stationery blogs I follow. Thank you for all your posts. I expect even more from you next year. (Encouragement: it’s what I’m good at.)

So Let’s Have a Toast

To all fountain pens regardless of cost, as every pen is priceless in someone’s eyes. To fine paper, notebooks, and ink. To pen friends near and far. To words in all their power, and the struggle of writing. At least we’ll be doing it in style.

Is There Life Outside of Pens: A Pen Blogger’s Dilemma

Part 1: On Finding a Niche

This blog doesn’t even have one candle on its birthday cake yet, so it’s probably a surprise to hear that I’ve been blogging for over a decade now. I’ve written about riding a dirtbike across a rain-slick ledge over a thousand-foot cliff and how to properly measure the gap on a spark plug. I’ve written relationship advice to teenagers on tumblr. I’ve written fiction during a fit of lunacy. And now I write about beautiful, inexpensive fountain pens.

I blog because I like to write, and what’s a blog but a never-ending wellspring of ideas to write about. But conventional wisdom says a blog is a wellspring of very specific ideas.


Well, I’ve certainly done that here. I write about a specific subset of fountain pens, with occasional forays into notebooks, inks, and other stationery. While being laser-focused on one subject means I never lack for readers, the best part of having readers is that some of you stop by and say hello, and…

Part 2: I Like The Way You Exercise Your Verbiage

My favorite part of blogging is reading (and responding to) your comments. In a decade of blogging, I’ve found more satisfaction in having a group of regular readers than having ten thousand visitors who’ll forget the name of this blog the moment they close the tab.

I love my regulars. You know who you are. And it’s been lovely getting to know you through your comments here, or conversations we’ve had on your blogs, or via emails we’ve exchanged.

If you’re a regular here, you’ve gifted me with your attention. So I think it’s important to be careful about what I post. The last thing I want to do is abuse your attention, even though I’m often tempted to post things I find interesting but are off the primary topic of this blog. And believe me, I’m going to be plenty tempted in the next few months, because I’ll be…

Part 3: An American In Bulgaria

Certain life events have come together to cause me to go back to Bulgaria for a third time, but I’ll be living and working there for ten weeks instead of two.

I adore Bulgaria. I’d tell you so many interesting things about it, but this is a fountain pen blog, not a “how I spent an evening dancing the horo and singing folk songs with a bunch of soccer players” blog.

So I’ve given it some thought, and I guess this whole post has been a long-winded way of saying…

Part 4: There’s No Place Like Instagram (#home)

I’ve been flirting with Instagram for a couple of months, posting snapshots of stationery goodies along with some behind the scenes stuff from this blog. I’m a better writer than photographer, but I think I can make Instagram work as a mostly-pen-stuff-but-sometimes-not kind of place.

It’ll be my kind of place, and if that sounds interesting, you can find me @alloutonthepage. Наздраве!