Día de Muertos, Pen Realized

I’m back with post three, so you know what that means. My pen arrived! If you have read my previous posts (1, 2), I suggest you do so to know how this pen came to be. Be forewarned, there is A LOT of pen porn in this post. And you can click/tap any image to view it larger. I take no responsibility for pen envy, pen lust, or pen purchases resulting from the content in this post.

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Sailor Fatigue

It took me quite a while to get into Sailor pens. I didn’t buy my first until October 2019 — 2 ¾ years after buying my first fountain pen. Not gonna lie, I’m still pretty pleased with that initial Sailor purchase — the Tequila Sunrise. It was, is, a worthy first Sailor purchase.

I’ve bought 13 more Sailor pens since then, all in the Pro Gear family, 10 of which I’ve kept. Not a bad ratio, and compared to my total pen purchases, not too terribly many. However, it does encompass the most fountain pens I’ve purchased of the same general model. It ties with TWSBI 580s, at 11, for most fountain pens I own of the same general model.

To be honest, I’d likely own more Sailor Pro Gears if they were less expensive and more easily purchased. But, fairly often, the ones I found interesting were from super small runs through stores that don’t sell online. And we all know what eBay sellers do to prices. But I digress…

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Día de Muertos, Making of the Pen

I’m back with the second entry in the chronicle of my Día de Muertos pen. If you read my first entry then you know that this means I received permission to share the mock-up images for my custom pen.

Be forewarned, it will likely be a while before my next update. I’ll explain why I think so a bit later. For now, let’s pick up where I left off.

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Keeping to My Goal

As I’ve stated previously, my current pen rule is to be more thoughtful with my pen purchases. I’m doing my best to purchase pens that will make me happy to own, not just happy to buy.

It can be difficult sometimes. Pens may have misleading marketing photos — I’m looking at you, Sailor Pro Gear Slim Red Supernova — or zero size reference, for example. So, pens you think will be be fabulous may turn out to be not so great, or even totally wrong for you.

The question then, is what do you do? My plan was always to immediately return any pen that didn’t make me 100% happy upon unboxing. I put that plan in place after the Red Supernova debacle. In theory, it was a great plan. In practice, it hit a major snag the next time a pen didn’t meet that standard.

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Día de Muertos, But Make it Pen

Watching Coco gave me a greater appreciation for my Mexican heritage. Since then, I’ve been trying to fill in cultural gaps leftover from childhood; like the appreciation and understanding of Mexican art.

One of those glorious art styles is centered on Día de Muertos. The riotous use of colors alone is enough to capture my attention, but combined with macabre imagery and joyous celebration, it’s definitely in my top 5 favorite art styles/themes.

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I Learned to Drive Stick Shift

Some of you may know that I used to be terrified of driving. I didn’t get my license until a couple of months after my 29th birthday. And learning to drive really only diminished my fear, it didn’t eliminate it. In the intervening nearly 4 years, I’ve hardly driven at all. In fact, I didn’t drive on the road at all until December of last year.

That’s because we only have one car, and it has a manual transmission. Jim tried, right after I got my license, to teach me to drive stick. But, he’d driven stick for long long that it was all muscle memory for him. He had trouble explaining to me what to do. And he loves his car so much that it freaked him out when I keep stalling it out.

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Identifying My Vintage Pelikan

This past Saturday, I went to Bertram’s Inkwell to pick up the pen I won from Pensplaining with Corinne. While there, Adam mentioned that they had a bunch of secondhand pens. So, pen fiend that I am, I asked to see them.

Note: If you don’t want to read the story, feel free to jump down to the pen porn or the list of sites I mention in the narrative below.

Out came three big zip cases of vintage pens. I went through the cases, but I don’t typically love the look of vintage pens. They aren’t as pretty as modern pens, in my opinion. But, in the third case, there were a bunch of vintage Pelikans. Among those was a red and black pen. I love red and black, so I pulled it out.

Unfortunately, the nib was looking a bit rough. Out of curiosity, I took at look at each of the other Pelikans. Most of them were stubs or broad, which I know I don’t like writing with. But, this one was intriguing.

Vintage Pelikan 100
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Time Travel

I came across a fun writing prompt the other day. The question posed was: If you could travel back to any era, would you and which one?

My immediate thought was, “Yes, of course,” but as I thought about it, I realized there were some qualifiers.

  1. Can I come back?
  2. How long would I have to stay?
  3. Would the visit be observation only, or could I interact with the people?
  4. How well would I be prepared for the era I visited?
  5. Can I visit more than one era?
  6. What social position would I hold during my visit?
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An 18111 Commission

Mid last year, I reached out to Yoshi Nakama of 18111 Pens about commissioning a custom pen. As the DC Pen Show was only a few weeks away, we agreed to discuss it at the show. At the time, I hoped to get a pen themed to my Exalted Bloodlines series.

I eagerly sought him out at the show. However, when I showed him the ideas I had in mind, he warned me it may not be doable.

The designs I showed Mr. Nakama at the DC Pen Show.
Left to right: My design idea for the rollstopper, the blood drop I wanted scattered around the pen, and the moon and star I wanted on the top of the cap.

The proposed roll stopper design, the blood drop I wanted scattered across the pen, and the moon and star I wanted on the top of the cap all have “sharp corners.” Apparently, 3D printing and laser engraving can’t produce sharp corners at that size.

However, I hoped we could reach a compromise with a modified design that I liked and could be executed. I agreed to modify the design before sending Mr. Nakama the files. He warned me that his waiting list was about 3 months long. Granted, considering the year+ waiting lists many pen makers have right now, 3 months is hardly an issue.

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