“Nib-less” Oblige

5 Jun

“I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have understanding and power. By me kings reign and rulers make laws that are just; by me princes govern, and all nobles who rule on earth. I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” (Prov. 8:12-17)

spr: We might think of a metaphor as painting with a brush of words. As the letters and sounds are stroked and swirled onto a canvas, they often produce a stunning portrait. This passage is a portrait of “Wisdom”: her character and her characteristics.

She lives with care and thought for the future. She has knowledge and tactful circumspection. She wields a seething hate of pride, arrogance and all expressions of transgression and evil. She has good and gracious judgment, and is a powerful paramour. For those who passionately love her, she will make their dreams come true.

Loving God of all, we embrace your hope. We lean on your help, not as weaklings, but in your strength, with a deep desire to be stronger still in the might of your Holy Spirit. Grant us your understanding, and the knowledge that leads to a reverence for you. Amen.

Beauty & I had our first date 42 years ago today!
Our congratulatory conversation went something like this: “Hey, Happy Anniversary!” “Oh, yeah. Right.”

I love fountain pens. I remember in undergraduate days reading “The Age of Napoleon” [Vol. XI in the Durant’s The Story of Civilization], and Jean Orieux’ “Talleyrand”, and enjoying taking notes with a Parker fountain pen that wrote with tiny, paper-saving precision, and with a clarity no other pens could match.

I remember being happy to discover that my father had a fountain pen desk set (Sheaffer–which is now in front of me on my desk here in the Manse) in his office at John Burroughs.

I was pleased to see recently an online article in The Telegraph [Great Britain]: “If you want to write like Hemingway…”, about how fountain pens “take us to a simpler, more romantic world.” I am even thinking of transitioning back to that world, and completing my correspondence with sealing wax stamped with a large, regal “R”.

I confess to a bit of snobbery. I feel a sense of “nib-less” oblige: a responsibility to share the joy of fountain pens with the ‘less fortunate’–those relegated to the realm of roller balls and ball points.

Subtitled: ‘What to feed your beast for a colorful feast!’ Fountain pen cartridges of ink are amply available. My personal preference is to use a converter, and load it with bottled ink. (Yes, you will probably get a little ink on your fingers. One wag has offered the playful quip: ‘What colors are on your fingers today?’) I have fairly good luck with Dawn liquid soap for removing tell-tale ink.

While cartridges hold more ink, converters invite and beckon you into the amazing world of seemingly-endless colors! The thought of writing in rich purple bored me, until I saw it in ‘living color’ on paper.

*** Converters and Cartridges are MANUFACTURER-SPECIFIC…! They are NOT all interchangeable!

The best paper in the world is France’s Clairefontaine (they also produce Rhodia.) That’s not just my opinion–research it. It is a wonderful surface for fountain pens, and minimizes bleed-through. Very important when ‘journaling’. The ubiquitous Moleskin notebooks are notorious for ink bleeding through (showing on the other side.) Clairefontaine is also so smooth that even the finest nibs rarely ‘catch or snag’ on the paper. Try it!

There are more nibs (the tip that writes) available than are typically ‘available’. That gibberish just means that all the nibs that are listed on this sample list of nibs may not be readily available. I usually like an extra-fine, because I like sharp, precise writing. A friend in London (Mike) sent me two Parker nibs for which he had no use. One was an extra fine, and the other was a ‘needle’ nib. Oh, my gosh, does it ever write with ‘minuscularity’. Sorry, sometimes I just can’t help but ‘craft’ new words. Webster (of dictionary fame) does not consider me a friend.

For pens, I suggest Teri Morris, owner of Peyton Street Pens in Santa Cruz (CA). She is very knowledgeable, and even more helpful and friendly. You can reach her at: Peyton Street Pens.

For pens, notebooks, bottled ink: Allard’s Art Supplies [1-559-225-1500 / 5350 N. Blackstone, Fresno 93710). If you’re familiar with Fresno, it’s next to Trader Joe’s.

Amazon–I find that many bottled ink prices here are MORE EXPENSIVE than at Allard’s. Do your own research.

I thought I would share with you the very first love letter I ever sent to Beauty:

Have a wonderful, Love-laden day.


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